From Our Staff | November 09, 2006

In the past few weeks we’ve had a lot of news from past staff members, authors and others.  Here are some bits and pieces:

Former Web Editor and prolific TMR blogger Scott Kaukonen has moved on to an Assistant Professorship at Sam Houston State University.  Scott, a talented young fiction writer who replaced past managing editor Greg Michalson as our resident Cormac McCarthy fan (we’re now hobbling along without one), has discovered a whole coterie of McCarthy fans at Sam Houston. It seems they have all been busily reading and discussing The Road. We are behind the times in Missouri, and are still busily reading and discussing On the Road.

Two author/submitters who’ve come close enough to publication here to start up a regular correspondence are essayist and novelist Erich Sysak and short-story writer Alison Lester.  Both have books out with a small publishing house in Singapore, Monsoon Books, headed by publisher Philip Tatham.  Monsoon publishes fiction and nonfiction (and a few titles here and there about the seamier side of life in Singapore).  Erich’s novel, Dogcatcher, is a fast-moving mystery about animal abuse in the Florida greyhound- racing world.  Alison’s new collection, Locked Out, features sharp writing and smart stories about (mostly) women expatriates in (mainly) Singapore.  Both books are worth your time.

We continue to pick winners.  The Pushcart Prize XXXI, 2007, just arrived, including two stories that first appeared in Missouri Review: “Stay,” by David Schuman (28:2) and John Clayton’s “Voices” (28:3). Two other TMR fiction writers received honorable mentions in the anthology, and both, as it happens, are recent Peden Prize winners:  Paul Eggers’s “This Way, Uncle, Into the Palace” (28:1), was our 2006 winner; and 2004 winner Steve Almond’s “My Mouth, Her Sex, the Night, My Heart” (28:1) also took an honorable mention.

Finally, I have to tell you about Jude Nutter’s new and very incredibly yellow poetry collection, The Curator of Silence, another winner (the 2007 Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, from University of Notre Dame Press).  The collection, published by the aforementioned press, includes four poems that first appeared in TMR (27:1).  You can read them right now. I don’t know if the extremely yellow cover means something — maybe that the poems inside are golden?  Because they really are.  They’re poems that slip with remarkable ease between the most physical and the most intangible essences of life.  My favorite is “Horses,” in which Nutter writes: “And once seen — even from a freeway/when you’re doing sixty, aware of your peril– /it’s an effort of will to take your eyes from a horse/in a field. Grace is like that. . . .”

And a few stanzas later: “and if you ever need proof that it’s good/to have a physical body, touching/a horse in this life is the closest you will get to it.”