Unveiling summer: LPR’s 20th edition

Summer 2016 cover

Summer 2016 cover. Photography by Lynn Silverman.

Raise the banners, strike up the up the band, call down the (purple) rain, rejoice and be glad, because in this issue Little Patuxent Review celebrates ten years of publishing literature and art. What a milestone for a labor of love, born from the attentive care of Mike Clark and Tim Singleton along with a host of others committed to supporting literary and visual arts in Maryland. While many journals have chosen to move to a solely online presence, LPR’s perseverance in publishing a high-quality, knock-your-socks-off, run-and-tell-your-mama print journal speaks to the ethos that runs deep in the consciousness of the editors, staff, board, and volunteers. It’s a part of our “Inscape,” to borrow a phrase from Gerard Manley Hopkins and something I recognized years ago when I was grad student looking for literary journals that might publish my poems. LPR had a good reputation, albeit a quiet one, and no one could deny that the physical, printed journal lived as an art object in the world. Little may be a part of the name, but there is nothing small about what this journal accomplishes twice a year.

I am humbled to be the editor during this tenth anniversary, and I am equally humbled by the stories, essays, and poems that have found a home in the following pages. Perhaps with a bit of unintended irony, since LPR is named after a river, readers will find that many of the pieces circle around the presence of water, not unlike the way Maryland envelopes its portion of the Chesapeake Bay. Origins have a way of insisting, it seems. Many of the pieces here call back to various themed issues LPR has published in the past. There are stories of doubt and audacity, poems that evoke social justice and childhood. Nature has its way even on the tongues of a “Roustabout.” And above all there is fine, fine music in the language and lines. Lynn Silverman’s art work is such a fine capstone to that fine music, with its hints at transcendence.

I want to personally thank Laura Shovan, Jen Grow, Michael Salcman, Deb Dulin, Lynn Weber, Debby Kevin, Evan Lesavoy, and Emily Rich who have all been a part of the editorial staff. If I were Lorca, I’d say they have so much duende. If I was Stevie Wonder, I’d say they create in the Key of Life. They make LPR shine. I would also like to thank the board members, new and old, who have never let go of that initial vision of lifting up the arts. They have been a lighthouse on the edge of troubled sea. I am beyond grateful. Lastly all thanks to the contributors, readers, and community who have trusted me with their work, time, and attention. Let’s celebrate turning what Billy Collins calls the first big number. Here’s to ten glorious years and a hundred more if the fates be kind.

~Steven Leyva, Editor

Ten.

10-Year-AnniversaryTen. Do you remember hitting that double-digit birthday? Or the first time you counted to ten? You felt like a big kid.

Then there were David Letterman’s famous “Top Ten Lists.”  (I’m still mourning their demise.) On the eve of the millennium, the hit film “10 Things I Hate About You” opened in theaters. Bo Derek loped across the screen, a perfect “10” in Dudley Moore’s — and every red-blooded male’s —fantasy.

Ten years ago, Crash won an Oscar for best picture, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon suffered a serious stroke and transferred power to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, and Baltimore’s arch-rival’s, the Pittsburgh Steelers, won the Super Bowl (again).

Why am I fixated on the number ten? Because ten years ago, a group of literary-minded, forward-thinking folks gathered in Columbia, MD, and decided to resurrect a defunct journal called Little Patuxent Review.

Here’s an excerpt from our “About” page:

LPR was named for Little Patuxent River, one of the three major tributaries of the Patuxent River. Like LPR, the river flows over stones — the Algonquin word “Patuxent” means “water flowing over smooth stones” — through Howard County, Maryland, gathering strength as it carries content to the Chesapeake Bay and out toward the larger world.

LPR was founded in 2006 by a group of local writers — Mike Clark, Ann Bracken, Ann Barney, Brendan Donegan — to fill the void left when a periodical of the same title, founded by poets Ralph and Margot Treital, closed a quarter century ago.

They envisioned LPR as a forum for area writers and artists. In doing so, LPR not only provides readers with a diverse array of local offerings but also attracts contributors of national repute.

LPR has featured poetry from Donald Hall, Poet Laureate of the United States and Michael Glaser, Poet Laureate of Maryland. In addition, from Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award winner Stanley Plumly, the late Lucille Clifton, winner of the 2000 National Book Award for Poetry and recipient of the Robert Frost Medal for Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America and Joy Harjo, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers’ Circle of the Americas.

There has been fiction from Edith Pearlman, whose collection Binocular Vision: New and Selected Stories won the 2011 National Book Critics Circle Award,  Michael Chabon, whose Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for FictionRafael Alvarez, whose screenwriting contributed to the critically acclaimed television series Homicide: Life in the Streets and The Wire, and Manil Suri, whose The Death of Vishnu became an international bestseller.

There have been myriad early efforts from writers and artists who will look back on Little Patuxent Review as the publication that gave them their start.

As we celebrate our ten-year anniversary, we’ll be showcasing previous issues, highlighting cover art, and inviting you to engage with us in new ways. Thanks for your support!