Issue #21

June 20, 2016

Letter from the editor

Rebecca Starks, Mud Season Review editor-in-chiefNancy Wyland’s essay “Cornucopia Incorporated” uses the small unincorporated village of her childhood family vacations to consider what it means to be incorporated—embodied, chartered, part of a town or family, with a role and direction, even if “trapped in someone else’s version of happiness”—and what it means to lose all this. In folklore the horn of plenty fills with whatever the owner desires: but what if the desires conflict or have been suppressed, aren’t satisfying or are impossible to satisfy? Wyland comes to see that “This place, so big in my emotional memory, has nothing for me now. Its comfort was harvested years ago…”

In Ace Boggess’s poems, a man walks into a bar, or imagines his own funeral, or submits to a CT scan—and emerges again “into the friendly air,” the unincorporated air, you might say, unconstrained by other people and the discomfort they bring. “So much fear comes from nothing / frightening,” he writes in “‘Is Anxiety a Defense or a Philosophy?’.” The sentence’s double meaning is like the two sides of the joke the poem begins with or the two options of the title: psychological or existential.

Jessica Bryant Klagmann’s story “June was Fierce, Simple” comes down on the side of the existential. Bringing together two characters—one fierce, one simple, both having chosen to live alone—it considers how their incompatible visions of love, predator or pollinator, might converge. The man, Pietro, first watches the woman through the kitchen window, “that awkward square of light that lends itself to voyeurism, illuminating the inside and keeping what prowls outside in darkness”—a line embodying the allegorical nature of the piece. Later, he “was frightened by the possibility of encountering something wild, and then he reminded himself that was why they were out there in the first place. In search of that very thing.”

In her sculpture series “Wild Hives, Black Queens,” Kaylynn Sullivan TwoTrees honors both honeybees and black women artists—singers, dancers, choreographers—from the past, setting them within the folds of painted muslin dipped in beeswax. Each is honored by the cross-pollination. TwoTrees quotes Rudolf Steiner: “The bees unfold unconscious wisdom in their external activity. What we only experience when love arises in our hearts is to be found in the whole bee-hive as substance. The whole hive is in reality permeated with love.”

Rebecca Starks, editor-in-chief