Letter from the Editors
As the country continues to grapple with the killing of George Floyd and so many other African Americans at the hands of police, widespread protests and demonstrations are shining a light on systemic racism. Calls for change focus not only on police culture but on the broader societal forces that perpetuate injustice and inequality. Given this important moment in our nation’s history, those who publish literary journals have some hard questions to ask of themselves. Who has the opportunity to seek publication? What are the barriers, particularly for people of color and marginalized groups? As literary journals, what voices are we elevating? How can we expand our reach and seek out voices that may not be heard? Mud Season Review has long called for a diverse range of authors and artists, thanks to the leadership of our founding co-editors, Rebecca Starks and Danielle Thierry, and the editor-in-chief who came after them, Lauren Bender. Our mission includes the follow statement: “We are committed to being an inclusive journal and strongly encourage submissions from writers and artists from underrepresented communities, including POC, women, non-binary or genderqueer, LGBTQ+, disabled or neurodivergent, those who are incarcerated, and those living with poverty.”
We’ve published authors who have told us they sent work our way because of this statement. Authors we have been humbled to publish, authors whose poems and stories and essays push language in new directions and speak important truths. As critical as our mission statement is, it is not enough. The work is never done; we have to be committed to asking difficult questions of ourselves with every issue we publish. Are we living up to the values we espouse? How can we do better? Who are we choosing to publish and why? We also need to commit and re-commit to bringing onto our staff readers and editors who mirror the inclusivity we hope to create with the journal. A diverse staff creates stronger, more meaningful discussion. We learn from each other and become better readers, writers, editors, and citizens of the world. As an all-volunteer organization, we are motivated by a love for art and literature and an abiding faith in its power to create change. Keeping our mission in focus, we will strive to seek out diverse authors, artists, and staff. It’s the ongoing work we’re engaged in to grow and evolve.
Erin Post, managing editor