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From the cover photograph “Rough Water” by Jay P. Fleming

The Purpose of a Literary Journal  –  From my “Preface” as editor of the Delmarva Review

As a culture, we celebrate great literature. The best only comes along on occasion, at wide intervals of time. But we would have nothing to celebrate, ever, without the dogged perseverance of dedicated writers who struggle every day to produce their best work. Those who aspire to be better…to be the best…are the ones who fill the pages of established literary journals. The best writers have accessed something special in the hearts and feelings of readers…free of boundaries, and over time.

It is a privilege for literary journals to be among the first to present this writing. And, it is a privilege for writers to have their work selected for publication in an independent literary review.

Welcome to the twelfth annual edition of the Delmarva Review, our current contribution to discovering the best of new literary work. Our editors selected the original prose and poetry of fifty-three authors from thousands of submissions. Individually and collectively, the writing in this volume touches us as human beings. We can also enjoy the author’s craft and unique voice in the telling of stories and poetry.

Our editors selected 72 poems, 10 short stories, and nine nonfiction essays. We also reviewed six recent books of special interest, by regional writers. In all, the authors come from 17 states, the District of Columbia, and four other countries.

We are especially pleased to feature the poetry of Meredith Davies Hadaway. Poetry Editor Anne Colwell interviewed Meredith about her work, and six of her poems follow the interview.

While there is not one common theme emerging from this year’s work, there is an existential darkness that embodies many of the stories and poems. Perhaps that is a sign of our times.

As our Fiction Editor Hal Wilson described it, “In this post- truth era laced with self-serving cynicism, each author has unearthed a note of truth. It is the affirmation of life that runs counter to the basic Western belief that human beings are fundamentally flawed.” The authors face the reality of life; they find something of value through their writing, something worth nourishing in the heart of every human being.

The cover photograph, “Rough Water,” by contributing photographer Jay P. Fleming, perfectly embodies the themes from this year’s selections. Jay’s photograph captures the feeling of nature’s power and passion, which is expressed throughout this year’s writing.

Front cover, Delmarva Review, Volume 12

This edition contains surprises.  Pay attention to James Norcliffe’s poem, “The Man Who Turned Himself Into A Gun.” Norcliffe, from Christchurch, New Zealand, sent his poem to the Review soon after the mosques’ shootings in March.

Three startling pieces of writing address mental illness, from varying, highly personal perspectives. In our culture, we need this lens now more than ever.

As a journal, our focus is on the voice and literary qualities of authors’ work to tell their stories. We are impressed by the courage and clarity of a writer to reveal skillfully a personal feeling or truth that will be remembered. They represent human challenges in a changing world. In most cases, the stories take on more than one meaning. In all cases, the voice is authentic.

Delmarva Review was created to offer writers a valued venue to publish literary writing in print at a time when many commercial publications were shutting down. We favor the permanence of the printed word, but we also publish an electronic edition to meet the digital preferences of many readers. Both print and electronic editions are immediately available at Amazon.com and other major online booksellers.

We welcome submissions from all authors who pursue literary writing. Our editors read each submission at least once. Since the first issue, we have published the new work of over 340 writers from 42 states, the District of Columbia, and 12 foreign countries. Fifty-one percent are from the tri-state Delmarva and Chesapeake Bay region. Sixty have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and others have received notable mentions in Best American Essays and other publications.

As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit literary journal, we exist for aspiring writers and discerning readers. This is a contribution to our culture. We are greatly appreciative of the funding support we receive from individual tax-deductible contributions and from the Talbot County Arts Council, with revenues from the Maryland State Arts Council.

Wilson Wyatt, Jr.
Email: editor@delmarvareview.org