Bridge: Fall 2021

Bridge, fall 2021

Editor’s introduction

This Bridge is truly an invitation to cross over into other realms. Young writers created all these texts and images, from a wonderful range of places, points of view, backgrounds, gender locations, and experiences. Two of them, I learned along the way, planned to marry and change their names between our accepting their work and its appearance. Several prefer untraditional pronouns and have unconventional personal histories—which by our lights, if it needs saying, is a good thing. Some are in high school, others attending undergrad and graduate programs across the country and the world. Most live in the USA now, but their recent roots can be traced to Romania, China, Hong Kong, and Nigeria, among other locations. In the midst of the pandemic, the climate crisis, and the other disruptions of this time they have carried on with resilience and wonderful energy.

My time as Bridge editor has come near the end of a long teaching career. Even after many years working with young writers, though, I have still been pleased, and sometimes amazed, by the passion, vitality, and technical skill to be found in the submissions that come our way. Yes, some of these young people are clearly still learning the craft—as I still am, surely. And yes, some of the work is not quite ready for publication—though we had to decline many worthy submissions for space reasons. But the depth of their engagement with their arts and the wider world, and their passionate drive for expression, connection, and human solidarity, has been a constant surprise and delight as I read through the hundreds of submissions we received and discussed them with our student editors. The kids are all right, and they give me hope.

Speaking of our editorial staff, they deserve deep thanks for their hard, smart work on this issue. Ethan Beringer, Ally Heldman, Anneliese Horner, Tatiyana Johnson, Alex Rose, and Adrianny (Kiwi) Suarez read genre submissions and contributed to our All Staff decision process. Marissa Hall, Art Editor; Abby Bush, Poetry Editor; and Deborah Yoder, Fiction and Nonfiction Editor, played key roles as genre editors, and Abby and Deborah also made crucial all-purpose contributions. And Colten McCabe deserves a special shout-out for his excellent work as Managing Editor. His hard, thoughtful, proactive labors were essential to Bridge’s success over these last years, and while we celebrate his graduation, he will be deeply missed.

This issue also features the return of the Bluffton Spotlight, with Deborah Yoder’s story “Rest in Peace,” a sensitive, finely turned exploration of grief and healing.

Deborah’s story was selected for Bridge by Tobias Buckell, well-known SF writer and Bluffton alumnus, who was recently honored with a World Fantasy Award for The Tangled Lands, co-written with Paolo Bacigalupi. Toby, whose career was kick-started by a Writers of the Future award when he was still a Bluffton student, taught fiction courses for us this past year and will join the department full-time in the fall.

I am delighted to say that Tobias will also step in as editor of Bridge, as I take on a new role as emeritus professor and Distinguished Poet in Residence. I’m grateful to Bluffton University for many years of support, and for agreeing to allow me this new role.

Happy reading! 

Jeff Gundy