1. In response to our publishing the ten most common titles of work submitted to us, two folks have managed to use all of those titles in poems of their own. Greg Santos kicked it off, and Erin Keane followed up with one of her own. And, actually, they’re not bad. It’s those vital clichés again.
3. An essay on the high rates of depression and suicide in Cuba, Lygia Navarro’s “Tropical Depression,” published in the Winter 2009 issue of VQR, has been reprinted in an abridged form in the May-June issue of Utne Reader.
4. With renewed interest in the 1918 flu pandemic, Robert Mason’s “Surviving the Blue Killer, 1918” from our Spring 1998 issue is newly relevant. Mason tells his own story of surviving the epidemic and the larger, global story. In 1998, “the blue death” had largely been forgotten, a story that grandparents would just as soon not tell their grandchildren. After a few years of avian flu concerns—and now with swine flu spreading quickly—it’s probably as widely-discussed as it’s been since 1919.
Gamaliel Bradford, Archibald Henderson, Luigi Pirandello, Witter Bynner, Joseph Collins—with these, among lesser names, did the Virginia Quarterly Review (issued by the University of Virginia) dress out a maiden number dated April, 1925. Editor James Southall Wilson, Professor of English at the University, explained that this was only natural. Old tunes best demonstrate a new organ. For the future, the Quarterly coveted “the adventure of presenting distinguished first work wherever it can be found.” It would be, in a measure, “peculiarly concerned with themes growing out of the life of the South and especially cordial to the work of able Southern writers,” but in no sense sectional. It hoped, in brief, “to be intelligently entertaining.”
6. Since URL shorteners are uncool, as of April 3, it’s time for URL lengtheners’ chance to shine. Hence DickensURL.com. Give it a URL, it’ll give you a much longer one comprised of a random Charles Dickens quote. The new URL for this blog, for instance, is http://dickensurl.com/1676/If_you_could_see_my_legs_when_I_take_my_boots_off,_you’d_form_some_idea_of_what_unrequited_affection_is. Which turns out to be a line from his 1848 Dombey and Son, the book preceded by Martin Chuzzlewit and followed by David Copperfield.
I think we can all agree that this Dickens URL is better than our current one, which employs that unfortunate word, “blog.” Which is one more thing we’d have a tough time justifying to James Southall Wilson.