As some of our readers may already know, at the end of this summer NER’s poetry editor C. Dale Young will be leaving his post after nineteen years on our masthead. The next issue (35.3) will be his last as poetry editor. We will honor his legacy in that issue—which we promise will be a memorable one—but now, on behalf of our staff past and present, and on behalf of all the writers he has encouraged and shepherded into print over the years, we’d like to make a collective bow of gratitude. We owe a deep thanks to C. Dale for his wide-open mind, his hard work and efficiency, and his unerring ability to bring together a lively and provocative range of poems for each issue of this magazine. Under his care, NER has become a place for poets to aspire to year after year.
Many people know C. Dale Young as an exacting teacher, delightful raconteur, experienced oncologist, devoted blogger, rabid Giants fan, and accomplished writer, in addition to being NER’s longtime poetry editor. And many people wonder how he does it all. Despite working with him for these past ten years, I still don’t have any idea—but I do know that as poetry editor he proved himself perfectly reliable and relentlessly passionate in his work. His recent achievement of the 2014 Stanley W. Lindberg Award for Literary Editing provides further evidence that we are not the only ones who recognize that his contributions to NER have been extraordinary.
At this time we’d also like to introduce the redoubtable Ellen Hinsey in her new role of international correspondent. Based in Paris since 1987, Ellen contributed her poetry to early issues of NER, and more recently we’ve presented her penetrating essays on Eastern Europe. She was instrumental in compiling our recent Russian issue (34.3-4), and in her new position she has already introduced us to the vital work of the Serbian novelist Goran Petrović, who appears in this issue. An ambitious and accomplished writer and translator in her own right, she is always looking to make connections between authors and translators, editors and readers. She keeps her ear to the ground and her eye on the bigger picture.
Meanwhile, behind the scenes, Middlebury College has been hard at work securing long-term support for the New England Review, and has had some remarkable success. In honor of Stephen Donadio’s twenty years as editor, the College has established an Editor’s Fund, and loyal donors have stepped up to contribute gifts to offset our annual expenses.
In addition, we are thrilled to announce that a generous benefactor has established a new NER/Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference Fund for Emerging Writers, also in honor of Stephen Donadio’s inspiring commitment to writers and students. This endowment gift will support our efforts to find and publish gifted emerging writers and will provide scholarships for honored writers to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Every year, the NER editorial staff and BLWC director will select an emerging writer, in any genre, who has been published in our pages, to receive tuition, room, and board to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference the following August. While we have always been committed to writers who are just starting out, new writers now have even more reason to publish their work in NER.
Just after finalizing the agreement for this new fund, we received word of another endowment gift, made to Middlebury College for the express purpose of helping to support the magazine’s operating budget. Given anonymously, this endowment fund’s annual proceeds will pay for a significant portion of NER’s expenses every year, into the future, whatever the broader economic climate may be. And while this astonishing act of generosity doesn’t spell out any immediate change in our budget or programming, it does secure the College’s connection and commitment to NER and allows us to focus our attention on discovering and promoting the most interesting, invigorating writing we can find, now and in the decades ahead.
These recent gifts help to assure that NER will continue to have a life of its own, beyond the tenure of any of our editors, and beyond whatever changes in technology and publishing we can yet imagine. The issue at hand provides the latest example of the vibrancy of the organism that is NER. Did we set out to explore the nature of dreams, of death, of Sigmund Freud; of mermaid porn and memory and E. B. White’s fascination with a hundred year-old birding text? We did not. But these poems and essays, stories and translations, leapt off the page and seized us by the necks. From the opening lines of Debora Greger’s “Junk Store of Dreams” to the closing pages of Lucian’s tale of the Island of Dreams, issue 35.2 grew loud and insistent over the course of the past several months and is now here before you—to inspire, challenge, and compel you to keep reading.