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My co-editor for this issue, Hannah Howard, has been going around the world and is currently on her book tour promoting her memoir Feast: True Love in and Out of the Kitchen. Getting this issue ready means she’s sent me pages from India, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Vermont and New York City. Howard is a strong voice in the culture, no matter where she’s writing from or what she’s got on her plate. She didn’t need to take this on in addition to all of her other commitments—finishing graduate school and planning her upcoming wedding, just to name a few—but she did take it on, and I’m very grateful.
Much of the work in this issue was written right here in the Upper Valley, which is to say, the region of the upper Connecticut River Valley that is the natural border between New Hampshire and Vermont. Hannah Howard does not live here, and doesn’t know the local scene. She came to these pieces with fresh eyes and made selections that resonated with her. We hope they resonate with you, too.
Notably, Howard did all this for free, or rather, for the love of this craft we call writing. Let’s be clear: Bloodroot Literary Magazine is a labor of love. The editors don’t get paid, the writers don’t get paid, the unpaid typesetter is my excellent husband and the web hosting fees come out of my pocket. We can’t afford to print this magazine, but we’ve crafted the best online offering it is possible for us to make at this time.
Bloodroot is committed to sustaining the highest ideals of independent literary publication. Our hope is to introduce you to new writers whose voices you’ve never heard before, and to curate a platform that includes rather than excludes, and actively resists censorship and political influence. You will never see adds on these pages and we won’t sell data about your reading habits to a third party.
When Bloodroot founder “Do” Roberts died, there was a gap left in our literary community, and many were worried that Bloodroot would die with her. Let’s keep Bloodroot alive and strong. Let’s keep the Upper Valley writing scene blooming. Two significant online publications that also serve this purpose are Literary North (https://literarynorth.com/) and Junction Magazine (https://junctionmagazine.com/) both run more or less the way Bloodroot is run, for the love of the literary. Thank you Hannah Howard, for working on this issue with me, thank you writers, for continuing to send us your best stuff, and thank you readers, for giving our words life.
I didn’t fall in love with writing and reading in order to make friends. Both are such solitary endeavors. Sure, a gorgeous poem, an incisive essay, or a haunting story has the power to transport me into a world with characters that may become almost as real to me as friends. But I’m talking about real live people to laugh, cry, gossip, hustle, adventure, and commiserate with…and, of course, to love. I had friends; I had books. They existed in what may as well have been separate universes.
I am deeply grateful to the Bennington Writing Seminars for bringing Rena (Bloodroot’s brilliant editor) and me together. I came to graduate school because I’ve always been compelled to write. I wanted to shift the location of writing from the periphery to the very center of my life. Two years later, it’s worked. My book Feast is out in the world and I write (nearly) every day. But the greatest gift of the program, hands down, has been writer friends who have become true friends-the best of friends.
I’ve been introduced to the term “literary citizenship.” As writers, we hope people will read our work. Our words exist in order to communicate, and we exist in literary community. We try our best to buy each other’s chapbooks, books and journals, champion each other’s work, and break out the pompoms and the champagne to celebrate each other’s successes.
Bloodroot is literary community at its best. These beautiful, powerful words come from writers young and old, from the Upper Valley and beyond, with all sorts of different perspectives and stories to tell. I hope they resonate with you. When writers and readers come together, all sorts of amazing things can happen. Bloodroot is one.
Click on a name to learn more about our contributors: