This issue of TIR is not for the faint of heart. From D.A. Powell’s incandescent “unofficial confessions” to Bennett Sims’s melancholic riffs on the wolfman, Robert Coover’s propulsive romance to Peter Markus’s incantatory tale of a protean witch, one bracing literary provocation after another fills the pages of the magazine. In our effort to provide a rousing read, we’ve taken the unusual step of including three arresting articles on twenty-first-century culture by theorists Johanna Drucker, Craig Dworkin, and Garrett Stewart. Those lively essays engage with a deliberately eclectic range of topics—book aesthetics, lyric writing, and digital painting—but in the aggregate they examine the problem of the avant-garde through the lens of media studies. A focus on the more vertiginous contemporary arts also informs our publication of Andrew R. Mossin’s important interview with Nathaniel Mackey. Mackey’s detailed cosmology and poetics receive their due in this richly rewarding conversation. As if that weren’t enough, the issue includes the extraordinary stories, essays, and poems that captured the top awards in our 2014 Iowa Review Awards contest. Thanks to the hard work of our readers and judges, we have the privilege of publishing an array of fine pieces, such as Amy Butcher’s “Reenacting,” an unsettling essay that ponders the relationship between personal trauma and national history through the saturated landscape of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and Maurice Carlos Ruffin’s “The Ones Who Don’t Say They Love You,” a vernacular account of adolescent prostitution shaped by another quintessentially American site, New Orleans’ French Quarter. In the same way that both Butcher and Ruffin ponder issues of place, Helen Klein Ross’s award-winning poems “Coach Tour” and “Istanbul, 1974” offer us a geography primer as her speakers ponder the vagaries of travel—lessons that assume new gravitas as she examines a more terminal journey in her moving elegy, “Intensive Care.” On a lighter note, we’re delighted to announce that Dinika M. Amaral has won our annual Tim Mcginnis Award for her story “No Good Deed Unpunished.” A Hinglish tale of schoolgirl misadventures, comic and otherwise, “No Good Deed” provides an ideal example of the sort of quirky creativity the Mcginnis Award is meant to celebrate.
Kudos to all of our award winners and runners-up! And thanks as well to the many contributors whose brilliant work has ensured a dynamic mix of the challenging and the pleasurable, the pedagogic and the delightful. We hope you find this issue of the magazine as stimulating as we do.