Letter from the Editor
THE GENESIS OF THE SWAMP came from a place of liminality, a place of conflict arising from the not-so-unique position of sojourner, of someone both homesick for the Louisiana landscape in which I was born and raised, a landscape shaped by duckweed, cypress knees, moss, cane fields, and canaille people who spend more time on porches than they do living rooms. This homesickness runs parallel with a thankfulness to have the chance to see a different part of the world, to immerse myself into a culture not my own. There’s not much that binds my native Louisiana to my adoptive Washington state. Politics, food, pace of life, topography, there’s hardly any overlap, with one big exception: our ties to the land. Whether it’s floating down the Bogue Chitto in south Louisiana with an inner tube for yourself and another inner tube for your beverages of choice or if it’s white water rafting the Spokane, the land shapes those that people it. Thousands of feet above sea level or dangerously below it, the land dictates much of who we are and how we live.
Initially, The Swamp came from a place of selfishness. I wanted to find and publish writers writing about what I had left and hope to return to again someday. And I'm happy to say that the magazine has published such writers. Jack B. Bedell, Zachary Evans, and Alison Pelegrin all have poems in the issue that speak of life in the swamp. But I’m proud to say that The Swamp isn’t just about one place. Paul Hostovsky takes us to Worcester, PA. Canese Jarboe, Chris Mink, and Kenzie Allen all travel us across Texas. Thom Caraway takes us back to the World’s Fair of 1974 in Spokane, Washington. An interview with Jonathan Johnson takes us to a truck rescue that is the center attraction of Ritzville, Washington. Elizabeth Kaye Cook takes us down to Florida. Dan Leach takes us to the Piggly Wiggly. For S.J. Dunning, landscape is less of a physical place than it is a memory, a specific moment in the past that is now unreachable. The list goes on.
Thanks to our editors and readers and our amazing contributors, The Swamp has become so much bigger than I thought it could be. The Swamp is a magazine of place, both mine and, hopefully, yours. And if your place isn’t in this issue, send us work that honors the land and culture that shapes you, too. Send us your place.
It is my honor to present our inaugural issue of The Swamp.