It has been a warm fall here in Ohio. The pleasant weather of our late harvest has meant the fruits of long, hard labor have exceeded expectations in a year we found ourselves worrying. Quite frankly, we’re stunned. The challenges of the planting season, the wet, cool temperatures of June, have meant that even while the harvest hasn’t been as bountiful as in years past, we’ve found ourselves surviving, and even thriving, here at its close. Two weeks ago, the tomatoes were ripped from the ground, withered by a frost that tricked us into believing we must close up our houses. We turned to the power of the written word to fill the table our own gardens had left wanting, and in solidarity with each other we have thrown open our windows and doors again. And today we celebrate a fine feast under peaceful, even if at times lonely, skies.
Has this harvest been lonesome? We’re afraid it has been—at times terribly so. But today we offer this brief missive as thanks-giving for what we’ve dug bare-handed from the earth, even if that digging has broken our fingernails. Because here in the end-that-is-not-an-end we find, somewhat miraculously, a community, a feast we can offer one another.
This issue tells stories of such lonesome harvests, and the tables we gather at once we return from our muddy fields.
It also presents the winners of the inaugural Golden Ox Award for Prose and Poetry, Geramee Hensley and Kailash Srinivasan. We find ourselves swept up in the kinetic movement of Srinivasan’s prose in “Half Smile,” with its single long paragraph, while Hensley’s “Quiet,” true to its title, allows us much needed pause in our ever cacophonous world. Like these works, harvests too are charged with moments of such desperate, frenetic energy and such deep, exhausted quiet. We welcome them, and the work of the rest of the writers in this issue, to our table.
All the best,
Evan Fackler & Jess Marshall (Editors-in-Chief, Oxford Magazine)
Issue 35 features the work of Gay Baines, A.S. Coomer, Thomas Gillaspy, Geramee Hensley, Wulf Losee, Don McMann, Suzan Mikiel, Ned Carter Miles, Allen M. Price, Joseph Pritchard, Zachary Riddle, Hilary Sideris, Kailash Srinivasan, and Dr. Ernest Williamson.