In an introduction to the Oxford American’s Summer 2015 Fiction Issue, Jamie Quatro writes: “When people ask, why read short stories? I want to say: stories teach us to be noticers the way directions once taught us to be noticers. We sit down with a short story and know we’re going to get somewhere in a single sitting. The details are what will get us there. . . . If a poem is the single landmark we pull over to admire and the novel is the cross-country trip, the story is the urgent drive to an important event. A mad rush to the hospital. Our life may depend on looking for the details.”
Our new issue—on newsstands nationwide on June 9 (and already on the way to subscribers’ mailboxes)—is rich with opportunities to notice. There is new fiction by Jill McCorkle, Micah Stack, Antonya Nelson, Ramona Ausubel, David Means, Jayne Anne Phillips, Chris Drangle, Christine Schutt, April Ayers Lawson, and Nick Fuller Googins.
Wyatt Mason reviews Ben Metcalf’s Against the Country. Harrison Scott Key contemplates Francis Scott Key. Randal O’Wain returns to Graceland Too. Will Blythe reflects on five encounters with vegetation in his North Carolina home. Chris Offutt shares another installment of Cooking with Chris: “Making the Water.”
The issue also features four poems by Davis McCombs and artwork by more than twenty artists, including Kehinde Wiley, Eleanor Davis, Bo Barlett, and Isabel M. Martinez, whose image “Dock #1,” above, appears on the magazine’s cover.
Quatro, herself a gifted fiction writer, selected the short stories in the issue. Their settings range from an animal shelter in the Arkansas Delta to the deck of a sinking ship, though Quatro reminds us in her intro that the stories “are all, in their individual ways, love stories.”
Read “Asking For Directions,” by Jamie Quatro.
View the issue’s table of contents.
If anybody has a talent for appreciating the details in a piece of writing, it is our editor Roger D. Hodge, to whom we must now bid a fond farewell. Roger is headed to The Intercept, where he will be national editor. The OA’s managing editor, Eliza Borné, will take over as interim editor and Roger will continue to work with the magazine as an editor at large. In June, we will announce details about our search for a permanent replacement.
“I have loved editing the OA,” Roger said. “Working with this talented community of writers, artists, and editors has been among the most rewarding experiences of my career. We’ve created an extraordinary magazine, and I look forward to reading the Oxford American for many years to come.”
And we have loved working with Roger. His contributions to the OA are too numerous to name; the proof is in the beautifully varied stories he edited and celebrated in our pages.