When congratulated on his appointment to replace Benjamin Franklin as minister to France, Thomas Jefferson remarked, “No one can replace him, sir; I am only his successor.” I must express much the same sentiment upon following Craig Albin as editor of Elder Mountain. No one can replace Dr. Albin, but I’m delighted to step in as guest editor.
We generally grant more freedom and forgiveness to guests than we grant to the folks we live with every day, so I have taken advantage of this freedom and forgiveness to experiment with a few changes. One change is that much of the content in this issue is available online at blogs.wp.missouristate. edu/elder-mountain. In addition, this website will provide materials not included in the hard copy version. For example, a critical edition of Parson Brooks: A Plumb Powerful Hard Shell (1884), a short novel otherwise available only on microfilm or in special collections, is now posted on the Elder Mountain website. It is hoped that this online supplement to the journal will make the scholarship in Elder Mountain accessible to an ever larger audience and will help promote the Ozarks Symposium and Ozarks studies in general.
The book review section has been expanded, and a section, “Book Notes,” has been added in which several past and current books important to Ozarks studies are briefly discussed. Another small addition is a sampling of Ozarks literature from the past in the form of a short biography of the poet Irene Carlisle (1908-2006) followed by her poem “Country Auction” from her 1945 book, Music by Lamplight.
A theme running through this issue is that Ozarks studies is a growing and maturing field. This is suggested by the variety and quality of scholarship and creative work within. Lynn Morrow delivers an intriguing and detailed history in “Secesh Women, Lenox Brothers, and the Elders’ Demise.” Carla Kirchner analyzes the Ozarks as a character in the novels of Daniel Woodrell. In his 2015 Ozarks Symposium keynote address, Steve Wiegenstein reviews how the region is imagined in larger culture. In his critique of Hillbilly Elegy, J. Blake Perkins demonstrates that the socioeconomic realities of the region are much more complex and nuanced than sometimes presented in commercialized scholarship. The nonfiction is rounded out by an introduction to a critical edition of Parson Brooks.
Several creative writers note the complexity of life as it is lived in the region. In “Mary and Roma,” Steve Yates offers a tender and bittersweet remembrance, a story that taps into family history, history of place, regional economics, and social change. In his poem “Arc,” James Fowler reflects on the rise and fall of a rural community. Jared Phillips, in “Our Work,” celebrates the life of a farmer and farm life. Marcus Cafagña contemplates the seasons of life and the connections of the generations in “Diapers.” Douglas Stevens, in “Persimmon Tree at Adams and Third” and “The Dispossessed,” expresses a subtle homesickness and an ambivalence toward places left behind. In “Confetti,” Dave Malone considers the hardships of an acquaintance who is much like someone each of us knows.
Perhaps the best evidence of the advances in the field of Ozarks studies is delivered in the interview with Brooks Blevins in which he discusses his latest book, volume one of his three-volume A History of the Ozarks. This history is a monumental work when measured by the depth and breadth of the scholarship within its pages and by the generative influence it will have upon the study of this region. This is a landmark contribution, a book that everyone who cares about the Ozarks should celebrate and read. The second volume of this trilogy, The Conflicted Ozarks, is slated to be published in summer 2019.
Dr. Albin has performed a great service to Ozarks studies by founding and editing Elder Mountain. In the past seven issues, he has edited and published almost 1000 pages of scholarship and creative work exploring the Ozarks. I am honored to contribute to this project. It has been an absolute pleasure to edit this issue, and I look forward to working with all the folks in Ozarks studies as I turn to assemble issue nine.
A juried journal, Elder Mountain seeks Ozarks-focused manuscripts from all disciplinary perspectives (particularly anthropology, economics, folklore, geography, geology, history, literature, music, and political science) as well as interdisciplinary approaches. In addition, high-quality, Ozarks-oriented short stories, poems, and works of creative nonfiction are of keen interest, as is visual art that examines the Ozarks.
Only electronic submissions are accepted and may be sent as a Word attachment to PhillipHowerton@MissouriState.edu. Queries may also be sent to this address.
Well-crafted, thesis-driven articles free of discipline-specific jargon have the greatest likelihood of acceptance. Articles should be between fifteen and twenty-five double-spaced pages, and may be submitted using the documentation style appropriate to the discipline.
Carefully wrought short stories and essays free of common Ozark stereotypes will receive appreciative consideration. Creative prose pieces should be a maximum of 5000 words.
Poems may range in style from formal to free verse. Strong imagery and intelligently rendered content are attractive qualities.
For visual art we seek images (photography, paintings, ink drawings, etc.) suitable for reproduction in black and white. We prefer that images be sent electronically as a JPG, PNG, or TIF file. Include a one or two page artist’s statement.
Simultaneously submitted or previously published work will not be considered.
Elder Mountain reserves first North American serial rights only. All other rights revert to the authors and artists upon publication in Elder Mountain.