You birds, mammals, reptiles, and mollusks alike: we hope this letter finds you well. Perhaps you are manning the helm of a sea-bound ship, or squashing ripe kumquats under your bare feet, or perhaps you are racing or rioting. Whatever you’re doing, we hope you’ll take time to explore this fourth volume of Hot Metal Bridge: “This Way Please.”
Volume IV brings with it a diverse range of writers and artists. In some sense we hope that the words This Way Please will guide you through these stories and poems and interviews and essays and images. But we also hope this exploration enables you to question the direction in which you find yourself moving—not through Hot Metal Bridge, but through the world in which you live. Our authors and artists are, in their own outstanding ways, doing just that: Gordon Stettinius addresses religious iconography on a photographic road trip through America; Russell Banks navigates the murky borders of realism; Ewa Chrusciel makes the leap from Polish to English poetry; Wesley Sims looks at the revolutionary potential of a prison radio show; and Maxine Hong Kingston guides Iraq veterans in meditation. With honesty and wit, those featured in “This Way Please” ask that we consider a range of concerns—whether personal, political, social, or jellyfish-related.
We would also like to note that this is our last issue as Editors-in-Chief. Our Spring 2009 issue will be spearheaded by one Sal Pane, an astute reader and sharp editor. We have had a ball, and we’re exceedingly grateful to our team of editors and readers, to one Nathan Hogan, answerer of late-night coding questions, and most especially to Chuck “Papaw” Kinder, for his tireless devotion to the continuation of this magazine.
With many thanks and a fond farewell,
Ashleigh Pedersen and Kelly Ramsey