A Letter [Regarding Letters from the Editor] from the Editor
Written by Andrew Keating
I am not very fond of writing these.
Every three months, I tell the staff: “It’s time for a new letter from the editor.” I then put it off, and prioritize other components of the journal in front of the letter, and ultimately decide against writing one at all. Now that we are releasing the print issue (all pre-orders will be dropped at the post office tomorrow, pending the apocalypse/Hurricane Sandy), I suppose I can’t put it off any longer.
There are several types of letters from the editor (LFEs) that exist in today’s literary publications, though I believe that most boil down to two vague concepts: 1) a telling of the behind-the-scenes events that led up to the issue; or 2) a vain, self-reflective re-stating of the table of contents. In no way am I trying to criticize any publication, or its editors, nor am I lacking in respect for those who have done this before me – and, in most cases, better than me. Rather, I am trying to say that these LFEs, in the grand scheme of things, do not matter.
The fact that I dislike writing LFEs is strange, to me, because I really am fond of discussing how quickly Cobalt has gained “legitimacy” in the writing community. In some ways, I believe that a combination of the two “letter-themes” described above could be well suited my vanity. However, when I pick up a literary publication – whether large or small, or long-running, or “reputable” – I don’t care all that much about who edited the volume, or what they were thinking when they selected the works. Rather, I am focused on immersing myself in the literature. Anything else is just a distraction.
Let’s move on.
This print issue is not about me, and it is not about Cobalt. It is about great writing, new ideas, and the beauty of language. There are no gimmicks here, no overly-fanciful design tricks – just great writing.
Where it all came from, you ask? Thirteen works in this collection are compiled from the first four issues (one year) of online publication. The other twelve were selected from the many 2012 Writing Prize submissions in Poetry, Fiction and Nonfiction, as follows: one winner and two runners-up in each category. We’ve also selected some excerpts from the Cobalt Interview Series to publish throughout the issue, quotes that really get into the marrow of our craft. I won’t go into any more detail. Please see the Contents page.
The painting on the cover is one by Suzanne Levesque, a dear friend and exceptionally talented artist residing in Hamburg. Check out her work at suzanne-levesque.com.
Lastly, thanks to all those who submitted to the Writing Prize, and to our online publications. You’re the reason we do this.