Editor’s Note

Dear Contributors,

Welcome to the latest issue of Kudzu House Quarterly. This issue comes to you in the heat of the dog days, in what is projected by many scientists to be the hottest year on record. Our office has relocated to north central Florida, and the heat is inescapable. So, while we pass the noon day heat where—in the words of Aaron Bauer’s “Standing on a Sidewalk”—”only course shade remains,” the staff and I at KHQ want to welcome you to sample the excellent work you’ll find in our pages.

Our featured author for this issue is Davis McCombs. I first encountered McComb’s poem “The Last Wolf in Edmonson County” in an undergraduate writing workshop. We were working through some of the poems collected in the 2008 Best American Poetry anthology, edited by Charles Wright, tasked with discovering poems that stood out. The title intrigued me, and it was instantly one of my favorite poems. I had never before seen a poem that used an adverb to begin in media res, but the “then” that begins the opening line subtly and effectively leaves out information, seducing the reader through its mysterious play. The speaker’s desires are negated through that same artful language: “I wanted to believe that his ghost might prowl among them/ […] but I could not.”

McComb’s poems are haunted: by disappearing landscapes, by a people’s severed connection to each other and to the land, by animals disappearing into the darkness, and by lost words with which those people, places, and things are remembered. Ultima Thule, Mc Combs’s first book, was chosen by W. S. Merwin as the winner of the 1999 Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. His second book, Dismal Rock, which contains “The Last Wolf in Edmonson County,” bears witness to all of this disappearance and loss in a single area in south central Kentucky. He builds on this work in his latest book lore, which moves from an examination of Kentucky to also include the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas where he currently resides.

We have poems by  Aaron Bauer, Kimberly Miller, Kate Abbot, Mark Trechock, Kristin Camitta Zimet, Don Thompson, Sarah Brown Weitzman, Erin Elkins Radcliffe, Amy Brunvand, Pepper Trail, Steven Ray Smith, and Jason Duncan, I’d like to direct your attention to Bauer’s powerful “Standing on a Sidewalk,” Trechock’s apocalyptic “Imagining the Contents of the Last Refrigerator,” and Smith’s “Median.” Fiction by Estela González, Kenneth Vanderbeek, Rebecca Dempsey, Emily Clayton, and Carmella de los Angeles Guiol. I particularly enjoyed González’s  “Moosnípol and the Sea,” Clayton’s “The Ebb and the Flow,” and Guiol’s “Gringa.” We also have excellent nonfiction—Brent Martin’s “When the heart can no longer say home” and Terril Shorb’s “The Fawn of History”—and artwork by Christopher Woods, Ryota Matsumoto, and Keith Moul. We’re grateful to all of our wonderful readers, staff members, and contributors who have brought this issue together. We hope you enjoy them as much as we have!

Thanks so much for reading, and as always: may the Kudzu grow!


M.P. Jones, Editor-in-Chief