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Spring 2022 | Volume 4, Issue 2

LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

The Sancho Panza Literary Society is about to make the crossing again. The crossing used to be a big deal, and then it became kind of routine, and now, all of the sudden, it feels like a pretty big deal again. At the outset of the 19th century, it still took between six weeks and three months to cross the Atlantic in one direction—and yet people did it in droves. It’s become fashionable to lazily chalk such travel up to kitschy explanations like wanderlust or more banal ones like restlessness, but it’s far less blank than all of that. Even when ill-defined, the crossing is never aimless; it instead feels essential, and fiercely human to combat the ocean and the ache and hardship of it all in covetous pursuit of something tangible or intangible. One sacrificed up to half a year of life just in round trip transit—an often-wretched ordeal marred by rough surf, horrible food, and the plague and madness that results. I don’t care why anybody made that trip; I can only conclude that it was necessary. And it remains so.

 

To exist in more than one place is distinctly different than the malcontent’s desire to escape the place he resides—to look both east and west as opposed to merely up and down. It would be wrong to say that I was unhappy during our exile from Dublin, but I certainly was not whole. What we do here at New Square is wonderful, but it is only whole when it is a supplement to standing in front of each other.

 

All writers write into voids I suppose; the egomaniacal void of history, the pitying voids of anonymity and failure and jealousy and rage. But we only realize the depth of those voids because sometimes we let ourselves do something else—something physical and present, something that involves fear or awkwardness or bias or revelation, in rooms where other people exist, and in places where we usually don’t.

 

The crossing isn’t as arduous as it used to be; it’s faster, cleaner, and after a few years in the wilderness, it’s once again more easily available.  Safety has value but it also has a complexity, and we condemn ourselves to a feckless kind of Purgatory when we define safety in rigid, literal, or one-dimensional ways. I won’t predict what we’ll find as we once again cross back and forth over the North Atlantic, and at this point it almost doesn’t matter, so long as this is the last letter where the crossing is still impending rather than perpetual. --JR

STAFF PICKS

Books/Literature

The Social Contract, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau (Joe)

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Sailing Alone Around the Room by Billy Collins

The Body by Bill Bryson (Kerry)

The Conquest of Happiness by Bertrand Russell

The Plot Against America by Phillip Roth (Sam)

The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

Class Act by Jerry Craft

Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse by Anne Carson (Sean)

Film

The Wiz (Bianca)

Death on the Nile (2022)

Hellboy (2004) (Eri)

 

Dead Poets Society (Joe)

 

Television

RuPaul's Drag Race, Season 14 (Bianca)​​

Archer  (Joe)

 

Music (Songs)

"Slow Jamz," by Twista, Kanya West, and Jamie Foxx

"A House is Not a Home," by Luther Vandross

"Remind Me," by Patrice Rushen

"Sunshine," by Enchantment (Bianca)

"Lost on You" by LP

"Happier in Hell" by Royal & The Serpent

"Devil's Dance Floor" by Flogging Molly

"Cancer" (My Chemical Romance cover) by Twenty One Pilots

"You are the Moon" by The Hush Sound

"Francis Forever" by Mitski

"If You Ever Leave, I'm Coming With You" by The Wombats (Eri)

"High Above Chicago" by Fialta (Joe)

"One Fine Day" by David Byrne

"Two of Us" By The Beatles

"They Don't Know" by Kristy MacColl (Kerry)

Music (Artists)

Robyn Adele Anderson (Eri)

EDITORIAL STAFF

Editor in Chief/Fiction Editor | Joseph M. Reynolds
Managing Editor | Samuel Marx
Poetry Editor | Sean Frederick Forbes

Nonfiction Editor | Kerry Feltner
Book Review Editor | Amber Smith
Film Review Editor | Cassandra Steele
Music Review Editor | Kevin Carr
Layout/Design | Eri Lauer
Copy Editor | Bianca J. Robinson

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