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Fragments: issue summary

October 25, 2012

by Olivia Dresher and Catherine Ednie

When we wrote the Call for Submissions for the Fragments issue, requesting “in the wild” creations more than overly crafted pieces, we had no idea what we’d receive. Would our request scare writers and artists away, or would it resonate? Would the concept of fragments feel familiar to them, or would there be uncertainty when trying to decide if their specific works fit the theme? Hence we were delighted when the submissions poured in from the moment the theme was announced: text, photos, artwork. And by the end of the submission period, this issue had inspired the highest number of submissions yet.

Some of the text submissions weren’t necessarily fragmentary in form and/or didn’t quite read like true fragments, but we considered them if there was some aspect of the fragmentary within or if the subject of a piece touched upon the theme (we both were a bit surprised that even the polished poetic forms with a dash of the fragmentary as content seemed to work). There were also a number of “maybe” submissions that made the process challenging – writings that we wanted to say “yes” to but couldn’t quite because some important characteristic of a fragment’s nature was missing.

We selected a wide variety of pieces, but within this variety there are some common threads. The pieces have an affinity for time – moments, memories. And an affinity for space – mountains, fantasies. They reveal that fragments are a way to approach relationships, much more intimate than a torrent of words. They reveal that there can be a wide variety of fragmentary principles: building, breaking, capturing, leaping free. They explore minute realities. And, especially, they reveal that fragments flirt with form.

We began working together on this issue without a literal definition of the fragment (we had many in-depth conversations about fragments behind-the-scenes), and we come away from working on this issue with a deeper respect for the openness and mystery of fragments. We realize that they refuse to be trapped within a pat definition, and that is an important aspect of their power and charm.

For bios of Catherine and Olivia, see the call for submissions.

  1. Roberta Burnett
    April 22, 2013 at 10:33 am

    What a captivating commentary, if too brief. I would happily have read more.

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