Volume Ten: A New Frame for a New Life Coming
What a pleasure it is to usher in the tenth issue of Runestone, which—as our student editors learned, is no small feat in a publishing field contending with tough decisions on shoestring budgets, longtime literary journals shuttering their pages, and the politicized calls to ban BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ poetry and literature from schools and libraries.
We took seriously our mission to publish new writing, combing through nearly 100 submissions to find works that speak to larger, societal issues, particularly from the lens of early adulthood. We wanted forms that felt purposeful, a strong balance of meaning and aesthetic, and beauty in lyricism and syntax. What we found for publication was work that organically honors bodies: bodies in peril; bodies in flux; the collective embodiment of oppression, grief, and reclamation. We also found bodies in states of rapturous desire and bliss with bodies in exploration of the self and the universal.
Our title for Vol. 10, A New Frame for a New Life Coming, is taken from a line in Ryan Trostle’s short story “The Foundry” in which a man is chosen to honor humanity through a cycle of death and rebirth. Cyclical patterns return in Michael McCarthy’s “Fore River Bridge: A Landscape” where historical trauma exists among the forgotten lives of those lost to suicide. Our bodies crisscrossed state lines of billboards and strip malls in Zoe Elizabeth’s “1-800-Jesus.” Because we know that college-age adults are at a high risk for sexual violence, according to RAINN, we’re featuring two sobering accounts of sexual assault in “Body Politics” by Libby Gerdes and Kaylynn Dresch’s flash essay “Conversations Over Waffles.” While much of the content in Vol. 10 is dispiriting, we also paid attention to joy, however brief. There is delight in summer’s first sweet offerings of picked raspberries in Michel O’Hara’s “Cascade Gold,” and we relished the fleeting embraces of queer lust and love in two poems by Ciaran Pierce.
In our interview with writer-filmmaker Erin Sharkey, editor of the essay anthology A Darker Wilderness, we asked her about producing multimodal bodies of creative work and her efforts teaching incarcerated writers through the Minnesota Prison Writing Workshop. Our preparation for the interview prodded us to consider the ambiguity of bodies in privileged spaces and states of being in the natural world.
We’re proud to share this work. Many thanks to our entire student editorial board and our associate editor, Megan Chuah, for all their diligent service to literary publishing. We hope you enjoy this issue as much as we do.
ROBYN EARHART is the faculty editor for Runestone. Her own work can be found in Antithesis Journal, Barren Magazine, Columbia Journal, the Under Review, and Water~Stone Review. She lives and works in Saint Paul, MN with her husband and pets.