Welcome, or welcome back. I’m thrilled to share with you the Fall 2018 issue of The Paris Review. As the new editor, I’ve enjoyed spending my first months at the helm assembling this issue, and also getting to know the readers and writers who care so deeply for this institution. Turns out you can make a lot of friends in sixty-five years, and I’m very thankful for the warm reception.
Michael S. Harper, an early mentor of mine, liked to remind me of Ralph Ellison’s maxim, “Geography is fate.” I had recently moved across the country for the first time, and he saw I was at once homesick and hungry for the new, looking back toward one horizon and forward to the next. I’ve crossed the country, and an ocean or two, several times since—most recently to land in Louisiana, where I lived for seven years—and Ellison’s words echoed through my head once again as I returned to New York in May. So it’s no surprise that place became a particularly important theme in assembling my first issue of The Paris Review, from the cover, which showcases the Spanish artist Lola Guerrera’s eye-popping project in the Mexican desert (one of several works featured in our “Land Forms” portfolio of landscape-based installations), to the geographic overlap of a young Elizabeth Bishop and the French surrealist poet Max Jacob. The poet and Jacob biographer Rosanna Warren describes how Bishop’s sojourn into Jacob’s France inspired her approach to his poetry, Bishop’s translations of which have remained unpublished in her papers until now. Penelope Lively discusses how a childhood spent in Egypt shaped her perspective on the world, and Mitchell S. Jackson recounts his family’s exodus across America and his own arrival in New York.
Being the new woman in town is an opportunity to try new things, and you’ll see many innovations in the issues ahead. I’ll point out two in this issue: Fall 2018 marks the first of four in which we’ll feature guest poetry editors. Henri Cole selected the spellbinding poems in the pages that follow (thumb back to the Summer 2014 issue to read his Art of Poetry interview). I hope this project will relay a broad range of contemporary voices. And while the Writers at Work interview series continues apace, it, too, will be broadening. Here, for example, I am pleased to present the first Art of Documentary conversation in our pages, with the filmmaker Frederick Wiseman.
For some, sixty-five means retirement. For The Paris Review, this benchmark opens a new and enlivened chapter in the journal’s history, as we continue this beautiful tradition of a print quarterly but strive toward more engagement, on more platforms. I encourage you to check out our website, where you can explore the entire print archive, read the Daily, and listen to The Paris Review Podcast (stay tuned for Season 2!). Or you can pick up a book from our renewed Paris Review Editions—later this fall, we’ll be publishing Women at Work II and reprinting the sold-out first volume. Or maybe I’ll see you at a Paris Review event. Apropos of my own crisscrossing geography, we’re participating in programs in New York, California, Pennsylvania, and Oregon in the months ahead.
I hope you will join me.