By Kelly Kepner, Managing Editor, The Fourth River
This year, The Fourth River staff traveled to Los Angeles for the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs conference. Our staff packed suitcases with one hundred copies of Issue 13/Climate Change, and tee shirts softer than Playa Flamenco Puerto Rican sand (or any other nature/place-based comparison you can draw). It was a far, luggage-laden trip, but a successful one for table 1020.
Over 12,000 writers, publishers, and friends of literature attended the AWP conference. A handful of whom, were past and present Fourth River contributors such as Camille T. Dungy, Kim Rogers, Martha Silano, Courtney Sexton, and Robert Isenberg. We welcomed familiar faces in the book fair, which had over 800 exhibitor booths to explore. But we loved connecting with new writers too. Submission guidelines for the journal featured the Issue O.2 Queering Nature cover, and our staff enjoyed sharing the phenomenal artwork as well as The Fourth River mission with those who discovered us for the first time.
Many of the conference panels focused on environmental writing. From “Eco-fabulism” to the “New Nature Writing”, it was clear that environments—urban and rural—changing climates, and our subsequent responsibilities as writers were critical topics for attendees. We met with editors from Ecotone, terrain.org, and Flyway to discuss the growing interest in nature writing and the possibility of collaborating in the future. The Fourth River was thrilled to have our climate change issue on hand to demonstrate the ways that writing can reach, teach, and influence the greater community. The conference emphasized that well chosen and thoughtfully crafted words are powerful tools for implementing change. We are so proud, at The Fourth River, to have been publishing words like these for over a decade.
Thank you to our writers, to our staff, and to our readers, for supporting our mission—for contributing to the exploration of our environments through prose, poetry, and visual artwork. It is a crucial time to be a writer of nature and place. We appreciate your words and your work, and we look forward to publishing many more issues.
See you next year in Washington, D.C. at AWP 2017!
–The Fourth River