Coming into this project, I think the staff of M Review wasn't quite sure of what to expect. None of us had ever worked on a literary magazine, save our faculty advisor, and at the beginning there was a lot of uncertainty about whether or not we could produce a decent online magazine. The creation of M Review has been stressful, time consuming, and at times difficult, but it has also been a lot of fun and a tremendously valuable learning experience.

I was pleasantly surprised at the volume of submissions we received from the Marylhurst community, especially considering our status of being a brand new literary publication. For a school that prides itself on the vast diversity of age, ethnicity and background of its student body, I think that the Marylhurst community was excited and incredibly enthusiastic about the formation of a literary magazine. In a sense, it gives a traditionally independent student body the opportunity to share and participate in something exclusive to this university. With the creation of this magazine, now students, faculty and alumni of Marylhurst University have a place to submit their creative and critical works, a place where they can be seen and appreciated by a wider audience, as they should be.

As inexperienced newcomers to the inner workings and processes of a literary magazine, much of the staff approached the project a bit timidly; I know I did. We were put in the very difficult position of accepting and rejecting what turned out to be a lot of quality work. It's not an easy thing to do; it's a process that's difficult for even the most experienced editor. Without a doubt, it was the most painstaking part of the job for all of us as readers. As editors, I think we should strive to be as objective as possible, to divorce ourselves from our own personal preferences of aesthetic and read with an open mind. As nice as that sounds, it is in truth idealistic, a virtual impossibility. Our very ideas of quality are intrinsically bound to our tastes and preferences. Still, it is the job of the editor to strive for this divorce of sorts in our reading. The best we can do is to try to live up to this ideal as much as we can. It was challenging for all of us to make these kinds of decisions, but in time, I think we came to trust more in our judgements. 

Though this issue of M Review has no formally cohesive theme tying all of the work together, I do see everything we have chosen to publish as displaying a unique and distinctive voice that sets them apart from the others. In some instances, it is the tone itself that distinguishes the writer's work; in others it is exceptional and original use of language and image to convey thoughts, feelings. In some, it is the perspective of the ordinary rendered in a fresh, extraordinary way. In Sophia Farrier's poem, "Dandelion," a dandelion wish contemplates its ephemeral existence as it is blown away. Kim Heinrich's poem, "Do you see, what I see?" portrays an animated refrigerator and stove, positioned to fight as a result of poor space planning disturbing the balance according to the ancient Chinese art of Feng Shui. In short story, "The Reconciliation of Opposites," character Ray, a twenty-something, self proclaimed Hindu, comes to many humorous realizations about herself and the nature of faith as she drives her elderly, conservative Christian uncle home from the airport while desperately having to "pee" as a result of a bladder infection. On a heavier note, Stacy Alexander's short story, "The Clipping," gives an intimate, yet almost numbing, surreal account of a woman and her aunt saying their final goodbyes to a departed loved one. These are just a few examples of the dynamism of student work we've published in the magazine.

We are very fortunate to have two published writers and master teachers contribute to the issue. Ger Killeen has published two books of poetry, among them, A Wren, published by Blue Stem Press. He has also been included in several literary anthologies. Ger Killeen teaches poetry, Celtic studies, and Irish language and culture classes at Marylhurst University. Ger Killeen's poem, "Weather Signs" makes use of an impassioned and heady voice, conjuring up his lost ancestors from Ireland.

We also had the privilege of interviewing novelist and college professor Kevin McIlvoy. Kevin McIlvoy teaches writing classes at New Mexico State University, and has published four novels. His two latest novels are Hyssop, published by Tri-Quarterly Books, and Little Peg, which is now being reprinted by Perennial. McIlvoy speaks candidly and extensively about voice, craft, his own writing, and offers some great advice to up-and-coming writers.

In addition to writing, we also have some conceptually interesting and challenging visual art in the magazine. In Katrina Campbell's painting, "Grabbing Belly," the artist challenges the viewer to question our culture's perceptions of body image through the subject of the painting's own scrutinizing eye. In Rydeen Stevens' charcoal drawing, "NE 9th Ave," the artist draws the people she sees living in her neighborhood, an area of the city in which many minorities live. Through her art, Stevens challenges preconceived perceptions and stereotypes by drawing the details in her subjects faces in a way that reveals an intimate sense of their personality.

I feel very confident that the work chosen for this magazine is high quality work, work that I hope will leave an impression on you, challenge your own perceptions, and move you. Enjoy.

Denise Miller
Managing Editor

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