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Southwestern American Literature

Southwestern American Literature is a biannual scholarly journal that includes literary criticism, fiction, poetry, and book reviews concerning the Greater Southwest.

Since its inception in 1971, the journal has published premier works by and about some of the most significant writers of the region.

Southwestern American Literature is indexed in The MLA International Bibliography, which can be found in most North American and European higher-education institutions, and Humanities International Complete, which can be found in libraries throughout North America.

ISSN 0049-1675

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This veterans' issue compounds the momentum of last fall, as it embodies an experience, point-of-view, and voice in our region—in our country —that is often misunderstood, misrepresented, and/or overshadowed by long-established social and literary conventions.

 When we started this project, our mission was to provide a multifaceted perspective of our men and women who join the military, serve our country, and return to civilian life. To accumulate this perspective, we opened submissions to veterans, current service men and women, and family members and friends of veterans. Hoping to provide a genuine, dynamic presentation of the military experience, we also opened submissions to atypical forms, including but not limited to personal testimonies, song lyrics, journal entries, and historical documents. As a result, you will read personal narratives that recount psychosis, prejudice, disconnection, and tribute. You will encounter song lyrics that express disillusionment. You will find contributors’ service details and statements attesting the role writing played during and after military life. You will receive the perspectives of an ex-wife, a son, a daughter, and a friend.

Current Issue: Volume 38, Number 2 • Spring 2013

The spring issue of Southwestern American Literature will remind readers that, rugged individualism aside, our region and its writers could not exist in isolation. Texas politicians may still cry secession, and some buffoons may even take them seriously, but the Southwest has and always will depend on its neighbors, here and beyond the continent, for support and inspiration. No man is an island, not even Cormac McCarthy. Steven L. Davis illustrates this in his essay about McCarthy’s debt to J. Frank Dobie. And when James Watson brings our attention to the Roman Catholic aspects of McCarthy’s work, particularly in the early novel, Suttree, we remember that McCarthy’s roots lie in Tennessee; his non-Southwestern models in Faulkner, Melville, Homer, and the Bible.
Nor could Larry McMurtry, as Don Graham points out in his essay, resist the influence of a popular counterculture—the Beats—during his early days at North Texas State College. Graham speculates about the real inspiration behind the title of Horseman, Pass By, and in a different vein Molly McBride Lasco writes about McMurtry’s attempts to subvert the Western myth entirely, noting the irony of a genre that champions the West while bringing about its destruction. To conclude our nonfiction section, Elisa Warford makes a case for the talented and overlooked Texas writer, Winifred Sanford, who belongs to a broader tradition of American oil-fiction writers such as Upton Sinclair.  
We’re also pleased to present a new photography section, a tradition we hope to continue in future issues. Here we showcase the work of Ruby Leos, who offers us intimate portraits of Taos Pueblo alongside the wild, open landscapes of Western New Mexico. Our spring issue includes three short stories: Mary Helen Specht’s “The Pilot,” about a father on the move while his son lies dying in a hospital; “Chiles Rellenos,” by Robert Paul Moreira, who mixes food and desire to depict a couple on edge; and Paul Ruffin’s “Gentleman in a Dustcoat,” a Faulkneresque portrait of an elderly woman lamenting her changing world as she meets a visitor from the past.
Our poetry selection includes work by talented poets Jeffrey Alfier, Larry D. Thomas, Deborah Phelps, Jack Vian, and Harmony Button. In an interview by Colin Pope, Texas poet Tomás Q. Morín reveals the importance of place in poetry, book-contest hurdles, and the illogical world of publishing. Finally, we survey the diverse range of recent Southwest publications with reviews by William Huggins, Jane Manaster, Clay Reynolds, Herb Thompson, and many others. We hope you enjoy this latest issue of Southwestern American Literature.

Complete list of contents and contributor bios: Click here (pdf).

Southwestern American Literature Cover