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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 0049-1675facebook

© Center for the Study of the Southwest, Texas State University.

Current Issue: Volume 42. Number 2 - Spring 2017

With this issue of Southwestern American Literature, we say goodbye to our Editor-in-Chief, Dr. Frank de la Teja, who will retire this summer. Frank has always been a strong leader here at the Center for the Study of the Southwest, and he has never not been anything less than ecstatic about what we do. He has helped set up our Editorial Fellowship, multiple readings, symposiums, and arrangements for visiting artists-in-residence, and he established the exhibit space in the lobby of Brazos Hall where we’ve been proud to display art and educational pieces focusing on everything from the Comanche to African American theater in Texas. With multiple honors and notable titles, Frank has been a distinguished leader. As of this writing, it is unknown who will replace Dr. de la Teja, but whoever comes in will have the proverbial “Big Boots” to fill.

We’re all going to miss Frank’s enthusiasm, dedication, and his passion for Texas and the Southwest. He says he plans on staying busy, of course, and when not with his wife Maggie or their two grown children, he will be working on a new biography of Juan Seguin. Everyone here wishes him a fond farewell and happy trails.

Though we’re sad to see Frank go, we’re happy to make this, his final issue of SAL, one of the best! We’re thrilled to have two excellent essays that examine cinema and literature. Fareed Ben-Youssef’s essay on the film The Counselor explores the deeper themes and meanings behind the Cormac McCarthy penned screenplay. Though the movie was unfavorably received by critics on initial release, Ben-Youssef uncovers the postmodern political elements that suggest the film was simply ahead of its time. The Counselor, directed by Ridley Scott, is often compared to the other McCarthy film staring Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men—but not in the nicest way. Hopefully after reading Ben-Youssef’s article, you will want to give the film a second viewing. The other critical piece in this issue comes from Clark Davis and deals with the meeting of William Carlos Williams (usually associated with New Jersey) with writer William Goyen in Taos, New Mexico. Goyen, a Texas native, never received the fame of other writers of his generation such as Saul Bellow or J.D. Salinger, but he was consistently praised for his lyrical novel The House of Breath. Clark Davis explores how the Southwest was important to both of these men, especially to Goyen, and he connects their chance meeting as a turning point for the budding novelist.


SAL Spring 2017

This issue also offers a handsome selection of poetry from Laurence Musgrove, Benjamin F. Bird, Larry D. Thomas and others. We are also lucky to have a fantastic photo spread from Fabrice Poussin. These pictures are in beautiful, haunting black and white, and I think you will find yourself staring at them for a long time as your thoughts drift into dreams of the desert. There is also a heavy dose of reviews in this issue, including a review-essay by Mark Busby on two important critical works about Cormac McCarthy. You will also find Sean Trolinder’s thoughts on the Oscar nominated film Hell or High Water, and you can read Monica Montelongo Flores’s review of Ti West’s movie In a Valley of Violence.

So kick back, relax, pop open a bottle of Lone Star or Dr. Pepper and make a toast to Frank de la Teja. All of us here will miss him, but we promise to keep on publishing the best of the Southwest and look forward to new adventures down that dusty highway.