Editor’s Note #91

Dear Readers,

In 1985 Howard Junker founded this publication, and kept a steady course all these years. In the case of a West Coast literary journal, a steady course requires a perpetual willingness to take risks—to offer, time and again, the thrill of discovery. Yet having survived these many years, it is now clear that we have the fortitude of some enduring values. As Howard once said, ZYZZYVA asserts “classical values: the possibilities of individual vision; the enduring magic of words; the delight of variety; absolute freedom from commercial constraint.”

As we take up where Howard Junker left off, we will continue to uphold these values. Not simply because they are virtuous, but because they are pleasurable. Because fulfilling them offers solace and joy, access to the difficult questions and deeper wonders of existence. Because, above all, what we do is about forging that more exuberant connection with life. We’re trying to fortify, in some small way, the sense of vivid consciousness—whether grim or hilarious or tender—against the constant obliterating threat of the mundane, the grind of routine, the slow drain of exhaustion. So I hope you will come to ZYZZYVA not for an obligatory dose of culture, and not for a respite from the world; rather, I hope you will come to recognize ZYZZYVA as an ally in the constant fight against inertia and indifference, as a companion in the search for a more profound experience of life.

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This Spring we’ve revised a few editorial policies; to wit, we’ve rescinded the ban on publishing authors whose work has already appeared in these pages. Former ZYZZYVA contributors are now welcome to send work; in fact, we would love to hear from you.

I’m thrilled to welcome the very talented Oscar Villalon as Managing Editor. Oscar is a widely published book critic and served for many years as the San Francisco Chronicle book editor. He brings tremendous experience and creative energy to the ZYZZYVA team.

Amid those changes and whatever other changes may come, our guiding principle remains steadfast. We will continue to publish the finest new works of West Coast writers and artists. We take finest to mean daring, accomplished, innovative, important, and memorable. Or, at times, the finest material could be pithy, bizarre, expressing with clarity some fundamental truth, or brazenly declaring an untruth. We’ll know we’ve found it when we’re captivated, intrigued, moved.

We hope you will continue reading and supporting our mission, as we continue to create compact, elegant volumes for your delight.


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