The following letter appears in the newest issue of ZYZZYVA. It’s the first issue of the journal that bears Oscar Villalon as editor on the masthead.
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This is the 125th issue of ZYZZYVA. It’s a remarkable milestone when you consider all of the things that have to go right for a literary journal, one absent the shoring of a munificent college or regal institution, to make it that far. Firstly, there has to have been a steady and passionate readership. Our circulation numbers have never been coveted by anybody at Condé Nast, but we’ve been blessed with an audience wide enough and discerning enough to keep us at our happy labor. Secondly, there are the writers and poets and artists themselves.That they want to be published in ZYZZYVA means that for one hundred and twenty-four issues plus this one the work we’ve wanted to bring to you has been available to us. That, too, is a blessing.
Lastly, there has to have been minimal turnover at the top. Since 1985, ZYZZYVA has known only two editors: Howard Junker, its founder, and Laura Cogan, its reviver. With this issue, after Laura’s decade-plus tenure, I become the journal’s third editor. It’s an honor to helm what in any given quadrant of months is the country’s finest literary journal and without doubt is year-round, since the Reagan administration, one of the most resplendent literary concerns going in this ever-conflicted country of ours.
Fortunately, Laura will remain at ZYZZYVA as its editor at large, and in a triple-cherry pull on the slot machine of Life, John McMurtrie, the former San Francisco Chronicle book editor and beloved Bay Area personage, has joined us as senior editor.
It would be imprecise to say this is a new chapter for ZYZZYVA. It’s more of a change that seeks to keep things as excellent as they have been since Laura became editor in 2011. Consider it a step toward maintaining ZYZZYVA’s presence while furthering what may be possible for the organization. If that intrigues you, good. Maybe you’d like to be part of that. If so, I’m easily reached. Let’s see together what the future may hold.