Spring 1990, Volume 7.1
Neila C. Seshachari
With this first Spring issue of the new decade, Weber Studies begins its exciting "Fiction and Interview" series. In each successive issue, we will feature original fiction by and interview with a writer on her or his art. We begin our new series with Ann Beattie, whose latest novel, Picturing Will, has brought the writer back into literary limelight.
My first impulse to feature interviews with writers in Weber Studies came soon after the publication of the Spring 1987 issue–my first one as editor. Raymond Carver was one of the writers invited to Weber State's National Undergraduate Literature Conference that April. Half a dozen of us were eating lunch with Carver in a Mexican restaurant downtown; I was startled by Carver's warmth and conviviality. He promised to send me some of his poetry for Weber Studies–after he returned in autumn from his trip to Europe, he said. [He would be smitten by his terminal illness soon thereafter and would never get to sending me the poems, alas.] Later that evening, as he enchanted a large audience at a reading, I wished I could talk to him about a myriad things–about his aesthetics, his art (or craft), the origin of his impulse to write, his "exceptionality" as a writer. A year earlier, again on the occasion of a similar conference, I was among a very small group of admirers sitting around John Barth, sipping wine and being regaled by Barth's effusive talk until late into the night in the downtown Hilton. I was not an editor then. What struck me now as I listened to Carver was how different the two writers were, and yet how equally charmed I was by their individual minds. The idea for the interviews had to be born then.
Even though I begin the series with the Beattie interview and continue the series with Alan Cheuse, these interviews will be conducted by other interviewers as well. These dialogues with writers we read and admire should provide surprising new glimpses of them as practitioners of their craft and of their individual talents as writers. Much time and effort have gone into planning the series. And again, each of these interviews was confirmed almost a year in advance to give enough preparation time for the event. I sincerely thank Dean Sherwin W. Howard and Vice President Robert B. Smith for making the series possible.
We begin our new decade with another momentous event. The College will soon be renamed Weber State University! A legislative bill for the name and status change passed both houses of the Utah legislature in February 1990 and was signed in an impressive ceremony by Governor Bangerter a week later on 14 February. The change will be effective beginning 1 January 1991 which, as purists insist, is the real beginning of the new decade. No matter how we calculate, both the name change and the interview series signify exciting landmarks for Weber Studies.
Apart from Ann Beattie's fiction and interview, this issue features fiction by Gordon Weaver and poetry by G.S. Sharat Chandra, John Hendrickson, Howard McCord, Lee McKenzie, and Anita Skeen. Collinwood and Phillips's article on the literature of the Bahamas, which breaks new ground in cross-cultural survey of literature, is also interdisciplinary in that Dean W. Collinwood is a sociologist, who brings to his investigation of literature a new approach and vision.
As we go to press with this Spring 1990 issue, we reluctantly bid good-bye to William Mulder, our first Book Review Editor. A Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Utah and a former editor of Western Humanities Review, Dr. Mulder took charge of the book review section of Weber Studies when we expanded the scope and name of the journal in 1987; under his stewardship, Weber Studies book reviews spotlighted our "regional" books which merited national recognition. We will miss him. He will, however, continue to guide the affairs of Weber Studies as a member of the Advisory Board.