Fall 1990, Volume 7.2
Neila C. Seshachari
In one of the many letters we exchanged for the interview that appears in this issue, Alan Cheuse told me that he works in complete solitude, deprived of even background music, because solitude is "the best condition in which to become the conduit for many, many voices, for choruses and soloists out of the past, out of the future, out of the ether . . . out of the world in your heart and the world in your brain, out of the world of the living and the world of the dead." Editors, often considered novelists manqué, are not much different, both in their temperaments and the conditions of their work.
I work in solitude too, and what a wonderfully rich solitude it is! I am perhaps not a conduit for many voices, but the journal is, and in solipsistic moments, I know I am the journal! Thus I have been in communion with the dead and the living, with those who are near and those who are beyond the ocean on the other side of the world. I have talked to one dead poet at least–May Swenson–these past few weeks; we will publish some of her unpublished posthumous poems in our next issue, along with a personal memoir written by Paul Swenson, her writer/editor brother.
In moments such as these, I am convinced that the world is growing in ever widening gyres to include not just the geographical limits of our earth but temporal and metaphysical time as well, bonding us to the past and present and future and to the universe at large–not an illogical conviction for the editor of an interdisciplinary humanities journal.
In this issue, we feature three poems by William Stafford, that most beloved poet on the American scene. His poems too take us into far-off metaphysical and real worlds, albeit rooted geographically in his locale in the present. I first read "Communion" in 1988 when none other than Moorty himself of the poem showed it to me while we were attending the Shakespearean Festival on the campus of Southern Utah State College in Cedar City. How I coveted it for publication in Weber Studies then, but didn't know if I could get it. When William Stafford, who was on our campus, agreed to send me some poems, I asked him to include this one. The poem had to be retrieved from San'a', Yemen, where the recipient of the poem had gone on a Fulbright assignment! Along with William Stafford, we feature poets Sandra McPherson, Scott P. Sanders, and Ruth Weston in this issue.
Our farthest story comes straight out of New Delhi, India, where Krishna Baldev Vaid now resides. "The Stone of a Jamun," published in relatively cool autumn, will still give the readers a taste of the juicy, delectable jamun eaten under a tree in the simmering heat of summer in India when sweat literally trickles down one's nose.
Our two critical essays take us into global peregrinations as well. Harriet Blodgett's "Emily Vindicated: Ann Radcliffe and Mary Wollstonecraft" argues that both writers "reflect the current of eighteenth century feminist protest that demanded respect for female rationality." Patrice Caldwell's article on the veiling of women prevalent in the Arabian peninsula, the cradle of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, traces the shared cultural patterns of these three religions vis-à-vis the control and subordination of women.
This is the last issue of the journal to be published before Weber State College becomes Weber State University on 1 January 1991. As this issue goes into print, we wish to welcome Weber State's new President, Dr. Paul H. Thompson, who will take office on 1 September 1990 and steer Weber State University in its formative years.
As the campus comes of age in becoming a university, Weber Studies is being encouraged to become a "tri-quarterly" journal with three issues per year. The proposal is attractive, especially since we could more quickly share with our readers the many fine manuscripts, short stories, and poems that are awaiting publication. But the printed journal is only the pristine and serene iceberg visible to the reader who is often unaware of the support and activity required behind the scenes; as soon as the logistics of our other operations are arranged–which could be very soon–Weber Studies too will come of age and emerge as a tri-quarterly.