Dec 10, 2008    #113
Contact: Laura Byerley

New Letters Launches Its 75th Year with Fireworks Anniversary issue highlights family and new fiction writers

Celebrating its 75th year of quarterly publication, New Letters has released the first issue of volume 75. The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC) published the international literary journal, which features color art by Kansas City-based photographers Michael Sinclair and Eli Reichman. In the cover photograph by Michael Sinclair, fireworks illuminate the night sky of Independence, Mo., over a grassy mound of spectators that could represent the New Letters readership.

“We press forward with faith in language and literary art that it will generate compassion, empathy and family among us,” said Robert Stewart, New Letters editor.

Spanning 188 pages of new poems, stories, essays, reviews and art, the issue spotlights three newer voices in fiction – Olufunke Grace Bankole, Ryan Clary and Stephanie Powell Watts. The issue also contains works from more established writers, such as Robin Hemley, Paul Zimmer and Elizabeth Kirschner. The writing fulfills Stewart’s faith, generating compassion with an essay by Missouri Poet Laureate Walter Bargen about his visits to 15 retirement homes in southeastern Kansas. Readers will empathize with the child who witnesses a father’s struggle to move a drunken mother out of the snow in Kirschner’s poem, “Walking the Wife.” Themes of family resonate throughout, especially in the issue’s opening story about a bookish girl’s love for her impulsive older cousin, “Poor Aunt Ginny.”

Thomas E. Kennedy provides an interview and a new essay, “Chasing Jack,” about the author’s coming-of-age in the 1960s. Mysterious newcomer A.F. Agrusa ends the issue with a satirical commentary, “Post-Election Postscript,” on the language of political campaigning.

“This is our celebration year. We’d like nothing more than for you to be with us,” Stewart said, welcoming holiday gift subscriptions.

Subscriptions to New Letters are $36 for two years and $22 for one year. Call(816)235-1168 or visit to join the New Letters family of subscribers.

The University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC), one of four University of Missouri campuses, is a public university serving more than 14,000 undergraduate, graduate and professional students. Celebrating 75 years, UMKC engages with the community and economy based on a four-part mission: life and health sciences; visual and performing arts; urban issues and education; and a vibrant learning and campus life experience.


This information is available to people with speech or hearing impairments by calling Relay Missouri at (800) 735-2966 (TT) or (800) 735-2466 (voice)


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