Speaking on Change and Luck: Evenings at Chen Hall with Adam Ross

David Provost

Contributing Writer

The Review is new. That’s the name of the game. The game here, of course, is the creative and competitive world of literary journals. The Sewanee Review’s newest leader is Adam Ross, a New York creative entering a realm of Southern heritage. Before editing for the Sewanee Review, Ross has been an actor, a bartender, a state-champion college wrestler, and an educator. The jack-of-all trades skillset Ross brought to the table manifest itself through both the variety of writers published in the latest edition and in the way he uniquely structured his team.

During a presentation illuminating the Sewanee Review’s process and brand-new website, Ross described the overall vision for Winter 2017 to be “pulling it into the 21st century”. The best way he saw to break down outdated walls for the periodical was to surround himself with younger people with a keen understand for the 21st century through a literary lens. All four Sewanee Review interns are recent graduates of the University of the South, with their own strengths and creative backgrounds. Robert Walker (C’15) kept the Review alive through a period of tribulation.  His knowledge of the history of the Review and passion for dynamic poetry greatly influenced the new winter issue. Lily Davenport (C’16) was praised by Ross for her sharp critical thinking skills and editing speed. Ansley McDurmon (C’16) was as an incredible equalizer on the staff,  appreciating both art and science, bringing an “out-of-the box” approach to literature, making the Review fresh and inspiring. Alec Hill (C’16) has a profound connection to literary texts, keeping the published material at a level of excellence consistent with the standard the Review holds. Ross is a proponent of change and has welcomed and fostered the evolution of the Sewanee Review. This year’s forward-thinking group of editors directed all their energy towards bringing new, fascinating, and powerful literature to the Sewanee community and beyond.

The changes are not purely literary, as evident on the front cover of the winter 2017 issue. It features fragmented pieces of the previous blue and black Review cover, falling in succession on the page. For the Review staff, an important part of successful change is never completely losing touch from whatever it is you’re changing from. For the first time in the history of America’s longest-running literary quarterly of its kind, over half of the published pieces have been written by female writers. Readers can expect non-fiction pieces that touch on both the past and present, experimental poetry which challenges the medium, and some of this generation’s brightest short fiction. The Sewanee Review Winter 2017 is available now, with subscriptions to the Review starting at just $35.00 a year.