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Editor's Note

With this issue, we enter our fourth year of publishing Good River Review, a literary magazine that makes its intellectual home at the Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University, where since our founding in 2001 we’ve strived to be a different kind of MFA program—and now we offer an MA in Writing program as well. Our writing community calls for each of us to have a stake in one another’s writing, to be honest, but to say what we have to say in a supportive way.  


Once in a while, our teaching philosophy can be misinterpreted as “coddling” the writer, but years of teaching experience tells me nothing could be further from the truth. At Naslund-Mann, we’ve created a space that allows for experimentation and risk-taking, a place where graduate creative writing students don’t rush to delete what is most unique in their work for fear of how that originality will be received in workshop. Our students are encouraged to cross genres, push words around on the page, and read not only classic literature but also our newest literature. Should we ever see one unified Spalding aesthetic emerge from Naslund-Mann, we’ll know we’ve failed to foster individuality—that most valued of all writerly qualities.


Good River Review embraces the same philosophy. This magazine was imagined out of the air and brought into the reading world by writers who believe that perhaps the most important thing we can do in our writing practice is to cross accepted boundaries. So many editors say they want to read original writing, yet they tend to publish the same kind of work issue after issue. If we have an aesthetic at Good River, it’s that we don’t embrace one aesthetic. Rather our editors, both on the masthead and our graduate students, only look for writing that excites us. We want to avoid sameness.


That’s why we ask submitters to decide where their work should appear in Good River. Would they prefer their work to be listed in our table of contents as prose, lyric, or dramatic writing? We also encourage writers for children and young adults to send us work to publish—and we’re very open to submissions of dramatic work and hope we’re soon known as a place to publish plays as well as links to video performances.


Within this issue, readers will find an essay by Davis McCombs, arguably best known for his award-winning collections of poetry; “Lizard Dreams,” flash fiction by Norie Suzuki; Danni Quintos’s poetry for young adults; and a review of Paisley Redkal’s West: A Translation, which collects poetry and essays in one book-length work. This spring, the subjects you’ll discover are as various as the approaches. You’ll find writing that launches with the Electric Slide to that which describes a good deal of twerking.


One of my greatest satisfactions as an editor is to reprint work that has been previously published or produced in the hope of giving that writing the extra attention it deserves. In this issue, we’re republishing an excerpt from Terry Kennedy’s beautiful book-length elegy, What the Light Leaves Hidden, which dares to suggest grief can be seductive. We’ve also included an excerpt from “Animal Kingdom,” a short story by Kristin Gentry from her debut collection Mama Said. “Animal Kingdom” is set in Louisville and presents Derby rituals familiar to our hometown but lesser known outside our city limits.


In this spring 2024 issue, you’ll read the unique work that appeals to us. If it strikes a note with you, please submit to Good River Review. We’re happy to consider your work for the fall issue.


Kathleen Driskell

Editor in Chief

Good River Review




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