Welcome to the first issue of Waccamaw, a new online literary journal published at Coastal Carolina University.
We take our name from the Waccamaw River, which runs through Conway, South Carolina, home of the university. We will publish two issues per year, spring and fall, featuring the best contemporary poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction we can find.
Our aim is to publish essays, stories, and poems as beautiful and mysterious as the tannin-dyed black water of the river whose name we invoke. We value mystery in literature, but not obscurity, remembering Robert Frost’s profound observation, “There is nothing as mysterious as something clearly seen.”
In the preparation of our first two issues (spring and fall 2008), we have sought work that is at once clear and mysterious—poems, stories, and essays that speak to anyone with a direct clarity, but which also reveal levels of meaning, complexity, and ambiguity with each subsequent reading.
Our first issue was launched April 23, 2008: the 444th anniversary (if you enjoy authorial myth) of Shakespeare’s birth, or the 392nd anniversary (if you prefer authentic record) of his death. In Waccamaw No. 1, you will find new poems by Jack Gilbert, Linda Gregg, Barbara Hamby, Joshua Poteat, and Katrina Vandenberg; new stories by Richard Schmitt, Jeff Parker, and Elizabeth Ellen; a memoir excerpt by Paul Cody; and an essay by Joe Oestreich, who will join the Coastal Carolina faculty and the Waccamaw staff in fall 2008.
We will begin accepting unsolicited submissions of poetry and prose in the spring of 2009. Please do not send work for consideration before we have announced a call for submissions. Keep checking our News and Features section for this call, which will appear in the late fall of 2008.
As we prepared for the first issue, we also solicited an introduction to our venture from Coastal Carolina Distinguished Professor Emeritus Randall A. Wells, author of multiple books about the Waccamaw River and the Horry County region. He was invited to interpret “introduction” any way he wished, and he responded with a poem which incorporates much of his voluminous knowledge about the river and its surrounding area. “The Waccamaw” ends with an extended section of actual voices from the past, voices that at one time echoed across the water flowing through this old river. The last of these voices offers testimony about a woman who, after baptism, “put the polio-stick down / and began walkin’.” As Waccamaw takes its first steps into the world, we can think of no more appropriate final words to Wells’s introductory poem.
Thank you for your interest in our journal. We hope you will find the literary work we’re presenting to be as essential and mysterious as the water that has flowed through Conway since long before the place was given that name. Welcome to Waccamaw.