A journal of narrative writing.

2010 is a special year for us here at Conte as it marks our fifth anniversary, and we are truly delighted to kick the year off with issue 5.2, our twelfth installment.

This issue's poems could not be more tonally and formally eclectic, yet how serendipitous it is that nearly all of them deal with the elemental beauty, force, and wrath of water. Corinna McClanahan Schroeder begins this issue with her hauntingly stoic "Last Night in Evansville," followed by Caridad Moro-McCormick's "Wet Foot, Dry Foot," a poem in which the quaint division between life's public and private spheres blurs like strands of wavering kelp. Erika Meitner offers two dense, masterful narratives followed by Leigh Phillips and the inimitable Roger Weingarten, whose lyrical verse-essay "Subterranean Vermont Anti-Regionalism Blues" is so richly imaginative that it convinced us to break our own editorial policy; for the first time ever, Conte is reprinting previously published work, and we are proud to offer two poems from Weingarten's 1997 collection Ghost Wrestling. Next comes Sara Lier's riveting "Fall," while D. Eric Parkison and Ryan Van Winkle both wrestle with the burden of family and memory. Finally, we conclude with Molly Sutton Kiefer's grand sequence "Traver K Sutton Will Write Letters to His Wife."

On the prose side, we serve a rare and imaginative CNF piece by Erica Stisser, who muses about the mortal implications of being not just passed on, but over as well. Randy Rex's robust and vivid "Flint Hills, Kansas" uses intricate metaphors to probe the nature of that last little push before the landslide, and Tarik Abdel-Monem's far-East memoir lulls us in with a false sense of security before springing its ghostly trap. In the finale, a dark and inevitable tone threatens to cut through the tenuous relationships in David Pinault's captivating "Murder of a Prince-Mystic."

Traditionally, fifth anniversaries are celebrated with gifts of wood, but rather than giving us your grandmother's antique rocking chair (we don't have room for it on our server anyway), we hope you'll help us celebrate this momentous occasion by reading the fantastic poems and stories included in this winter issue. In an age when upstart journals fade as quickly as they appear, Conte has been a mainstay in the online literary community, remaining committed to the simple yet daring notion that a journal need not have a glossy cover or university endowment to publish good writing. So cheers, as we hoist our imaginary glasses to toast the next five, and may they be filled with friends old and new.

Robert & Adam