A journal of narrative writing.

While it's hard to bid adieu to our striped towels, sunscreen, and sand-blown beach books, we here at Conte are glad to put the worst heat wave in recent memory behind us by saying bonjour to our seventeenth issue!

We’re pleased to offer thirteen robust poems in what may be the most formally and thematically diverse issue we've ever published. Emma Sovich's vivacious “New Mardi Gras, Sydney” kicks things off before Thorpe Moeckel and Christopher Ankney both take us down to the water's edge. Adam Love then renders a touching and imagistic threnody for the late poet Frank Stanford, while Christina Cook measures potions and heartache in “Tacoma Apothecary.” Next, Emily Bright laments the horrific Triangle Shirtwaist Fire of 1911, Rebecca Foust contorts some classic adolescent clichés, and Bryan Narendorf delivers a breathless elegy of sweat and toil. Ralph Tejada Wilson follows with his candid “Apology,” Sarah Stanton intones a haunted prayer with “Sapience,” and Edward Doyle-Gillespie shows us the power of hate as well as courage in “Throwing the Scent.” Finally, F. Daniel Rzicznek concludes this baker's dozen verses with two sonorous lyrics of love, nature, and belonging.

Our prose selections this issue begin with Corey Campbell's “Introduction to Airborne Radar,” a vibrant raw story of a protagonist thrown out of sync by a burgeoning love, her slow burn set against the crumbling backdrop of sudden, inexplicable tragedy. That's followed by Bill Beverly's “Sugar,” which leads us breathless and stumbling through foggy revelations, reaching an equivalent level of emotional honesty and nerve-twisting suspensefulness. Next up is “Prince of Fools,” Julie Stielstra’s engaging and unpredictable character study, takes us through the rotating perspectives of its eclectic cast, peeling back the layers of each player's personality like liquid origami. Topping off our tank this issue is Abby Norwood’s “American Botoms” a chilly, captivating unearthing of the roots of one family’s psychodrama, a tale that digs relentlessly down into the thick black secret mud, refusing to let them - or us - remain coccooned in rationalization and willing ignorance.

While these briefer dusks may make us all pine for June with a wistful sigh, we're hoping you find a little solstice magic left in our new issue. (After all, we're damn proud of it.) So grab this spare rocker on our digital porch and sit a spell. The kids are already in bed, we just squeezed a pitcher of lemonade, and soon the lightning bugs will glow our yellow names across the lawn.

Adam, Robert, & Eric