Over at Emerging Writers Network, Dan Wickett examined the first issue of The Quarterly, discussed individual stories, and promised to this with further issues of this gone but hardly forgotten lit journal that Lish talked Random House/Vintage Books into funding.
We desire to do the same. We will begin with The Q #5, the first issue we came across in 1988.
The TOC iis quite the roster of Lish students and writers; many of the pieces are either excerpts from future books or stories from future collections by Yannick Murphy, Peter Christopher, Michael Hickins, William Tester, Sheila Kohler, etc.
Michael Hickins’ “Caper” is an excellent and strange story later found in his The Actual Adventures of Michael Missing…I have been a fan since first reading him in 1988.
William Tester’s “Darling” is an excerpt, or was expanded into, a novel y the same name. Lyrical, one could say it’s a long prose poem concerning sibling ties.
Ted Pejovich’s “The Last Man on Earth” is an excerpt from his memoir.
Anderson Farrell’s “Better Times” is not an excerpt from his novel, but a stand alone story.
“After the Stations at the Cross” is a novella by Peter Sysver…generally when Lish ran a novella or many stories by a writer, they later had a book out. We cannot find a book from Sysver; odd, as the novella is unique and a good rad.
In fact, we note that a handful of names that appeared frequently throughout the lifespan of The Q did not have subsequent collections or novels with Knopf: Diane Desanders, Jan Pendelton, Janet Mitchell
Each issue of The Q was 250 pages, generally consisting of 150 pages of prose fiction, 50 pages of poetry, and 40 pages (the remaining 10 were drawings and single panel comix) of people “writing to” the Q, as if letters or conversations, but appear to be excerpts of autobiographical stories, sometimes notes on a notable story in the issue…we have seen some of these “letters” appear as stories in various collections.
Nostalgia! Sabres! What a wonderfully ticked feeling it is to go through this issue, re-reading stories we forgot and stories we can never forget, a totem for the end of the 1980s when everything in American literature seemed quite possible.