National Writing Project

A Letter From the Editors on "Writing About the Unfamiliar"

By: Art Peterson, Amy Bauman
Publication: The Quarterly, Vol. 24, No. 1
Date: Winter 2002

Dear Reader,

Unfamiliar. As the dictionary defines the term, it means "not within one's knowledge; strange." When The Quarterly's editors decided to establish "writing about the unfamiliar" as the theme of this issue, we knew it was a broad theme that could be taken in numerous ways. In retrospect, looking at the variety of submissions we received, we realize our initial thoughts hardly scratched the surface of the possible ways this theme could be interpreted.

In the following themed section—delineated by a special border—we offer a cross-section of the pieces that were submitted. The articles range from one by a university instructor who takes his students to England to experience firsthand the world of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and the Brontës—which they had known only from their reading—to a piece by a kindergarten instructor who pushes her students to be brave enough to jump into that unfamiliar abyss that is the first act of putting words on paper. Although we were not able to include everything sent to us, we appreciate the numerous submissions.

With even the tiny bit of hindsight provided by having walked these articles from submission to print, we consider this themed issue of The Quarterly a success. It has made it possible to present readers with a variety of intriguing articles and allowed them to reflect on the larger question: "How do we write about worlds beyond our immediate experience?"


Amy Bauman
Art Peterson

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