In our mitigated, cultivated world, is it possible to still be wild? With no wilderness, will our natures turn tame? These are two of the challenges we threw out for our Wild issue, and because writers are creative, and therefore untamed, they came back to us with very different answers.
Olena Kalytiak Davis pushes into the wilderness of language, pursuing taboo thoughts well past the point where tamer poets would dare tread. Often the word wild is associated with otherness and primitiveness. Artist Matt Kish explores this idea in his dark, haunting interpretation of Conrad’s classic tale of madness, Heart of Darkness; Lauren Groff’s single female heroine loses herself to otherness in the story “Salvador”; and journalist Inara Verzemnieks chronicles a transient community that colonized a highway rest stop.
In an excerpt from his novel-in-progress, Donald Ray Pollock lets his southern gothic run wild, while in Ben Marcus’s fiction, a single sentence is stretched to its limits. The doggedly inquisitive Ginger Strand tackles the elusive sex trade in Vegas and traces the not-so-wild roots of the Wild West. Ursula K. Le Guin, herself no stranger to the great wilds of this and other worlds, makes a case for H. L. Davis’s underappreciated western novel Honey in the Horn. And while many of us welcome the uncontrolled and unpredictable outdoors, those who live daily with its dangers, like Rilla Askew, whose family’s property in Oklahoma is crawling with rattlesnakes, have a more complicated relationship with the untamed.
Whatever your inclination, we hope you heed the words of Isadora Duncan: “You were once wild here. Don’t let them tame you.”
Issue Number 57 is out now!