Spring 2024



antmen pimentel mendoza

Editor (Class of 2025)


  • antmen pimentel mendoza

  • Editor

  • Class of 2025

Dearest RWW Community—

I hope that the arrival of spring is sweet for you, wherever you are. I hope the writing and reading are treating you sweetly, too. I recently revisited Tommy Pico’s epic poem cum text message IRL, in which he writes,

Language is living
history class, like you n me,
conquest hardwired
into lingua franca—multi-
racial, neighborhoods, parts
of speech, laborious pidgin

and, I must admit, language has been a flurry, has been asking me to labor. So, I write this to you, knowing intimately conquest is hardwired into whatever unwieldy words in this unwieldy tongue I choose, knowing I cannot fully name what I believe language can do right now, but, humbly, I know it is “living history class,” just like you, me, and all of us.

In this issue, I read the ways our community, too, knows that language is living history. RWW’s Kelli Russell Agodon shares her craft essay “The Blind Love of Language: Discovering Poetry in the Everyday” and invites us to follow curiosity, allow language to dazzle or distract even as it arrives in unlikely places. To celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the program, Contributing Writer Elissa Favero asked eight alumni from across the program’s history, “How has RWW shaped your writing life?” Language was certainly living and bustling, even, at the annual Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference hosted this February in Kansas City, and we have collected photos from our RWW community who presented on panels, shared their work at readings, and met future students at the bookfair booth. And, of course, we celebrate the ways our community continues to steward language through our Publications, Announcements, Opportunities, and Literary Citizenship listings.

Lastly, we want to celebrate the release of The Next Draft: Inspiring Craft Talks from the Rainier Writing Workshop, edited by Brenda Miller with help from Soundings Managing Editor Hannah Comerford. The book collects a selection of morning talks from RWW’s esteemed faculty through the years. You can purchase a copy from University of Michigan Press here! Use discount code UMS24 for 30% off.

We hope that you enjoy this Spring issue, and I am very grateful to be working through language alongside you all.

—antmen pimentel mendoza