As in the past, we continue to seek contributions of literary essay for inclusion in the literature pages. Literary essay can take many forms, and we have been fortunate to have some great variation from the writers we have featured. In 2009 we have published essays from Matthew Dernbach that had a distinct coming-of-age quality about them, Garrett Cohn offered several memoirs and travel pieces of particular quality, and Jerry Gallagher continued in his signature satirical fashion.

Our most regularly featured essayist is the potato farmer and author from central Wisconsin, Justin Isherwood. Isherwood’s essays of farm life and growing up a farm kid always incorporate his particular and sometimes peculiar sense of humor, and his sensibility about living with and working on the land. His subject and style are somehow familiar to all of us who have had some experience living rural.

Typically for the “Year in Review” issue we select pieces from the previous year to reprise, but this year we have a new essay from Justin Isherwood that has not previously appeared in our pages. As he is the author of the Christmas story collection Christmas Stones and the Story Chair, and considering the season, we felt it appropriate to include this new essay in this issue.

~ P.D.S.