To the Unknown Reader,

It is frightening to begin without knowing. To invest in something that doesn't yet exist, that you believe in, but cannot see.

So it was with you.

We began Swamp Ape Review in the fall of 2015, sending our energy, time, and graduate student pennies into an idea: That there are readers, clicking their way through the Internet, who seek strange, genre-defying literature, and there are writers laboring intensely to create it. In some ways we ourselves are those readers--as MFA candidates we read impressive literary journals, submit our own work to their care, and pursue pieces that are novel, atypical, and true. 

Our January 2017 issue is our first, and with it comes the striking reality of something seen. Emerging from more than 800 submissions, late-night staff meetings, wine-fueled brainstorming, and immensely talented submitters is this: 39 pieces that unsettled our assumptions of what is possible. 

I end with an introduction: Readers who seek, enjoy the exceptional work of the individuals who created for you, perhaps before they knew where to find you. Writers and artists, thank you for taking a chance on us, and for the privilege of spotlighting your work. It is our hope that what is exchanged here will yield deeper inspiration, fruitful art, and is the first of many sightings of that sly, elusive narrative we hunt.

Welcome to Swamp Ape Review.

Natalie Rowland
Managing Editor, SAR