The Best of Crazyhorse: Thirty Years of Poetry and Fiction
from the INTRODUCTION
In compiling this anthology, I have tried to do three things: select the best works published during Crazyhorse's thirty-year history, represent as many of its finest contributors as space would allow, and reflect some of the major trends in our literature during the past three decades. Of these three aims, the first was most important to me, for I believe the chief responsibility of an anthologist is to call attention to excellence. "The excellent," Aristotle tells us, "becomes the permanent," and I hope The Best of Crazyhorse helps the excellent poems and stories published in the magazine achieve the permanence they deserve. I also hope it leads readers to discover the many excellent poems and stories that aren't included. There simply wasn't enough room to include all of the worthy works published in the past thirty years (this is especially true of three brilliant novellas, Andre Dubus's "Molly," Andre Dubus III's "The Cage Keeper," and Barton Sutter's "My Father's War"), and the reader who turns to back issues of the magazine will find there many other poems and stories that deserve to last.
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In 1987, Library Journal ranked Crazyhorse in the top twenty of the several thousand magazines that publish poetry in the United States, and in 1990, after polling more than one hundred editors and agents, Writer's Digest named it one of the fifty most influential magazines publishing fiction today.
Few literary journals have been around for the past three decades, and fewer still tell us more about our literature, and ourselves, during that time. I hope The Best of Crazyhorse gives adequate testimony to the accomplishments of the writers and editors whose work has made the magazine, in the words of Raymond Carver, "an indispensable literary magazine of the first order." And I hope it inspires writers and readers to help the magazine not only survive but thrive for another thirty years.