While you may have expected an ampersand splitting the theme of Ninth Letter’s Summer 2022 web edition, the decision to replace the conjunction/symbol with the slash is—we think—indicative of the moment in which we chose this theme. Way back in February, our cycles of daily life seemed to flow for a few weeks, and then ebb back toward a cautionary stance, oscillating as needed. Or, some portion of the world was revving up/partying down, while another population was taking caution/pressing on—and sometimes those communities could be seen across the street. (see: view from the English Building at UIUC).

The Summer 2022 edition seeks to capture similar tension. That tension is not, it seems, as prominent in mid-summer as it was in February. But it felt like a moment when many different things were happening at once, and all of them omens of a possible future. Now, at the end of June, many of those futures seem less viable. Backsliding and regression – unmistakable from the ebb and flow of change – occupy the political headlines, while a variety of community health stats and monetary rates steadily rise. Here’s to the interchange of ebb/flow, those moments of both and in-between.

Thanks so much to our wonderful cast of student editors. Both decisive and empathetic, they found easily that transient space good editors occupy—diving in but also distancing.



Hannah Keziah Agustin
Can the Subaltern Love

Jack Barker-Clark
Kingdom of Want

Emily W. Blacker
If Uncertainty Were a Color, I’d Paint You

Wendy Oleson
Circle in the Sand

Zachariah McVicker

Editorial Assistants
Sarah Castle
Henry Coad
Lauren Dubravec
Leo Flood
Elli Fomin
Camila Garcia
Brandon Gaspar
Mason Gregg
Sana Khadilkar
Caleb Kim
Sam Mesa
Danielle Rhody
Vivian Sanchez-Reynoso
Natalie Schwartz
Erica Such
Jennifer Toyama
Eli Wright
Brian Zilles