We have the backs of our editors; this is not a debt we owe, but a matter of principle.
All speech has impact—and limitations. The tragedy is silence, which is its own violence and last rite. Managing the negativity invariably created by words is not our responsibility, and has the potential to detract from our dignity as a press. To be saddened or distressed by the creative choices of, say, Seth Abramson, is understandable; choosing to spread outrage is an inappropriate response. Serious writers address tragedy—its causes and layers of complexity; also, the way authors attempt to use their writing ability to focus attention on and into it—with respect. That is the responsibility of the authors and the editors who value words, everyone in publishing, and us, too (the publisher for/of the Best American Experimental Writing series and other creative projects).
To clarify here: We are dismayed and disheartened by many aspects of the frustration so many “needed” to project because Seth Abramson published one piece in The Huffington Post (“to” Elliot Rodger) that many were upset by. The actions of Elliot Rodger were his (his!); the action we take as we process all this is, of course, our property—and, too, our responsibility. Our anthology of terms for completing this process is decided by/for us.
To this, we (Seth Abramson’s publisher) agreed, as our alignment is to and for the fully committed project—to and for Art.
We publish the Best American Experimental Writing series because we have enormous gratitude for all involved in the preservation of reason and process. Seth Abramson, Jesse Damiani, all who submitted to Best American Experimental Writing—all deserve to be free to make their deeply worked Art. Agreement with and acceptance for work like this—the “new”—is often found in aspects of future work (and so, is initiated on backs that feel—and needs that, drawn and read, project a concern for Art).
Seth Abramson and Jesse Damiani selected the end; we, excited, their (this) project. Understood, that it—the project; the “BAX” anthology—was for experimental writing. Thus, tacit, the issues this anthology selected for considered use. (All series project their own buy-in.)
To and for this, the anthology.
To and for the best of American courage, the first Best American Experimental Writing.