Welcome to Diode 11.3!
We're dedicating this issue to the remarkable Jeff Lodge on the occasion of his retirement after a long and impactful career at Virginia Commonwealth University and Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar). I first met Jeff when he served as Graduate Programs Coordinator of the English department, a position he held from 1996 to 2006. I was one of many MFA students who benefited from Jeff’s generous and tireless support. In addition to helping countless graduate students with everything from advising to navigating funding, he never missed a reading and he always shared his kind and insightful feedback. He was also a remarkable teaching mentor and he counseled many a nervous TA about to enter the classroom for the first time. From 2006 to 2009, he served as Director of the Liberal Arts & Sciences program at VCUarts Qatar. He was a wonderful leader and he was instrumental in creating the collegial culture that exists in LAS to this day. In 2009, he returned to the home campus where he joined University College and served as assistant professor in the Focused Inquiry program.
Jeff is the author of the novel Where This Lake Is (White Pine Press, 1997) and co-editor of Gathering the Tide: An Anthology of Contemporary Arabian Gulf Poetry (Ithaca Press, 2011). He is also one of the founding editors of Blackbird: an online journal of literature and the arts. In 2006, Jeff and I founded Diode Poetry Journal. Jeff created the original logo and layout for Diode and we worked together on the journal for a decade. His aesthetic and approach still inform Diode and we will always strive to live up to the high standards he set. It was a joy and an honor to work with Jeff on Diode and he will always be a member of the Diode family. More importantly, he’ll always be a member of my family of choice.
Jeff has enriched the life of everyone who has had the privilege to know him and we wish him the best in his well-earned retirement. See you on the links J-Lo!