“There is no brief way to know a place even so small as this. Places can be claimed but never conquered, assayed but never fathomed, essayed but never explained. You can only make yourself present; watch earnestly, listen attentively, and in due time, perhaps, you will absorb something of the land. What you absorb will eventually change you. This change is the only real measure of a place.”
--Paul Gruchow, "Spring: Wild Isle," from Boundary Waters
This quotation from Paul Gruchow's Boundary Waters also forms the basis for the journal's philosophy of nonfiction. "Nonfiction" could be substituted for "place" in the quote and the ideas will still apply. The journal's title is pronounced uh-SAY, with the emphasis on the second syllable and a soft s. The goal of Assay is to test and analyze the nonfiction texts we read, to attempt our determinations of their ingredients and quality.
We believe strongly in the exchange of ideas, the essaying of classroom experience, the intersection of theory and praxis.