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Published December 16, 2009
BETHESDA, MD (Oct 14) — Poet Lore, the nation’s oldest continuously published poetry journal, marks its 120th anniversary this year.

At a time when many literary journals (and the publishing industry of which they are part) are struggling, Poet Lore, with its distinctive historic look, has remained true to its core value — bringing great poetry to light — and created a proven and lasting nationwide identity. E. Ethelbert Miller and Jody Bolz carefully read every submission they receive, and their work reaffirms the value of poetry in a landscape that often devalues the written word. “Poetry may not be regarded as culturally central,” Jody Bolz explains, “but it's still what people turn to at the most important moments in their lives. At every life-cycle ritual—from naming ceremonies to funerals—the language of poetry speaks to us and speaks for us. As editors, our role is to connect poets and readers, building upon Poet Lore's 120-year-long record of literary discovery.”

That 120-year-long record is what Poet Lore and its publisher, The Writer’s Center, honor. It’s a rich and varied story, and as you’ll see below, the journal has played an active and important role in bringing literary talent to light.

Founded in 1889 by two brilliant, iconoclastic scholars, Helen Clarke and Charlotte Porter, as a journal “devoted to Shakespeare, Browning, and the Comparative Study of Literature,” Poet Lore developed an early following among literary societies and later expanded its influence by offering unique features, such as its “Play Series” — which in 1913 was the first to print a complete, English-language edition of Anton Chekhov’s play “The Seagull.” And Walt Whitman, in the final year of his life, ran three paid advertisements in Poet Lore for Leaves of Grass.

During the course of its illustrious history, Poet Lore has played an active role in introducing American readers to the likes of some of the finest international poets. In its early years, in fact, very few American authors were published in Poet Lore. For the majority of its content, Poet Lore set its sights abroad. Among the many authors who were discovered or whose careers on the international stage were advanced by Poet Lore include Maxim Gorky, Henrik Ibsen, Frederic Mistral, and August Strindberg. And it was among the first publications to introduce the work of Bengali poet and Nobel Prize winner Rabindranath Tagore to American readers. In the late 20th Century, Poet Lore published the early work of such remarkable American poets as Mary Oliver, Colette Inez, Cornelius Eady, Carl Phillips, Carolyn Forché, Sharon Olds, Dana Gioia, Pablo Medina, and Alice Fulton, among many others. In recent years, the editors were the first to publish the poetry of Dwayne Betts, who sent his submission from prison.


Founders Charlotte E. Porter and Helen A. Clarke were writers, editors, Shakespeare and Browning scholars, and literary critics at a time when women in these roles were few and far between. Porter composed poetry, Clarke wrote musical compositions, and both wrote essays and reviews that appeared in early editions of Poet Lore and elsewhere.

Porter and Clarke were both named “Helen” at birth. Charlotte later changed her name from Helen Charlotte Porter to Charlotte Endymion Porter, borrowing her middle name from the Keats poem. The two women exchanged rings in a commitment ceremony and lived together until Helen A. Clarke died at age 65. Charlotte Porter scattered Helen’s ashes by their summer home in Penobscot Bay, Maine.

Whitman advertised his finally completed Leaves of Grass in three 1892 editions of Poet Lore.

Poet Lore was famous in the early 20th century for translations, publishing, for example, an early edition of Chekhov’s “The Seagull” in its folios and presenting literary luminaries like Ibsen, Strindberg, Gorky, D’Annunzio, Mistral, and Tagore to readers early on.

The first piece of writing F. Scott Fitzgerald ever placed (outside of school publications) was the poem “The Way of Purgation.” He sold it to Poet Lore in September of 1917, but for reasons unknown to the current publishers, it didn’t appear in the next issue, or any subsequent. It was finally printed in our Winter 1989-1990 issue (Vol. 84, No. 4) with the note: “Poet Lore apologizes for any inconvenience this delay may have caused.”

Poet Lore’s executive editors read all submissions, without regard to the reputation of the poet, year-round. They meet in Washington, D.C., to read aloud their selections and winnow the stacks of poems.

About The Writer’s Center: Since 1987, Poet Lore has been published by The Writer’s Center in Bethesda, MD. The Writer's Center cultivates the creation, publication, presentation, and dissemination of literary work. We are an independent literary organization with a global reach, rooted in a dynamic community of writers. As one of the premier centers of our kind in the country, we believe the craft of writing is open to people of all backgrounds and ages. Writing is interdisciplinary and unique among the arts for its ability to touch on all aspects of the human experience. It enriches our lives and open doors to knowledge and understanding. The Writer's Center is a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization. We are supported in part by The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and by a grant from the Maryland State Arts Council, an agency funded by the State of Maryland and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Published December 01, 2009
The newest Burnside Review breaks away from it's trademark 6x6 format for a special "All-Oregon Issue." According to its publishers, "With the prize money from last year’s Literary Arts publishing fellowship, we decided to give back to our state. The special edition is a truly Oregonian creation; cover art by the Mercury’s art director Justin Scrappers, design and printing and stiching by Pinball Publishing. The issue features 33 of Oregon’s finest writers, including, Willy Vlautin, Kevin Sampsell, Vern Rutsala, Mary Szybist, Michele Glazer and Floyd Skloot."
Published November 17, 2009
Ron Offen, the editor of Free Lunch, is not longer able to continue his work on the publication, Free Lunch. The Autumn issue, Number 42, is being prepared for mailing, and will be the final issue. The staff have asked writers to not send any further submissions to the magazine. Those submissions that have been received with return postage will be returned as soon as possible.
Published November 17, 2009
The theme for issue 80 of River Styx is "Games" - which broadly interpreted includes works about "soccer games, hoop games, board games, card games, kid games, bedroom games, carnival games, even wild game." As Editor Richard Newman introduces the issue: "The best games, as well as the best writing about games, always enact something larger than the actual game."

Also included in this issue are the works by winners of the 2009 River Styx International Poetry Contest, as selected by Stephen Dunn: Michael Derrick Hudson, Michale J. Grabell, and J. Stephen Rhodes.
Published November 04, 2009
Rambler Magazine's "hiatus" status has now changed to indefinite. According to Editor Dave Korzon: "As such, there are no immediate plans for future issues." No further submissions nor subscriptions will be accepted. Back issues of the magazine will continue to be available for order online.

Our condolences to The Rambler staff - I've known them since my start here at NewPages. It's sad to see such a well-established publication come to an end. I think there are new efforts on the rise, but nothing ever fills the place of such well-known publications whose tireless staff fought the fight to pave the way for so many others. Thanks Rambler. Almost too cliche to say, but for those of us old enough to have grown up with it, we have the right, especially on these fall days: Ramble On my friends.
Published November 03, 2009
The MacGuffin, housed by Schoolcraft College in Livonia, Michigan, is celebrating its 25 anniversary this year. Indeed, a publishing and readership milestone worthy of celebration.
Published October 30, 2009
The current issue of Cave Wall, adorned by Deborah Mersky's "New Frog" on the cover, opens with some thoughtful considerations by Editor Rhett Iseman Trull on the nature of saving and preservation: "We can't protect everything all the time," she begins. "I used to think I could prevent accidents by performing rituals, like counting my steps or touching the lamps in a certain order I tried to freeze the good times... But we cannot remain in one place. The circle of life keeps turning. In memory and in our art, however, we can revisit a moment, letting it touch and change us anew... Perhaps every poem is a kind of elegy: a song for what cannot last. But each song here is vital, at least to me, in this moment."
Published October 29, 2009
The Autumn 2009 issue of Bitter Oleander Review (v15 n2), in addition to a special focus on Elizabeth McLagan with an interview and selection of her poetry, also features the Frances Locke Memorial Poetry Award Winner for 2009: Rich Ives.
Published October 28, 2009
The Fall/Winter 2009 issue of Nimrod International Journal from the University of Tulsa is titled "Words at Play" and features works by the 31st Annual Award Winners and Finalists for Poetry and Fiction:

The Pablo Neruda Prize in Poetry
First: Mike Nelson, “Acacia”
Second: Alicia Case, “Ascension” and other poems
HM: Natalie Diaz, “The Elephants” and other poems

The Katherine Anne Porter Prize in Fiction
Fisrt: $2,000: Lacey Jane Henson, “Trigger”
Second: $1,000: Margaret Kaufman, “Live Saving Lessons”
HM: Patricia Grace King, “Dogs in Guatemala” and Laura Hulthén Thomas, “Down to the Last Kopek”
Published October 27, 2009
While I am aware of the controversy regarding Antioch, I am certainly not "embroiled" in it as many must be. Still, I found myself deeply interested The Antioch Review Editor's comments about a particular aspect of his work at the college. Robert S. Fogerty, in the latest issue (Fall 2009), titles his editorial "Young Man Geertz" after Clifford Geertz, a returning vet who was a senior at Antioch in 1949.

Fogerty has gained access to almost 400 "Senior Papers" - a graduation requirement dating back to the late 1920s. His plans are to write a "prosopography" (collective biography) for which select papers will comprise the focus of his work. In his editorial, he offers selections from a numbers of these, considering what might have happened had Antioch shut its doors for good (it will resume 2011) to the very experiences written about in these essays. In just the small sampling he provides, it is clear that these papers are rich with period perspective, of young people writing of their own time of change, of the future they lived through, the history we look back on, and the Antioch that was: "Utopian, experimental, nonconformist, painfully earnest, desperately intense, and filled with political radicals and and aesthetic free spirits (or were they aesthetic radicals and political free spirits?), it was counter-culture before its time."

Clifford Geertz went on to win a National Book Critics Award as well as many more distinguished awards in social sciences and was honored by numerous universities. His "Senior Essay" is included in this issue of The Antioch Review.

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