News of the Collegesummer2007

Literary Magazines: A Brief History


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Reed’s first yearbook in 1915 introduced the Literat Club, an informal group of students who “workshopped” together, reading their writings for group criticism. Literary pieces often appeared in the annual Griffin in the 1920s; many were written by members of the Quills, a literary group established in 1919. The first faculty member to be listed as teaching creative writing, Esther Shephard (1921–22), oversaw the production of the Pseudonym, a collection of the works of her students. The Gawdawfulers, begun in 1928 and lasting through 1935, were advised by Professor V.L.O. Chittick; they published their work in annual anthologies, and included many items by the budding poet Mary Barnard ’32. Professor Lloyd Reynolds (1929–69) was hired originally as an instructor in English and taught creative writing long before he discovered calligraphy and moved to the art department.

The 1940s saw the publication of the Gargoyle (1941–50) and Prologue (1947–49), which perhaps encouraged the extraordinary blooming of poets in the late 1940s, among them the future beat poets Gary Snyder ’51, Phil Whalen ’51, and Lew Welch ’50, as well as Bill Dickey ’51, Don Berry ’53, and others. Both the Gurgle (1951) and the Gorgon (1952) came soon after, but were short-lived, while the better-known Janus literary magazine started in 1950 and ran until 1957.

The 1960s saw several brief attempts at producing literary magazines, but none were carried on. Many titles appeared in the 1970s, several on a larger scale, such as BIGWORD (1974–79) and the Oregon Anthology of College Poetry (1977). The Rude Girl Press, begun in 1980, still brings out irregular issues of feminist writing, and the ’80s also saw extended activity with the Small Press Collective, which lasted through 2002. The Reed College Creative Review has published annually since 2004, and there is an annual Mary Barnard Academy of American Poets Contest for Reed student poetry. The newest addition to Reed’s roster of literary magazines, Counterverses, was published in 2007 by students involved with Reed’s office of multicultural affairs.

Gay Walker ’69, Special Collections Librarian