1959

Poetry Northwest


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"There are only a tiny handful of journals left in America seriously dedicated to poetry, and Poetry Northwest is unmistakably one of the finest. It has not only printed work of an extraordinarily high quality, it has discovered a large number of extremely talented young writers. In contemporary literature, the Pacific Northwest has no finer spokesman or representative...."

--William Arrowsmith

[Cover of Poetry Northwest]
  Cover of Poetry Northwest (Spring 1994, Volume XXXV, No. 1)

Thirty-seven years of continuous publication have made Poetry Northwest the oldest magazine in the U.S. that publishes nothing but poetry, notes its editor David Wagoner, a UW English professor. "Many poets whose work has appeared in our pages--in some cases for the first time anywhere--have gone on to distinguished prize-winning careers," he notes.

Those poets include Philip Larkin, Theodore Roethke, Philip Levine, Mark Strand, John Berryman, May Swenson, Ann Sexton, and Richard Hugo among a long list of over 40 names that Wagoner rattles off. "In the past decade we have also published a number of younger poets who, we feel, are certain to have similar careers," he adds.

Poetry Northwest was first published in 1959 with Errol Pritchard as editor, followed by Carolyn Kizer in 1960. In 1964, the Graduate School of the UW became its publisher. When Kizer left in 1966 to become director for literature at the National Endowment for the Arts, David Wagoner took the helm of the magazine and has continued to this day.

Poet Philip Booth notes that "Poetry Northwest has nationally introduced more first-rate young poets than any other journal in the country." James Dickey affirmed:

Poetry Northwest is one of the finest of all the literary magazines now being published in the English-speaking world. No established poet of my acquaintance is ever less than delighted to appear there; no new poet is anything but elated. If there is any such thing as elevating cultural standards and keeping them elevated, Poetry Northwest performs such a function, and performs it with grace and style.

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