Chicago Review

An international journal of literature, interviews, and reviews. For academic audiences.

Articles from Vol. 42, No. 3, Summer-Fall

A Letter from Allen Ginsburg
Although Chicago Review had published several poems by Allen Ginsberg in its feature on San Francisco writers (including one of his best-known works, "Malest Cornifici Tuo Catullo"), two letters from Ginsberg in the Autumn 1958 issue attracted particular...
A Liturgy of Roses
When this poem by Tennessee Williams appeared in the Summer 1946 issue, Williams had recently found acclaim as a playwright: the 1945 production of The Glass Menagerie was his first Broadway success. But he had also achieved some notice as a poet in...
All Right, So Camus Had to Give Speeches before the Academies and Get His Ass Killed in a Car-Wreck
Charles Bukowski's poetry and fiction often reflected on the dark underbelly of society, where sex, drinking, and violence provoked the author's existential meditations. This poem appeared in the Autumn 1970 issue of Chicago Review; as in another poem...
A Man in the City
In 1957, Donald Hall published New Poets of England and America, an anthology he edited with Robert Pack and Louis Simpson; it has been widely regarded as a defense of the academic poetry of the era. Chicago Review was publishing poetry by many of the...
An Explanation of America
An excerpt from Robert Pinsky's An Explanation of America (1979) appeared in the Autumn 1978 issue of Chicago Review. PINSKY recently commented upon "Braveries": This section from my book-length poem An Explanation of America has been quoted and excerpted...
A Picture of the Gone World
When this selection from Lawrence Ferlinghetti's 1955 Pictures of the Gone World appeared in the Winter 1958 issue of Chicago Review, it marked the magazine's first publication of the new poetry coming out of San Francisco. As the poet would remark in...
A Poem
These two poems by David Bromige (as well as the next selection by Al Young) were published in Summer 1970 in a special section edited by Ron Silliman and David Melnick and titled "Fifteen Young Poets of the San Francisco Bay Area." Ron Silliman has...
Beat Zen, Square Zen, and Zen
The Summer 1958 issue of Chicago Review was mostly given to a special section, "On Zen," comprised of contributions by Daisetz T. Suzuki, Shinichi Hisamatsu (Hoseki), Philip Whalen, Gary Snyder, and Akihisa Kondo, among others. The issue included Jack...
Catechism
Like Ronald Sukenick and Alain Arias-Misson, Gilbert Sorrentino is known for his experiments with literary form. A poet and novelist, Sorrentino was also editor of Neon (a Beat-related journal) in the late 1950s. When he published "Catechism" in the...
Document: Convention Coverage
The Spring-Summer 1969 issue of Chicago Review was devoted to "Fantastic Art and Literature": it included translations of drama by Vladimir Mayakovsky and Tristan Tzara, fiction by Kenji Miyazawa, and poetry by Georg Trakl. But as the editors noted,...
Driving Home in the Breaking Season
There is no need of maps now, the interstate spooling south of Roethke's country gone sour: smokestacks thick as the risen fists of robber barons, the burly smudge of green he sang choked out by the Tonka Toy houses the same mile after mile. Even snow...
Ego Confession
"Ego Confession" was inspired by a Cecil Taylor concert in San Francisco which Allen Ginsberg attended with Anne Waldman. As the jazz pianist played, Ginsberg wrote the first line into his journal: "I want to be known as the most brilliant man in America."...
For Jack Spicer
Al Young, though born in Mississippi, has lived much of his life in California, where he teaches at Stanford University. "For Jack Spicer" pays homage to the Bay Area poet whose work influenced the development of the San Francisco Renaissance. When Young...
Glaucon and the Moon
John Hollander's "Glaucon and the Moon" appeared in the Winter 1958 issue and was one of the earliest-written poems in the poet's first book, A Crackling of Thorns. HOLLANDER explains how it came about: "Glaucon and the Moon" is one of a series of short...
House on Miramar, San Francisco
Michael S. Harper published "House on Miramar, San Francisco," in the Spring 1971 issue of Chicago Review; it was later collected in History Is Your Own Heartbeat (1971). He was a writing fellow at the University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign at the time,...
Ice
"Ice" was published with another poem by Ai, "Sleep like a Hammer," in the Spring 1978 issue. AI tells us, "My great great grandmother was an Oklahoma Choctaw and I was trying to imagine a fictional incident in her life, as well as just trying however...
In the City of Wind
The Summer 1975 issue was devoted to the topic "Talking American Poetry"; it was a rich conversation, drawing works from such varied writers as Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Michael Davidson, Nikki Giovanni and Howard Nemerov, Robert Pinsky and Charles Wright....
Letter to Simic from Boulder
Richard Hugo's "Letter to Sirnic from Boulder" was included with three other poems in the "Talking American Poetry" issue of Summer 1975. It was later included with similar poems in his collection, 31 Letters and 13 Dreams (1977). These poems were written...
Letter to the Poetry Editor
Philip Booth's letter followed in the Winter 1958 issue. Boom recently recalled the incident: Asked, these years later, to comment on a 1957 "Letter to the Poetry Editor," I had to ask back to Chicago what all this was about. By the time the present...
Literature as a Dead Duck
The Fall 1955 issue was devoted to essays on the topic "Changing American Culture"; it included essays by Benjamin Mays, Michael Harrington, Nat Hentoff, and Walt Kelly. Henry Miller, whose work was primarily available through French publishers at the...
Mainstreaming
Turner Cassity became a frequent contributor to Chicago Review during the 1980s and early 1990s. His poems were featured in special sections on "Poetry and Politics" and "Poetry and Mass Culture," and an essay on Martial appeared in the issue devoted...
Mother Calls in the Woman from God and We Work to Bring Back the Dead
Philip Levine published several poems in the Summer 1956 issue of Chicago Review, "all written," he tells us, "during the first year I was free to do nothing but write poems, which turned out largely to be a year of learning." For the retrospective issue,...
My Penis
Ed Ochester, poet and professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh, published "My Penis" in the Summer 1973 issue of Chicago Review (along with another poem, "My Teeth"). OCHESTER explains: "My Penis" was one of a series of "body parts" poems...
Naked Lunch
While they put together the issue of writing from San Francisco, editors Irving Rosenthal and Paul Carroll used their contacts to find new sources of material. Allen Ginsberg alerted them to William S. Burroughs, who had been laboring for years on the...
Notes on Some Young Poets
During the 1950s, Chicago Review became a forum for cultural criticism, with commentators like Bruno Bettelheim, Hannah Arendt, Kenneth Burke, Erik and Kai Erikson, Leslie Fiedler, Geoffrey Hartmann, and Leon Edel filling its pages. These contributions...
Out
During the 1970s, Chicago Review published many writers who experimented with chronology, characterization, and the nature of narrative; Jonathan Baumbach, Raymond Federman, John Mella, and Gilbert Sorrentino were among those who contributed "metafiction"...
Poems for Salome
Though both James Tate and Charles Simic had published individual works in Chicago Review, this poem from the Summer 1971 issue represents a unique collaborative venture. SIMIC explains how it came about: Tate and I wrote the sequence during one long...
Positive Thinking on Pennsylvania Avenue
Philip Roth's first publication outside of the Bucknell College literary magazine was a story called "The Day It Snowed"; it appeared in the Fall 1954 issue of Chicago Review. Roth later told Molly McQuade, "It's a story by someone who's twenty years...
Reality Theater in Chicago
As argument over the Vietnam War intensified on campuses during the late 1960s, Chicago Review began to take a broader interest in the public life of artistic culture. Eugene Wildman, who had edited the magazine in the mid-1960s, contributed the following...
Remembrance of My Forgotten Skinniness
Andrei Codrescu, poet, essayist, and editor of Exquisite Corpse, contributed his "Remembrance of My Forgotten Skinniness" to the Spring 1974 issue of Chicago Review. Recently, CODRESCU recalled the inspiration for the poem: I wrote "In Remembrance of...
Sabina
After Irving Rosenthal and his cohort left the staff, Hyung Woong Pak and the remaining staff members directed the magazine toward a focus on European literature: they produced a special issue on "Existentialism and Literature" for Summer 1959 and a...
Semi-Gross: Thoughts on the U.S. Open, 1978
These poems and this essay by Edward Dorn appeared in the Spring 1979 issue of Chicago Review, which was devoted to the topic "Black Mountain and Since: Objectivist Writing in America." The issue included new work by writers associated with Black Mountain...
Sleepers Awake
Kenneth Patchen's experimentation with narrative technique and his attention to the expressive possibilities of typographical variation anticipate Chicago Review's later interests in metafiction and concrete poetry (while it also contrasts with realist...
Staying Alive in a Clear-Cut Forest
David Wagoner teaches at the University of Washington and edits Poetry Northwest. His poetry is noted for its attention to the culture and landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Some of his poems recast Native American mythologies into poetry, as in "The...
Street of Stairs
Ronald Tavel founded and named the Theatre of the Ridiculous, the only extant theatrical movement of the American 1960s, and was Andy Warhol's screenwriter from 1964 to 1966. During 1960-63, he completed the 800-page manuscript of a novel, Street of...
Street Play 1:10 Minutes
Musicians - one flute, one harmonica, walking side-by-side and playing different songs, the flute something Renaissance-like and polyphonic, the harmonica something more like jazz or German atonal. They proceed to where a small group is gathered, stop...
Text VII
Ronald Silliman is chiefly known for his participation in the development of Language poetry in the late 1970s and 1980s; his 1986 anthology, In the American Tree, brings together much of this work, which experiments with structure, syntax, and the question...
The Boredom of the Isolated
Pattiann Rogers's poetry frequently appeared in the pages of Chicago Review during the 1980s. When "The Boredom of the Isolated" appeared in the 1982 issue, Rogers was anticipating the publication of her first book, The Expectations of Light, from Princeton...
The Cave
"The Cave" was first published in the Summer 1975 special issue, "Talking American Poetry," and was later substantially revised for publication in C. K. Williams's With Ignorance and in various subsequent books, including Poems 1963-1983 and Selected...
The Five Stages of Grief
Linda Pastan published "The Five Stages of Grief" in the Spring 1977 issue of Chicago Review, shortly before it became the title poem of her 1978 collection. That book won the di Castagnola Award. PASTAN recently wrote to us about this poem: I wrote...
The Hallucination
Joyce Carol Oates contributed "The Hallucination" to the Spring 1975 issue of Chicago Review. Often noted for her prolific outpouring of short fiction and novels, she is a frequent contributor to little magazines; with her husband, Raymond Smith, she...
The Journey
Eavan Boland's most recent books are Object Lessons: The Life of the Woman and the Poet in Her Time and An Origin like Water: Poems 1967-87, both with W.W. Norton. She was recently poet-in-residence at the National Maternity Hospital in Dublin, during...
The Meadow
"The Meadow" appeared with two other poems by Michael Palmer in the Autumn 1977 issue. PALMER tells us: "The Meadow" was written as homage both to Francis Ponge ("Le Pr") and to Robert Duncan ("Often I Am Permitted to Return to a Meadow," the opening...
The Postcards: A Triptych
Denise Levertov is an English-born poet who emigrated to the United States in 1948. The Spring-Summer 1966 issue of Chicago Review featured two poems, a short piece of fiction, and pages from her notebooks; in the latter, she discusses the poetics of...
The Wheel of the Quivering Meat Conception
The Spring 1958 issue of Chicago Review devoted most of its pages to writers "From San Francisco," as the section title announced, including work by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Robert Duncan, Allen Ginsberg, John Wieners, Michael McClure, Kirby Doyle, Philip...
They're Not Your Husband
Although many writers of the 1970s experimented with non-narrative and self-reflexive techniques, others turned to develop realist portraits of everyday life through a minimalist aesthetic. The chief practitioner of this aesthetic was Raymond Carver....
Upon Taking Hold
Robert Duncan's work in the 1950s provided an important link between writers in San Francisco and those associated with Black Mountain College. In 1956, Duncan taught play-writing at Black Mountain before returning to the Bay Area; "Upon Taking Hold,"...
Vietnam - Superfiction
Earlier issues of Chicago Review had addressed the Vietnam War through pieces on guerilla theater and a transcript from the protests outside of the Democratic Convention in Chicago. In the following piece by Alain Arias. Misson, the war is assessed through...
Volumes
Chicago Review's interest in experimental fiction continued throughout the late-1970s and the early-1980s, even as the magazine published mainstream fiction by the likes of Edmund White, Stuart Dybek, Stephen Dixon, and Frederick Busch. There was a special...
What Do I Remember of the Evacuation
While this retrospective issue has attempted to show some of the influences of literatures from around the world on new works written in English during the last fifty years, the issue has not drawn from the many translations Chicago Review has published...
Zen: The Rocks of Sesshu
Chicago Review has frequently investigated connections between Zen and poetry, perhaps most fatuously in the special issue on Zen published in Summer 1958. Lucien Stryk, one of the principal practitioners of a Zen-influenced poetics, has been a frequent...