The Georgia Review, UGA’s internationally known quarterly journal of arts and letters, highlights its 60th anniversary with the recently released 400-page double issue for fall/winter 2006.
Focusing on “letters,” this issue celebrates both the past and the present of the Review, which has come to be widely regarded as a periodical unsurpassed in its field. The centerpiece of the issue is “ ‘Into the Hectic Unknown’: Correspondence from the Archives (1947–1976).” Covering the tenures of the Review’s first six editors, this 90-page feature includes letters by such notable figures as Albert Einstein, T. S. Eliot, E. B. White, Flannery O’Connor, Pearl S. Buck, James Dickey and Edmund Wilson. (The spring 2007 issue will include archival letters from 1977–2000).
The Review’s acting editor, Stephen Corey, provides a brief running commentary on the letters, helping to carry readers from W. T. Couch’s 1947 telegram grumbling about editorial changes (“I am shocked to discover changes that make me say such things as ‘the world is appallingly incompetent’ ”) to John Gardner’s 1976 ramble about his writing life: “I live on a road in the shadow of a mountain, no houses in sight, me and my typewriter and several gods, mostly friendly ones. I have also Shakespeare, Chaucer, Homer, Melville, and Isak Dinesen. . . ”
A second gathering of previously unpublished correspondence is “Peripheral Pleasures: Letters to Russell Banks, Daniel Halpern and Stanley Plumly” by the late poet William Matthews, whose son Sebastian provides an introduction to this intriguing set of writer-to-writer communications.
Many of the other new works in the issue also bear upon the subject of letters. Michael Donohue’s essay “Russell and Mary” recreates an anonymous New York City couple’s life from a box of letters and other papers left behind at their deaths. Alison Cadbury, Kent Meyers and Tracy Daugherty contribute short stories that make various use of correspondence—as do poems by Lawrence Raab, Amy Newman, Derek Sheffield and J. Allyn Rosser; and reviews by Judith Kitchen, Jeffrey Meyers and Hugh Ruppersburg discuss recently published collections of letters by Robert Lowell, James Wright, Amy Clampitt, Louise Bogan, James Dickey, Robert Penn Warren and others.