Gender and Avant-Garde Editing:
Comparing the 1920s with the 1990s

by Lynn Keller and Cristanne Miller


During the 1910s and 1920s, women writers dominated the possibilities for avant-garde publishing of literature in English as editors of journals and, to a lesser extent, presses. This phenomenon was widely remarked at the time in England and the U.S. and has been much studied recently. In 1925, a fellow editor, Alfred Kreymborg, speculates about when precisely "what is popularly called the renaissance of American poetry" began. Initially, he proposes 1912, "when The Poetry Magazine first appeared in Chicago." Referring later to Poetry and The Little Review, he asks: "Were women to play the role of pioneers formerly usurped by men?"[1] Other commentary was more acerbic. For example, Ezra Pound refers to Harriet Monroe in his letters as a "bloody fool" in need of his guidance. "H. Monroe," he writes, "seems to think that if her Chicago widows and spinsters will only shell out she can turn her gang of free-versers into geniuses all of a onceness." [2] Similarly, Pound comments that Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson, in printing part of Ulysses in The Little Review, are "editrices" who "have merely messed and muddled." Even Marianne Moore who is otherwise praised in his correspondence, "has the brains to edit" but "all sewed up in a bag"–a remark Pound does not explain.[3] This letter was written in 1931 to Harriet Monroe on the subject of who should take over editing Poetry Magazine after her retirement.

Here are the basic facts outlining the broadest perimeters of this phenomenon. In 1911, Harriet Monroe founded Poetry, which she edited from that time until her death in 1936. Poetry was co-edited for three and a half years by Alice Corbin Henderson, although out of gratitude Monroe kept Henderson on the masthead for seven years after tuberculosis prevented her from further work for the journal. In 1914, Margaret Anderson founded The Little Review in Chicago, but soon moved the journal to New York where she co-edited it with Jane Heap. Also in New York, Lola Ridge was the American editor of Broom from 1922-1923, and Marianne Moore edited The Dial from 1925 to 1929, beginning extensive editorial assistance, when Alyse Gregory was managing editor. In England, Dora Marsden founded and edited The New Freewoman in 1911, which was renamed The Egoist in 1913, when Harriet Shaw Weaver took over the editing and Ezra Pound assumed direction of literary editing for the journal. During this time, H.D. served as literary editor for a year. African American women poets also held positions of importance in literary journals: Jesse Fausset was literary editor of The Crisis from 1919 to 1926 and Gwendolyn Bennett was assistant editor of Opportunity from the mid-twenties until 1931.

Women founded and ran presses and bookstores as well as journals, although for financial–and perhaps other–reasons, many did so abroad rather than at home. For example, Harriet Weaver founded the Egoist Press; Virginia Woolf (with her husband) the Hogarth Press; Bryher, the heiress of one of England’s largest fortunes, helped fund several avant-garde presses and publications, including the Contact Press which published Moore’s first collection of poems. In Paris, Caresse and Harry Crosby founded and ran the Black Sun Press and Nancy Cunard the Hours Press; Sylvia Beach founded and ran the influential bookstore "Shakespeare & Co." (1914-1941), which also engaged in some publishing, and Barbara Harrison founded and ran the bookstore "Harrison of Paris." Between them, these women were responsible for publishing Joyce’s Portrait of an Artist and Ulysses, and first books by Moore, Williams, Hemingway, and Beckett, as well as later works by Stein, Joyce, Lawrence, Eliot, and of course, each other.

Women were also involved in cooperative or collaborative editing with men, although here it is far less clear how much influence the women had. Lola Ridge, for example, worked with Kreymborg on Others between 1915 and 1919, taking on assistant editorial responsibilities especially after 1917. Bryher provided the money, and she and H.D. provided the impetus for Contact Press’s publication of Moore’s Poems, although the Contact Press was formally run by Bryher’s husband, Robert McAlmon, and was associated with his and Williams’ journal, Contact. To our knowledge, no research has been done on either H.D.’s or Bryher’s influence on other publications of the press or in the journal. Similarly, Bryher founded the film journal, Close-Up, with Kenneth Macpherson and managed its editorial office (1927-1933), but it has only lately become clear through unpublished correspondence that her position involved significant editorial decision-making (Marek 118). In 1925, Ethel Moorhead financed and helped set up This Quarter with Ernest Walsh, who was then also assisted by Kay Boyle for two issues. In 1926, Gwendolyn Bennett, Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Huges, and others founded the avant-garde magazine, Fire, which published only one issue. Because many of these women including masthead editors like Moore downplayed their own influence and direction, encouraged their male collaborators or employees to take credit for joint work, or didn’t protest when joint work was interpreted as "his" (with her "help"), it is still difficult to sort out precisely what roles various women played in the collaborative editing of this period. As perhaps requires reiteration, men also founded and edited important journals during this period–most notably Kreymborg’s Others, McAlmon and Williams’ Contact, Ford and Pound’s The Transatlantic Review (also financed in part by Stella Bowen and John Quinn), and Eliot’s The Criterion. Arguably, however, these journals did not have the cumulative pioneering effect of Poetry, The Little Review, and The Dial. It is not necessarily that women edited more experimentalist journals but that those they did edit were so influential and successful.

In both the U.S. and England, the women involved in editing encountered many obstacles, not the least of which was jockeying by men to take over the direction of their journals through heavy-handed advising (not through taking on the editorial labor themselves). [4] It was finally, however, the depression of the early 1930s that marked the end of this extraordinary phenomenon and of the proliferation of experimentally oriented "little magazines" generally. [5] Nothing like this early twentieth-century dominance of women in avant-garde editing has occurred since, although there are noteworthy similarities now at the end of the century.

While these modernist women were unusually talented and self-assured, historical conditions help explain the rise of this phenomenon. First, these women were following a well-established pattern. In the U.S., women had been prominently involved in editing and publishing since the mid-nineteenth century. The most popular magazine in the U.S. for decades was edited by Sarah Josepha Hale, who began editing her own journal, the Ladies Magazine in 1828, which she merged with Godey’s Ladies Book in 1837 and then edited for forty years. On the more intellectual front, Margaret Fuller was the first and primary editor of the Dial from 1840-1842 (it folded in 1844). Elizabeth Peabody published The Dial from 1841-1843, and in 1849 founded and edited the Aesthetic Papers.[6] Josephine St. Pierre Ruffin founded, published, and edited the first newspaper for African American women, the Woman’s Era in Boston from 1890-1897, and Ida B. Wells was an extremely influential journalist, who published and edited four newspapers between 1891 and 1913.[7] Thus, the women editing journals dedicated to avant-garde literature in the teens and twenties had rich precedents for their activity.

Second, by the turn of the century, American and British women had legal rights to own property, control their wages, and conduct their own businesses. This was key to their success in the marketplace. In comparison, in Germany, where women did not enjoy similar rights, no woman founded or edited a single literary journal (experimental or not) during this period. The number of heiresses supporting the arts through direct funding to artists and support to publishing ventures may also have had a direct impact on women’s roles in this field. Female writer-editors received financial contributions from, among others, Bryher, Peggy Guggenheim, Charlotte Mason, and Harriet Moody, and individual editors received aid from several others–for example, Monroe from Edith Rockefeller McCormick and Bertha Palmer.[8] While poet-editors like Monroe also received substantial donations from men, others like Moore received financial assistance only from women.

Third, in the U.S., the increased access of higher education to women in the late nineteenth century–primarily through women’s colleges–gave rise to a powerful class of women who were encouraged to discard nineteenth-century expectations about women’s abilities and place, and to think of themselves as intellectually and professionally equal to men. As Carol Smith-Rosenberg has documented, these graduates were extraordinarily successful in entering and creating various fields of professional employment, maintaining strong networks to help each other, and in fundamentally altering traditionally gendered modes of life. Of those completing a college degree near the turn of the century from a women’s college, relatively few married (in comparison with the population of the U.S. generally), almost all achieved financial independence, and many entered fields of employment where they could direct, counsel, or teach younger women to follow similarly professional paths. In Britain, academically oriented women’s high schools as well as women’s colleges have served a similar purpose.

Although not all the women editing avant-garde journals completed college degrees, many spent some time there or in private girls schools, and–like college graduates–most were self-supporting and either did not marry or had unconventional marriages; many organized their lives around relationships with women–some lesbian, some familial or professional.[9] Networks of women were formed in other venues, too. For example, in Chicago, Monroe was part of a powerful network of professional or monied women, including among her friends and supporters (as well as McCormick and Palmer) Jane Addams, Florence Kelly, Margaret Sullivan (literary editor of the Chicago Herald), Ellen Peattie (literary editor of the Chicago Tribune), and Helen Starrett and Antoinette von Wakeman, who founded and edited their own "weekly news/literary journals." [10] While many of these women did not practice or hold principles that would today be called feminist they were strongly conscious that, as Moore put it, "men have power/and sometimes one is made to feel it"("Marriage"), and they were determined to succeed.

Looking at the twentieth century, one is struck by how much the social conditions of women have changed. Remarkably, however, these privileged women at the turn of the century had a confidence in their abilities comparable to those of women today.

Probably the biggest difference between the 1920s and 1990s in the publishing of innovative poetry is that there is so much more of it now than there was then. We have the modernists partly to thank for this, since one of their strongest legacies in the U.S. has been the development of poetic trends and communities via small press ventures, especially little magazines. This legacy was crucial to the mid-century development of the "New American" poetries. In recent years, the easy availability of Xerox and the advent of desktop and electronic publishing have supported a further explosion in alternative publishing venues. No longer dependent so exclusively on journals for early publications, avant-garde writers have had access to numbers of book presses unimaginable to the modernists. The 1998-99 edition of Dustbooks International Directory of Little Magazines & Small Presses proudly announces listing "Over 6,000 Markets for Writers!" The same company’s Directory of Poetry Publishers proclaims "Over Two Thousand Poetry Markets!" Many of the presses or magazines catalogued in these sources have arisen out of particular communities and respond to the tastes or needs of distinct audiences. The vast small press/small magazine literary scene in the 1990s, then, is thoroughly decentralized and often balkanized, though individual writers may straddle several writing communities and publish in journals directed at different readerships. In contrast, reflecting the changed class structure of American society, external funding possibilities are at once more centralized (in government and a few large granting agencies) and more elusive than in the twenties, with fewer wealthy patrons now willing to support experimental publishing.

Even the listings in such massive references as the Dustbooks Directory of Little Magazines and Small Presses prove far from comprehensive when it comes to avant-garde publishing. O Books doesn’t appear in the Dustbooks Directory; nor does Tuumba, Tender Buttons, Roof, Littoral, Chain, Idiom, Clamour, Chax, o-blek, Leave books, or Sun & Moon. Yet Talisman, Potes & Poets Press, Kelsey Street, Sulfur, Post-Apollo Press, and Burning Deck all do appear in that same directory. Inclusion apparently reflects the preferences of the small press or magazine editors, since the annual directory contains a prominent invitation to contact Dustbooks in order to list a magazine or press in future editions. Inclusion and exclusion seem more chancy in compilations like Spencer Selby’s lengthy listing for the Buffalo Website of current "Experimental Poetry/Art Magazines." Given the vast number of current publishing projects and the limitations of existing reference materials pertaining to them, it is difficult to get an accurate overview of what is happening in alternative poetry publishing.

Despite that, from our perspective as academics we will hazard some generalizations about gender and avant-garde publishing today. To begin with the obvious: women are now tremendously important to avant-garde publishing, as would be apparent merely from a list of the publications directed by women speaking at this conference. Those female-led presses that have existed long enough to have put out a relatively large number of books–O Books or Tuumba, say–have played particularly prominent roles in shaping the current scene.

Yet women do not dominate in avant-garde publishing as they did in the modernist period. Women appear far less frequently than men as editors in Selby’s list of experimental literary magazines. And the book presses that now handle the largest volume of experimentalist titles in poetry–including Sun & Moon, Potes & Poets, Talisman–are run by men, or, as with Burning Deck, by women and men jointly. Perhaps women’s less exclusive leadership as publishers in the ‘90s is a consequence partly of their more equal participation and recognition as innovative poets, although the number of editors in the ‘20s who were also writers (whether or not we now think of them in those terms) mitigates against easy generalizations.

More certainly, the level of women’s involvement in experimentalist publishing in the ‘90s has been affected by the nature of recent feminist movements in the U.S. The one area of poetry publishing where women clearly dominate involves the kind of poetry widely recognized as feminist and/or as lesbian because of its "content"–its personal and accessible voice-based testimony about individual women’s lives. To recast this point slightly: many of the women who are involved in American small press literary publishing today devote themselves to projects that aspire to be socially revolutionary, often around gender issues, but without necessary links to formal or linguistic innovation.

It’s not surprising, then, that women’s contributions to experimental poetry publication today are not well recognized in current scholarly narratives. Because American academic feminism has generally allied itself with an identity politics focus, and because the greatest impetus for reading, teaching, and publishing works by women has come from feminist scholars, the view from academe tends to obscure women’s publishing that does not fit this mold. Thus, Kim Whitehead’s scholarly study, The Feminist Poetry Movement (published in 1996), assumes that there is only one feminist poetry movement, best represented by Minnie Bruce Pratt, June Jordan, Judy Grahn, Gloria Anzaldua, Irena Klepfisz, and Joy Harjo. In her brief survey of feminist press production Whitehead does mention one Kelsey Street title (Nellie Wong’s Dreams in Harrison Railroad Park), but she seems generally unaware of publishing ventures that exhibit versions of feminism concerned with the gendered implications of literary conventions and linguistic structures themselves. There’s no evidence that Whitehead even knows of the existence of as important a feminist publication as HOW(ever). Similarly, Cynthia G. Franklin’s 1997 study, Writing Women’s Communities: The Politics and Poetics of Contemporary Multi-Genre Anthologies, typifies academic feminist writing in focussing on identity politics as constitutive of women’s communities in literature.[11] While Franklin foregrounds the politics of her choices, she does not acknowledge that such a focus elides meaningful coalitions that develop around aesthetics, perhaps coupled with particular social concerns. Ironically, then and this is only to update a story that Kathleen Fraser told years ago in her essay, "The Tradition of Marginality"–the rise of certain kinds of feminist publishing has tended to further marginalize experimentalist feminist production in the academic world as in the publishing one.[12] It has contributed especially to the invisibility of the women of color whose experimentalist work resists fulfilling conventional expectations for work that "represents"–in the sense both of representational aesthetics and of demographic representativeness–cultural diversity. [13]

To the extent that men are more visibly powerful forces in avant-garde poetry publishing of the 1990s than women, scholarly narration of recent literary history could easily obscure or even overlook women’s nurturing of current experimentalism, especially women’s importance to the earliest stages of particular poets’ careers. Indeed, as experimentalist work is more institutionalized within academe, the nature and importance of the small press network involving men as well as women may be increasingly overlooked. Consider, for example, the career of Susan Howe, one of the best known female experimentalist writers of our day whose work is being studied with increasing frequency in college and university classes. Someone coming to Susan Howe’s work for the first time today encounters her as a poet published by New Directions, Wesleyan University Press, and by Sun & Moon in its "Classics" series–the most established of the presses open to experimentalist work. Now that New Directions has published Frame Structures: Early Poems, 1974-1979, scholars need not cite the small presses that first produced those early works or learn who their editors were. Especially because successful mainstream poets usually place their first books with a recognized university or trade press, or perhaps with one of the well known smaller presses such as Gray Wolf, Ecco, or Copper Canyon, academic readers (usually familiar with mainstream career patterns) are not likely to attribute much importance to the early small press publications. Such oversights are potentially distorting not only of literary history but of the work itself: in Howe’s case, for instance, the early printings of "The Liberties" or "The Articulation of Sound Forms in Time" are truer to her vision for those poems on the page than the versions available now from more established presses.

Having talked with Susan Howe recently about her early publication history, we’d like to summarize her story because it provides useful object lessons for us.[14] Howe’s first publisher was Maureen Owen, whom she met through a workshop at St. Marks, and whose Telephone Books printed Hinge Picture in 1974, helping Susan gain confidence as she moved from painting to poetry. Telephone Books also published Secret History of the Dividing Line in 1978. "I wonder if my work would have been published at all if it weren’t for Maureen," Susan remarked. Other women who stuck their necks out to publish her as an unknown writer include Lyn Hejinian, whose Tuumba press published The Western Borders in 1976, Lita Hornick of Kulchur Foundation who published Defenestration of Prague in 1983 with assistance from Susan Bee, and Brita Bergland whose Awede Press published Articulation of Sound Forms in Time in 1989, before it was collected (in significantly modified form) in Wesleyan’s Singularities. Susan found in these women not only the willingness to labor on behalf of an unknown writer, but also important sensitivity to her needs for page space and blank space. Yet she was also quick to note that men, too, took chances on her early work. She expressed gratitude especially to Eliot Weinberger, who published Pythagorean Silence in 1982, and who "backed and encouraged [her] every step of the way with My Emily Dickinson," which Richard Grossinger published in 1985. Nor did she regard sensitivity to space needs as a gender-linked gift: Gale Nelson, for instance, did a beautiful job with the Paradigm Books printing of the unusual textual arrangements of A Bibliography of the King’s Book.

The interweaving of women and men and of chance in avant-garde publishing is epitomized in Susan Howe’s tale of a publication that proved crucial to her reputation: the first version of The Liberties, which she herself produced in tandem with Maureen Owen under the ad hoc imprint of Loon Press. Howe and Owen mimeographed copies of this poem on the St. Mark’s mimeo machine and sent them to people they thought might be interested, among them John Taggart. Taggart left his copy out for Robert Duncan to see when Duncan came to visit. Duncan read the poem, loved it, and started writing to everyone about it. His generous recommendation significantly enlarged the audience for Howe’s work, especially in California. He also arranged for her to give three lectures on Emily Dickinson at New College, encouraging her to share and pursue her thinking about Dickinson.

Howe’s complicated story of gender and publishing reminds us that the nurturing of much recent experimentalist writing has depended on page fathers as well as page mothers. (We could note, for instance, that other female experimentalists, such as Beverly Dahlen, also benefited from Duncan’s generosity in advancing their careers.) In recent decades, as at the beginning of the century, women and men have in various ways collaborated to foster experimentalist work.

At the same time, Howe’s history speaks to the crucial role women have frequently played in giving a start to today’s experimentalist writers, as was so often the case in the ‘20s–a role that may easily be obscured with the writers’ canonization and with their moves to more established presses. We noted earlier that it has taken several decades of both feminist scholarship and study of modernism to uncover women’s importance to publishing at the beginning of the century. It would be a terrible waste if the contributions of today’s female editors were similarly buried. It has been our hope in this presentation that recalling the publishing history of our modernist predecessors may help clarify what is and isn’t distinctive about the gender dynamics of recent patterns of networking, influence, responsibility, and collaboration in avant-garde publishing. Moreover, looking back at the history of modernist poetry and its scholarship reminds us that those of us working as scholars of the contemporary period need to record the complicated networks of recent publishing, being especially vigilant to see that the women whose courage and vision often led to experimentalists’ early publications get the credit due them.



Much of the information of this essay derives from the work of other scholars over the past fifteen years, foremost among them Jayne E. Marek’s Women Editing Modernism: "Little Magazines & Literary History (UP of Kentucky, 1995), and the collection edited by Susan Albertine, A Living of Words: American Women in Print Culture (U of Tennessee, 1995). Also helpful have been William Drake’s The First Wave: Women Poets in America 1915-1945, The Loves, Friendships, and Politics that Sparked a Revolution in Women’s Creativity (Macmillan, 1987), and Gillian Hanscombe and Virginia L. Smyers’ Writing for Their Lives: The Modernist Women 1910-1940 (Northeastern UP, 1987). On Dora Marsden, see "Dora Marsden’s ‘The New Freewoman’ and the Gender Politics of Early Modernism" by Carol Barash in Princeton University Library Chronicle 49(Autumn 197): 31-56.

1 Alfred Kreymborg, Troubadour: An Autobiography (New York: Liveright, 1925) 197, 198.

2 Ezra Pound, Letters of Ezra Pound, 1907-1941, ed. D.D. Paige (Harcourt Brace, 1950) 26, 109. See also pages 124, 138, 157 for similar comments.

3 Ibid. 238.

4 For example, see pages 173-74 of Holly Baggett’s "The Trials of Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap" in Albertine at 169-88. Baggett also argues that the obscenity trial of Anderson and Heap for publishing part of Ulysses was "very much about the attempt to silence the ‘New Women’ of the twenties."(169)

5 See Maureen Honey’s introduction to her edition of Shadowed Dreams: Women’s Poetry of the Harlem Renaissance (Rutgers UP, 1989) on African American women’s writing and editing activities during this period. She notes that after 1931 many of these women stopped writing poetry altogether, when the network of support they had developed for each other during the 1920 began to unravel due to national economic pressures. Honey also notes that poetry was the preferred form of literary expression for women of the Harlem Renaissance and that there were obstacles within the black community preventing these women from gaining the attention and publication they desired.

6 See Bruce A. Ronda, "Print and Pedagogy: The Career of Elizabeth Peabody" in Albertine at 35-48, particularly at 47. The Aesthetic Papers survived only one issue. Generally on publications of this period, see Patricia Okker’s Our Sister Editors: Sarah J. Hale and the Tradition of Nineteenth-Century American Women Editors (University of Georgia Press, 1995).

7 See Barabara Diggs-Brown’s "Ida B. Wells-Barnett: About the Business of Agitation" in Albertine at 132-50.

8 More generally on the subject of modernism and patronage, Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar write:

Perhaps there has been no circle of writers since the sixteenth century which was more dependent on private patronage, and, like such sixteenth-century figures as Sidney and Spenser, many prominent modernists were subsidized by a series of wealthy women or publicized by a set of powerful women. Among others, Yeats was financially dependent on Lady Gregory; Lawrence was sponsored by Lady Ottoline Morrell and Mabel Dodge Luhan; Joyce was generously helped not only by Lady Gregory but also by Harriet Weaver and Sylvia Beach; Eliot was aided by May Sinclair, Virginia Woolf, and Lady Rothermere. In addition, all these men were in some sense at the mercy of entrepreneurial female editors like Harriet Monroe, Jane Heap, Margaret Anderson, Dora Marsden, and Marianne Moore. Finally, the careers of these writers were significantly furthered by female mentors like Amy Lowell, Gertrude Stein, Natalie Barney, Peggy Guggenheim, and Bryher, as were the careers of Hemingway, Dos Passos, and Sherwood Anderson.

See No Man’s Land: The Place of the Woman Writer in the Twentieth Century. Vol. I (Yale UP, 1987) at 147. Missing from this account is Charlotte Mason’s important patronage of Alain Locke and Langston Hughes, as well as Zora Neale Hurston.

9 Those who attended college or university for at least a period include Moore, H.D., Woolf, Weaver (London School of Sociology and Social Economics); Monroe spent her years from 17-19 at a D.C. convent school, where she was first encouraged to write poetry and plays; and Bryher and Dorothy Richardson attended boarding school for girls. Loy studied art professionally in Munich and London. Gwendolyn Bennett attended Columbia University and graduated from the Pratt Institute; Jessie Fauset was denied admission to Bryn Mawr (Moore and H.D.’s college) because of her race and so attended Cornell; Georgia Douglass Johnson attended Atlantic University and the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.

10 See Ann Massa, "Form Follows Function: The Construction of Harriet Monroe and Poetry, A Magazine of Verses" in Albertine, 115-131, especially 126-27.

11 Franklin accurately notes, however, that the anthologies she discusses, such as Home Girls, Nice Jewish Girls, Sowing Ti Leaves, and This Bridge Called My Back, "work to overturn white middle-class models of feminism of the 1970s and early 1980s. In fact, the anthologies position themselves directly against white middle-class models of community based on women’s sameness"(11).

12 Kathleen Fraser, "The Tradition of Marginality," River City 13(Spring 1993) A Special Issue: Where We Stand: Women Poets on Literary Tradition: 52-65. It was first delivered as a talk at The Poetry Project in June of 1985 and was published in Frontiers in 1989.

13 Of course, the widespread lack of awareness that people of color produce experimentalist work has many sources. In Chapter 6 of The Dialect of Modernism: Race, Language, and Twentieth-Century Literature Michael North identifies some historical roots of this situation as he examines a moment in the 1920s when the white Americanist avant-garde almost embraced but failed to embrace a truly multicultural modernism allied with key impulses in the Harlem Renaissance. Aldon Nielsen, whose Black Chant: Languages of African American Postmodernism calls needed attention to the rich variety of innovative African American work produced in recent decades, points to the failures of critics of white poetry to consider black writers "while compiling their genealogies of aesthetic evolution"(13) and to the problematic privileging of orality over the written in the study of African American writing. Current little magazines like Renee Gladman’s Clamour, which seeks experimentalist writing especially from lesbians of color, work to increase the visibility and the quantity of such work.

14 Quotations that follow in this paragraph are from Susan Howe’s telephone conversation with Lynn Keller.


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BIO: Lynn Keller is Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she is currently a senior fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities. She and Cristanne Miller have collaborated on several earlier essays and co-edited Feminist Measures: Soundings in Poetry and Theory (U of Michigan Press, 1994). Keller is the author of Re-making It New: Contemporary American Poetry and the Modernist Tradition (Cambridge UP, 1987) and of Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women (U of Chicago, 1997). She is currently writing a book on recent experimentalist poetry by women in the U.S.

BIO: Cristanne Miller is William Keck Distinguished Service Professor and Professor of English at Pomona College. Her publications include Emily Dickinson: A Poet's Grammar (1987) and Marianne Moore: Questions ofAuthority (1995), and she co-edited Moore's Selected Letters with Bonnie Costello and Celeste Goodridge (1998). Miller is currently working on a project comparing the leadership roles of modernist women poets in the interarts avant-garde movements of various countries during the first decades of this century.


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