2015 Archives

‘Southwest Review’ literary journal seeks endowment to secure future as it celebrates past

SMU’s nationally renowned literary journal is turning 100

Among the Famous

Among those who have written for Southwest Review are:

Famous authors list:

  • D.H. Lawrence
  • Robert Graves
  • Harriet Monroe
  • André Maurois
  • Julian Huxley
  • Robert Penn Warren
  • Anne Carson
  • James Merrill
  • Annie Dillard
  • Joyce Carol Oates
  • Allen Ginsberg
  • Robert Pinsky
  • J. Frank Dobie
  • Walter Prescott Webb
  • Roy Bedichek
  • John Graves
  • Jerry Bywaters
  • Larry McMurtry

Playwrights:

  • Arthur Miller
  • Tennessee Williams

Nobel Laureates:

  • Saul Bellow
  • Naguib Mahfouz
  • Nadine Gordimer
  • Orhan Pamuk

Other notables:

  • J. Edgar Hoover (on juvenile delinquency)
  • Stanley Marcus (“Are American Businessmen Moral Eunuchs?”)
  • Lady Bird Johnson (“On Preserving Wildness”)
  • Alan Lomax


September 17, 2015

By Kenny Ryan
SMU News

Dallas (SMU) – When the week of Sept. 25 rolls around, SMU won’t be the only Hilltop institution celebrating its centennial.

The Southwest Review, SMU’s nationally renowned literary journal, is turning 100, too, and launching a fundraiser to support its future.

“One-hundred years, for any magazine, is remarkable,” says Willard Spiegelman, editor-in-chief of the Southwest Review and SMU Hughes professor of English. “Over the years, there have been international authors, including some Nobel Prize winners. Larry McMurtry, before he became famous for Lonesome Dove, published his first work in SWR when he was just out of college. Lady Bird Johnson and J. Edgar Hoover have appeared in its pages.

“It would be sad, I think, if we didn’t have room for old-fashioned print culture in the 21st century,” says Spiegelman, who passionately rejects human expression as driven by 140-character messages and emoticons,

While the internet and declining print readership have been broadly labeled as primary culprits behind the decline of major commercial print publications, Spiegelman says the Southwest Review is feeling the bite of another sort of online globalization fallout – the fading influence of regional identity.

“Literary magazines typically represent the tastes of a region,” Spiegelman says. “LSU’s Southern Review represents the south, the Yale Review encapsulates the Northeast, but as the world becomes smaller, regions seem harder to define and hold onto.”

The Southwest Review has proved itself sturdy: It survived the Great Depression without missing an issue. The magazine has overcome its every challenge to become the third-oldest continually-printing literary review in the nation, but if it’s going to maintain that spot, its leaders know it needs to evolve.

Southwest Review

Responsible for that evolution will be SMU associate professor Greg Brownderville, heir-apparent to Spiegelman, who will face a set of challenges unlike any the journal has previously faced when he inherits the editorship in the fall of 2016.

“How does a literary journal remain relevant when folks are so inundated with media?” Brownderville asks. He suggests the answer might, in part, be digital.

“Sometimes, you can package an old thing in a new way and make it palatable without changing its nature,” Brownderville adds. “Good writing is good writing. You just want to get it to the reader.”

Securing the Southwest Review’s future means creating an endowment. With that in mind, Spiegelman’s former students and a veritable who’s who of famous writers who have contributed to the Review have been invited to a Sept. 25 reception celebrating the Southwest Review’s 100 years and Spiegelman’s 30-year stewardship of the publication.

The endowment’s goal, says Spiegelman, is $1 million.

“The Southwest Review has been a boon to international literary culture and certainly to SMU, Dallas and the Southwest,” Brownderville says. “The English Department does not want to let it slip away as so many other university literary journals have done.”

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SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls approximately 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.

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