The University Record, March 4, 2002

MQR’s Goldstein reaches quarter century

By NoŽl Rozny

Goldstein in his office (Photo courtesy of Michigan Quarterly Review)
When Larry Goldstein first became editor-in-chief of the Michigan Quarterly Review (MQR), he expected to be in the position for seven years. This year, however, marks his 25th anniversary with the award-winning journal, which under his tenure has become nationally recognized for its mix of literature, culture and ideas. To celebrate this milestone, a one-day conference, “Making a Place for Literature: Literary Publishing and Communities of Print,” will be held 8:30 a.m.–6 p.m. March 15 in the Vandenburg Room at the Michigan League. In honoring Goldstein’s achievements, the conference will examine the way literary journals and editors like Goldstein affect the world of literary and cultural production.

The conference begins at 9 a.m. with a welcome from Charles Baxter, adjunct professor of English. Throughout the day, panels will discuss a variety of themes, such as “Communities of Print,” “The Art of Literary Publishing” and “Speaking to the Readers.” An evening event, “In Situ: Reading in Place,” will allow conference participants to read a selection of poetry, fiction or prose that they feel shows the importance of the venue in which it was first published.

The theme of the conference, “Making a Place for Literature,” reflects the work that Goldstein has done during his term at MQR. When he first became editor, he worked to return to the original format established by former editor Sheridan Baker in 1962. Baker, Goldstein says, “established it [MQR] as an interdisciplinary forum reflective of the diversity of fields at the University.” Successor Radcliffe Squires, however, decided to redesign MQR as a pure literary journal. When Goldstein became editor in 1977, he reinstated Baker’s vision. Today, the MQR continues to publish essays, interviews, memoirs, fiction, poetry and book reviews from a number of different fields, ranging from history, psychology, political science to anthropology and education.

Goldstein has made many other innovations over the years as well. He began by increasing the number of pages from 128 to 160, which he says was to “accommodate the first-rate material coming into the office.” He added photographs, drawings and lithographs, and began running an annual special issue. These issues, which began with “The Moon Landing and its Aftermath,” are centered around a particular theme or topic selected by Goldstein. In the past, he has collaborated with faculty experts to run theme issues on “The Automobile and American Culture,” “Detroit: an American City” and “The Female Body.” He currently is working on the theme issue “Jewish in America” with guest editors Sarah Blair, associate professor of English, and Jonathan Freedman, professor of English and of American culture.

As Goldstein plans for the future of MQR, he understands the important role of technology and the Internet. “Making the best use of computer technology will be a significant topic in our office from here on out, in order to fulfill our mission of bringing the best that is being thought and said into the world,” he explains. He already has collaborated with the Scholarly Publishing Office of the University Library to develop a Web site with archives of the past 40 years of MQR. Goldstein says, however, “I am committed to ‘staying in print’—the title of my panel talk—and publishing a print version of the journal with all the innovations I can imagine in the near future.”

For more information on the conference “Making a Place for Literature,” call (734) 763-4139, visit the Web at www.umich.edu/~mqr/images/conference.pdf or send e-mail, mqr25@umich.edu. For more information on MQR, visit the Web at www.umich.edu/~mqr. To view the MQR archives, which are now available online, visit the Web at www.hti.umich.edu/m/mqr.