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American Literary Studies

The Reaper, 1979-1989

The Collection

Location: Department of Special Collections, Green Library

Size: 4.5 linear feet

Call number: M0512

Finding Guides: A printed version is available in the reading room of the Department of Special Collections. An electronic version of the finding guide is available here.

Research Access and Use: Materials in the Department of Special Collections are non-circulating and must be used in the Special Collections' Reading Room in the Cecil H. Green Library. The Reading Room is open 10:00am to 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Photocopies, photographs, and microfilm can be made of some materials in the collections. For more information about the collections and access policies, please contact Special Collections by telephone at (650) 725-1022, by electronic mail at or by regular mail at the Department of Special Collections, Stanford University Libraries, Stanford, California 94305-6004.

History: The Reaper, a small poetry and fiction magazine founded by Robert McDowell and Mark Jarman, was an important voice in the movement in American poetry known as the New Narrative or the New Formalism, which began in the late seventies. The movement attacked the free verse poetics of autobiographical experiences that the Beats had espoused in the 1950's . The New Formalists argued for a return to meter and rhyme, recognition of the importance of narrative, and the inclusion of public as well as private experience. From Issue #1, published in 1980, to Issue #19/20, the final issue, to be published in 1990 , The Reaper was strongly committed to narrative poetry and published many of the authors working in this new form including Dana Gioia, Rita Dove, Frederick Morgan, Liam Rector, Chris Semansky, Chase TWichell, and Rusty White. In addition, The Reaper published Jarman and McDowell's reviews and critidal essays on modern poetry that prompted reviewers to call it "feisty and iconoclastic."

Content: The records of The Reaper, dating from 1979 to 1989 , are arranged in three series : correspondence, issue files, and business files. They document the editorial process of the journal, its production, financial management, and other miscellaneous business aspects, as well as the literary interests and opinions of its editors and contributing authors.



Last modified: June 1, 2009

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