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This article is taken from PN Review 12, Volume 6 Number 4, March - April 1980.

The Little Magazine Today Felix Stephanile

[This article originally appeared in TriQuarterly (Evanston, Illinois), in the context of a symposium on little magazines. We re-print it because it illuminates the American literary bureaucratic reality and may lead to some reflections on the English Arts Establishment.]

FOR MY own foray into the present discussion of the little magazine I shall not have much to say about my own poetry journal, Sparrow(now known, after twenty-four years, as Sparrow Poverty Pamphlets). The reader will find my modesty forward and articulate enough, however. At the not inconsiderable risk of expunging forever from the ranks of scholarly footnotes a fair history of the efforts of my wife and me to publish poetry in our country, I begin by stating I have always thought of Sparrow as a publication in the second rank of independent literary publishers. Except in the lives of a few stalwarts, like Cid Corman or Frederick Eckman, whose first books, in poetry and criticism respectively, we were lucky enough to publish, our activities over the years have been stolid, almost dogged, hardly ever "crucial." We have broken no new ground. We have had to earn our taste. Our poetic vision has always been more often of the hindsighted, not the farsighted, kind. History will reveal, for the past generation, that the real comers in the land have been picked up first by Origin, or the Hudson Review,or maybe City Lights or Jargon Books, or some publisher of similar excellence. Because of our merely reliable performance, ...

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