The individuals involved in the making of a writer cannot always be clearly discerned. In the case of novelist, short story writer, and poet George Garrett, however, they stand out as clearly as the Elizabethan England he restored to life in his novels Death of the Fox and The Succession—his family, his father, and two coaches, one in track and football, the other in boxing, and each having only one eye. “My Two One-Eyed Coaches” was written in a somewhat longer version for a book called An Apple for My Teacher, which Algonquin Books will be publishing this year. Mr. Garrett is currently on leave from the University of Virginia, where he is the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing. The prolific Mr. Garrett has published six novels, a collection of short novels, five collections of stories, seven books of poems, and a respectable body of critical work, including a recent biography of James Jones. His most recent novel, Poison Pen, is an acidly satirical examination of the American literary scene, which has provoked both howls and hurrahs from authors and critics.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the death of one of the 20th century’s most remarkable women, namely, Eleanor Roosevelt, who died in 1962. While there is no question about the strength of Mrs. Roosevelt’s character, it was a character marked by contradictions. As historian Hugh Davis Graham notes in his perceptive essay, Mrs. Roosevelt was “a crusading idealist yet also a shrewd political pragmatist, an aristocrat with leftist persuasions, an aggressive liberal reformer who symbolized the liberated woman, yet who opposed the Equal Rights Amendment. She was inherently shy, yet she constantly pressed herself upon the public consciousness with her ubiquitous speeches, press conferences and publications.” A former Marine officer and newspaper reporter, as well as a Peace Corps training officer, Mr. Graham took a B.A. degree in history from Yale in 1958 and later received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the same subject from Stanford University in 1961 and 1964 respectively. His numerous books include Desegregation (1972), Southern Politics and the Second Reconstruction (1975), and Southern Elections (1978), a work he coedited with Numan Bartley. Mr. Graham’s latest book is The Uncertain Triumph; Federal Education Policy in the Kennedy and Johnson Years, published by North Carolina in 1984.
A native of Mississippi, Steve Yarborough is on the English faculty at Virginia Polytechnic and State University. He has published fiction in The Southern Review, but is making his first appearance in VQR. His story, “The Formula,” is based upon his own experiences in Poland, where he met his wife Ewa, a native of Warsaw.
As the acclaim for Oliver Stone’s movie, Platoon attests, Vietnam and the war Americans fought there continue to have a hold on the hearts and minds of this nation’s citizens. The war has also resulted in a steady flow of literature. Yet, while much has been written about the fiction produced by Vietnam veterans, little has been said about their poetry, the subject of W.D. Ehrhart’s essay. Himself a veteran of Nam, where he served as a sergeant in the Marine corps, Mr. Ehrhart is a poet as well, and three of his poems are also being published in this issue of VQR. He contributed poems to Winning Hearts and Minds and co-edited Demilitarized Zones. Most of his own Vietnam-related poems can be found in his most recent collections, To Those Who Have Gone Home Tired: New & Selected Poems (Thunder’s Mouth, 1984) and The Outer Banks & Other Poems (Adastra, 1984). Poems by most of the authors discussed in his essay can be found in his anthology, Carrying the Darkness: American Indochina, The Poetry of the Vietnam War (Avon, 1985).
Perhaps the most prolific writer in America today, Joyce Carol Oates is probably best known as a novelist and short story writer. Yet she is also a distinguished critic and poet. Ms. Oates’s most recent novel is Marya: A Life, published by Dutton last year. Dutton is also publishing her next collection of short stories, Raven’s Wing, as well as her next collection of poems, The House of Mystery, due out later this year.
Karin Ash is a registered nurse currently in a burn center operating room in Boston. She has published poems in Pequod and Seneca Review and has poems forthcoming in Tendril and New Letters.
Sharon Davie is a lecturer in the English department at the University of Virginia, where she has served as director of the Women’s Studies program. Her poems have appeared in Cumberland Poetry Review and elsewhere.
Keith Althaus has published previously in VQR and numerous other magazines. He lives with his wife and son in North Truro, Massachusetts.
Ellen Bryant Voigt teaches in the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College in North Carolina. Her last book of poems was The Forces of Plenty, published by Norton in 1983, and her VQR poems are taken from her new collection, The Lotus Flower, to be published this year by Norton.
Brad Conard is appearing in VQR for the first time. Mr. Conard attended Stanford University and studied in the graduate writing program at Columbia University. His fiction has appeared in The Yale Review and other literary magazines, and his first book, Gentlemen Alone, will be published later this year.
Russell Fraser learned the sport of “Wadi-Bashing” while traveling on a Fulbright fellowship in the Arab Emirates. A professor of English at the University of Michigan, Mr. Phaser is the author of The Three Romes— Rome, Constantinople, and Moscow—a book published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich in 1985. He is also the author of A Mingled Yarn: The Life of R.P. Blackmur, and The Dark Ages and the Age of Gold, a work nominated for a Pulitzer Prize in 1973.
A third short-story writer making his initial appearance in VQR is Walter Cummins, author of “Oxfords.” Mr. Cummins is hardly a novice writer, however; he has published more than 40 stories in approximately 30 magazines, ranging from The Kansas Quarterly to the South Carolina Review. He is also the author of two novels and two short story collections, the most recent being Where We Live, a 1983 publication of Lynx House Press.
A native North Carolinian, Robert Mason spent his career as a newspaperman, most notably at the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, where he was reporter, night city editor, associate editor, managing editor, and, for 17 years, editor, until his retirement in 1978. Mr. Mason is the author of One of the Neighbors’ Children, a memoir of the Depression era in North Carolina, which Algonquin Books is publishing this spring.
Stephen J. Whitfield was recently appointed to the Max Richter Chair in American Civilization at Brandeis University, where he previously served as a professor of American studies. He is the author of Voices of Jacob, Hands of Esau: Jews in American Life and Thought and A Critical American: The Politics of Dwight McDonald.
An authority on the 18th century, Douglas Lane Patey is the author of Probability and Literary Form: Philosophic Theory and Literary Practice in the Augustan Age, published by Cambridge in 1985. He received his Ph.D. in English and philosophy from the University of Virginia and is now an associate professor of English at Smith College.
A legal historian, Phillip L. Merkel received his law degree from the University of Illinois. He is working on a history of corporate law in the 19th century and is a member of the law faculty at Western State University in Fullerton, California.
Kenneth W. Thompson is Director of the White Burkett Miller Center of Public Affairs and White Burkett Miller Professor of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia. Mr. Thompson’s many books include Ethics, Functionalism, and Power in International Politics, Morality in Foreign Policy, and Masters of International Thought.
Woodford McClellan is a professor of history at the University of Virginia and author of a recent history of the Soviet Union, a textbook published last year by Prentice Hall. His Russian wife, Irena McClellan, was permitted to leave the Soviet Union in early 1986, after being detained by Soviet authorities from joining her husband, whom she married in 1974, in the United States. The McClellans are now completing a book about their experiences with the KGB and other instruments of the Soviet system, which will be published by Norton.
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