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J. T. Keller


Allen Tate in VQR

November 29, 2009 | Profiles

Allen Tate

Allen Tate was heartened to see the inaugural issue of VQR. The Fugitive, the magazine he had helped found in Nashville in 1922, was struggling and would publish its final number in a matter of months. Tate was hopeful that VQR would succeed where others had failed. On June 26, 1925, he wrote editor James Southall Wilson:

I suppose you can’t precisely please everybody but the Virginia Quarterly Review is such a pleasant adventure after the many preliminary "little magazines" of the so called renascence in the South, that it certainly ought to engage the attention of all Southern writers, among whom I have the pleasure of numbering myself.

From 1925 to 1970, Tate submitted over twenty poems and a dozen essays to VQR. Over the course of this long relationship, the magazine published five of his poems (some of which number among his most discussed verse), five of his most famous and frequently quoted essays, and one book review. Tate’s personal correspondence with VQR’s editors through the years reveals a passionate and sometimes confrontational writer who wanted most of all to be recognized as a penman of the South.