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D.C. Magazines: A Literary Retrospective

Richard Peabody (ed.)
ISBN 0-9602424-5-7 (anthology) (1981)

The first work to collect poetry, prose, and graphics originally published in three major post-World War II DC magazines: Caresse Crosby's Portfolio (1945-48), William F. Claire's Voyages (1967-73), and Merrill Leffler and Neil Lehrman's Dryad (1967-78).

The contributors include major literary figures such as Anais Nin, Henry Miller, Charles Bukowski, Gwendolyn Brooks, Pablo Picasso, Robert Lax, Jorge Luis Borges, Thomas Merton, Pablo Neruda, Mark Van Doren, Theodore Roethke, Joyce Carol Oates, Josephine Miles, Wilfredo Lam, and many others. Also featured are interviews with the editors and an historical bibliography of Washington area literary magazines.

"I'm a DC native," Peabody said. "As a result of publishing my own magazine, Gargoyle, I wanted to learn more about Washington's literary traditions. This book is the culmination of three years of intensive research. I feel all the work in putting together this anthology was justified because it documents our city's recent literary history."

"The Washington literary scene has long been regarded as this city's bastard son. With the modus operandi here being the reading and writing of memoranda, precious little time gets spent in the pursuit of literature. However, literature has managed to survive over the years and enjoy periods of prosperity as it is doing these days. This is all the more delightful because as genuine interest in things literary has increased there has been a relative decrease in interest in the fabled Washington Novel.

"This literary renaissance has answered one nagging question. Do Washington writers and publications have to concern themselves primarily with government, power, and--God help us--intrigue in order to survive? Surely not. And the proof is in Richard Peabody's handsome retrospective of three of Washington's best literary magazines. Offering a fine overview of the local literary scene, D.C. Magazines: A Literary Retrospective is intended as the first of a multi-volume series dealing with this neglected topic. . . . He has done his native city a tremendous favor by culling material from the three magazines "that were the most international in scope and longest running of the lot—Portfolio, Voyages, and Dryad" and appended to it indices for each, a capsule biography of the contributors (ranging from Henry Miller to Joyce Carol Oates), as well as a compendium of DC papers and magazines dating back to 1784.

"The diversity of the short stories, poetry, essays, interviews, and art work will surprise the skeptic, and its high quality will make fools of those who still insist that Washington is a literary backwater."
—Howard Smead, Washington Book Review

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