|Rare Book & Manuscript Library|
At a Glance
Correspondence between Gerald Strauss (faculty advisor for Bloomsburg State College student literary magazine) and mid-century American poets, including Robert Bly, Patrick Bowles, John Ciardi, Henri Coulette, William Dickey, Donald Finkel, Thom Gunn, Donald Hall, Michael Hamburger, Robert Huff, Donald Justice, X. J. Kennedy, Philip Levine, Sean Lucy, Howard Moss, Howard Nemerov, David Ray, Alan Stephens, Charles Tomlinson, David Wagoner, Richard Wilbur.
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Identification of specific item; Date (if known); Gerald Strauss Olympian Literary Magazine Collection; Box and Folder; Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Columbia University Library.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Rare Book and Manuscript Library
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
Gerald H. Strauss joined the Bloomsburg State College (now Bloomsburg University) Department of English in 1961 as an assistant professor, he was its youngest member, which probably is why he was tapped within the year to be faculty advisor of the student literary magazine, Olympian. Strauss wasn't that much older than the students. It turned out to be a good match, a group of bright undergraduates (mainly English majors) and an advisor eager to make a good impression.
The Olympian was first published in 1962. The students told Strauss that they were having trouble evaluating poems that their peers were submitting for consideration. The students had read plenty of poetry in their courses, but it was older and different from what their peers were writing. Their solution to this problem was to check literary magazines and journals to identify poets who were gaining recognition. Strauss and the students agreed upon about twenty, all under forty, who were invited to contribute previously unpublished work to Olympian. The aim was to familiarize the staff and campus audience with current trends in poetry. Eventually ten young American poets appeared in the 1963 Olympian, alongside poetry by BSC undergraduates. It is noteworthy to mention—sixty years later—that Editor Kenneth Musselman's list of invitees did not include any women. With that caveat, the students had chosen well.
The 1964 Olympian cast a wider net, having five young British and Irish guest poets, who went on to have noteworthy careers.
Strauss turned over the the role of advisor to another junior colleague after three years.