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Talk to Me: The Yale Review Celebrates 100 Years

Friday, March 11, 2011

On Saturday, May 26, "The Writers Studio Reading Series" celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Yale Review, with authors who have some connection to the quarterly. The lineup of authors, including Louise Glück, Caryl Phillips, Edmund White and Michael Cunningham, read from their works at Le Poisson Rouge. All of the readers—with the exception of Edmund White, who has been published in the journal—teach at Yale.

The writers were introduced by J.D. McClatchy, the current editor of the Review, who discussed the journal's impressive and colorful history as well as the difficulty small magazines face in the Internet age.

“The literary quarterly is a threatened species,” he observed.

However, if the packed room was any indication of the future of the Yale Review, McClatchy has nothing to fear.

J.D. McClatchy, editor of the Yale Review, on the written word online versus in print: "I think that if writers had the choice between elegant paper and a beautifully printed piece or [being published] online and having thousands of more readers, I suppose they would answer that they want both."

McClatchy on Robert Frost: "Robert Frost was a long-time contributor to the Yale Review and once wrote to the editor complaining about the $10 fee that he was paid for one extraordinary poem after another. 'Could he get more money?' The editor wrote back and said, 'No, this is going rate.' And Frost wrote back and said, 'Well, I regret your decision, but I’d rather be published in the Yale Review and make less money then be published elsewhere and make more.'”

Caryl Phillips, Yale professor and author of "In the Falling Snow," on the pleasures of writing fiction: "One of the nice things about being a writer of fiction is that one is able to hide. Hiding one's personal life, hiding the tracks and the footprints that have led you to where you are now always seems to be one of the few pleasures of writing fiction. You can disappear, be offstage."

Edmund White, Princeton professor and author of "City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and '70s" on reaching out: "My new best friend is John Irving and he just sent me his book and it’s all about being gay—and mine has all these daring straight scenes. Well, at a certain age, I guess you have to start reaching out."

Produced by:

Miranda Shafer

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Talk to Me brings you downloadable readings and conversations with writers, artists, and scholars – from author Joshua Ferris to choreographer Mark Morris to poet Sharon Olds – recorded at cultural institutions in New York City and beyond. Stream, download, or subscribe to the full-length podcasts here.

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