D. Blackford (right) will soon pass the editorship of VQR
to Theodore H. Genoways.
New VQR editor will seek next generation
By Matt Kelly
H. Genoways, the youngest editor to take over the 78-year-old
Virginia Quarterly Review,
wants to move the journal in a new direction.
want to appeal to a new generation, he said. VQRs
identity will be redefined under my editorship.
31, becomes the eighth editor of the magazine on July 1, following
Staige D. Blackford, who shepherded it for 28 years.
will be immediate changes, giving the journal a bit of a
face-lift, said Genoways, who wants to establish a new identity
and new look, including more contemporary art. Genoways also proposes
theme issues, with guest co-editors, and a VQR Web site. The changes
are aimed at attracting new writers and readers for the journal,
which was founded in 1925, and currently has 4,000 to 5,000 readers.
is familiar with U.Va., having earned a masters of fine
arts degree here in 1999. While here, he founded Meridian, another
take a great deal of pleasure and pride at the success Meridian
has had without me, he said. I think it has prospered
and thrived. I hope there is more than enough room for both of
search committee felt his vision would drive the magazine.
were impressed with the concreteness of his ideas to bring in
a new generation of readers, said Stephen B. Cushman, one
of VQRs board of advisory editors and a member of the search
committee that selected Genoways. He is fearless in going
after the big name. He is respectful and conscientious, and he
lands the big contributors.
cited a special issue on Latino writers Genoways edited for another
magazine as an example of his interest in promoting under-represented
VQRs broad appeal will help him, Genoways believes. Unlike
traditional literary magazines, the journal publishes history,
politics, art, music and science along with poetry, fiction and
creative nonfiction, giving him room to expand the bounds of literature.
literary magazines define what is literary a bit too narrowly,
he said. There are some people doing science writing that
I consider to be of literary quality, but they never appear in
voracious and eclectic reader, Genoways said editing gives him
a chance to see what writers are working on while they are completing
a book or when a poet is experimenting with something new.
most exciting and vital part of literary editing is to be right
there on the front lines. It is the most material to go through,
but it also is where writers are doing their most daring work
and you can discover new writers first.
wants poetry and fiction that is well-crafted but not reduced
to its craft. He looks for what interests him, that says
this is the right story for the magazine. He is looking for work
that has that indefinable quality that we find in great
literature, that strange or wonderful moment that appeals to us
or that we havent seen before.
journals Web site will be an extension, but not an expansion,
of the print edition. It will include more information about writers
in the magazine, links to their previous work in VQR and possible
links to other sites, to build a community of readers and writers.
He also wants to post content from at least the last 25 years
of VQR so the really rich history of VQR can be on full
display, he said.
said he is mindful of the journals storied past. I
have to look at it as a great asset. But the best journals continue
to change and respond to new generations of writers. The best
I can do is to make this the best VQR for my generation of writers
and for the generations that follow and hope people look back
and say it was worthy of previous generations.
in Texas, Genoways was raised in Pittsburgh, and moved to Nebraska
while in high school. He received his bachelor of arts degree
in English from Nebraska Wesleyan in 1994 and his masters
degree in English from Texas Tech University, 1996. He was attracted
to U.Va. by the strength of the poetry program, specifically Rita
Dove, Gregory S. Orr and Charles Wright. As a poet, Genoways said
poetry may have more of a presence in the magazine.
has been working on his Ph.D. at the University of Iowa. Genoways
was married to Mary Anne Andrei while a student at U.Va. They
are both glad to be back.
could not be happier, Genoways said. This is exactly
the job I always wanted, in exactly the place I had always hoped
to be able to do it.