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Two Lost Works By Robert Frost To Be Published In Meridian, U.Va. Literary Magazine

March 4, 1999 -- It's been some time since one could pick up a magazine and read a poem by Robert Frost. That will change this month when Meridian, the semi-annual literary journal affiliated with the University of Virginia's MFA program in Creative Writing, publishes two uncollected Frost works as the spring installment of its Lost Classics Series.

"Imagine crawling on your belly through a tunnel deep in the Egyptian desert, only to stumble into a burial chamber stacked high with a Pharaoh's final treasures," says Rita Dove, U.Va. English professor, former U.S. Poet Laureate and Meridian contributing editor. "That's how exciting the discovery of two new Frost poems is to the literary world."

In reality these pieces by one of America's greatest poets could not have been found in a more mundane way. Meridian editor Ted Genoways, a second-year MFA student at U.Va., uncovered them in the University of Virginia library. "We routinely go through Special Collections looking for unusual pieces, but I never expected anything of this caliber from the Frost collection," he said.

The first piece, "The Lure of the West," is an early, uncollected poem only previously available in a letter published in a memoir in 1963. The second piece, "The Road that Lost its Reason," is an uncompleted poem that has never been published before, and it is this item that has generated considerable advance interest.

Current U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky says, "It is thrilling to discover these tantalizing if fragmentary additions to the canon of a great American poet. 'The Road that Lost its Reason' is a significant treasure, a half-finished canvas from the master's hand."

Both manuscripts are handwritten and are catalogued for scholars in the University's renowned Clifton Waller Barrett rare American literature collection. "The Road that Lost its Reason" is heavily lined out and rewritten and unfortunately is missing a chunk of the third stanza due to a tear. Genoways said he believes Frost himself may have torn out the stanza.

"Lure of the West" is handwritten but clearly recopied, because it is flawless. Both are undated, but "Lure" is thought to be from about 1912 and "The Road" from around 1923.

When Genoways launched Meridian in March 1998, he envisioned the Lost Classics Series as a forum for bringing unpublished or out-of-print works by literary giants into the limelight. Earlier issues have included the correspondence of Jack London, and four short stories by and a lost interview with Zora Neale Hurston. The Fall 1999 issue is scheduled to feature a handful of unseen song lyrics by Woody Guthrie.

"Meridian's Lost Classic Series establishes the magazine's uniqueness among literary journals of its caliber," says Gregory Orr, U.Va. English professor and poetry consultant to the Virginia Quarterly Review. "Best of the new, treasures of old -- it lends the pages a depth beyond their years."

In only its first year, work from Meridian has been reprinted in Harper's and will appear in Best American Poetry 1999. Contributors have included Pulitzer Prize winners Charles Wright, Rita Dove, Charles Simic, and Yusef Komunyakaa, plus such esteemed authors as Russell Banks, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Russo, John Casey, and Alberto Rios.

Meridian is published each March and October and distributed nationwide. The Spring 1999 issue, with the Frost poems, will be published and available in bookstores by the end of March and will feature work by Richard Bausch, Ann Beattie, Heather McHugh, Reynolds Price, Charles Simic, Charles Wright and a slate of emerging women writers.

For further information contact Meridian at the Dept. of English, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA 22903.

Contact: Bob Brickhouse, (804) 924-6856.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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