Friday, May 22, 2009

San Diego's Very Own Little Magazine

Greetings, lovers of all things literary! I am Anne Bahde, Special Collections and University Archives Librarian over at the Library, and I'm honored to be guest-blogging here from time to time (thanks Bill!), and sharing some of the awesome primary sources in our collections with you.

First up: Troubadour: A Magazine of Verse, was published in San Diego between 1928 and 1932, and was one of hundreds of "little magazines" published all over the country in the early part of the twentieth century. The little magazine rose to popularity after Harriet Monroe began Poetry in Chicago in 1912, and this format became an essential tool for the dissemination of modernist works of literature and art during this time. Little magazines emphasized the experimental and the daring in poetry and art, and exposed little-known authors and ideas to new audiences. In many ways, the little magazine can almost be seen as a precursor to the modern zine, in that they were often produced by younger editors, generally had small print runs, and blended art with word in new and appealing ways.

Not many of the contributors’ names to Troubadour have withstood the test of time, though there are some surprises. Ansel Adams contributed three poems to the May 1929 issue featuring California poets, identifying himself there as a “photographer, poet, and mountaineer,” and Booth Tarkington guest-edited the issue devoted to Indiana poetry. Troubadour often features lovely Art Deco covers like these, though sadly the artist is not always noted within. Special Collections has most issues of Troubadour and is seeking more—stop by the Special Collections Reading Room to sample some of San Diego’s literary heritage!

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