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For specific kinds of Kansas literature, see:
Children and Young Adult

Crime and Outlaw


Farm Novels


Mystery and Detective



Race and Immigrant

Small Town Novels

Selected Works

Literary Magazines

      For a long time, Kansas Magazine was the voice of Kansas, publishing the work of Langston Hughes, Karl Menninger, Kenneth Wiggins Porter, William Allen White and all of the voices sounding off about Kansas, and voices from Kansas, during a crucial time when the state was finally finding a literary voice:  the magazine was that voice.  Published annually, and featuring art along with poetry, fiction and essay, Kansas Magazine still gives an open look at Kansas literary culture as it developed in the 20th century.  The magazine had several different publishers, from the state to Kansas State University, where it had its heyday from 1933-1965.
      Kansas Magazine was morphed into Kansas Quarterly, which became the finest literary magazine in Kansas under the auspices of the English Department at Kansas State University, as edited by W.R. Moses, Harold Schneider and Ben Nyberg.  Kansas Quarterly was once voted among the top ten of the non-paying literary magazines in the United States.   Kansas Quarterly ceased publication in 1993.
      The Harp, published in Larned in the mid to late 1920s, was edited by poet May Williams Ward with help from Nora B. Cunningham in 1927-1928.
      Cottonwood began in the early 1970s as the literary magazine of the Department of English at the University of Kansas.  Often edited by graduate and undergraduate students, among the first being Robert Day, and publishing regional work, it has also reached outside of Kansas and the Midwest to publish nationally known writers.  Early work by Denise Low, Harley Elliott, Thomas Fox Averill, Robert Day, and Steven Hind appears in the magazine.  At one time Cottonwood published book-length manuscripts, but no longer.
      Naked Man was a relatively short-lived magazine published by graduate student Michael Smetzer (b. 1950) when he was in the English Department at the University of Kansas.
      Another Lawrence magazine, Tellus, was edited by Stephen Bunch (b. 1949) between 1978 and 1988.
      Tansy started as a bookstore, and then became both magazine and press, run by John Moritz (1946-2007) of Lawrence.  Moritz, a poet in his own right, published the work of experimental poets like Ken Irby (b. 1936) originally from Fort Scott, but now on the University of Kansas faculty.  Irby practices projective verse, with “line” breaths and physical speech as form.  His To Max Douglas (1974), published by Tansy-Pegleg, is important in understanding Kansas and Lawrence as it lived through the 1960s.
      The Little Balkans Review was edited by poet and librarian Gene DeGruson (1932-1997), who built the special collections library at Pittsburg State University.  DeGruson’s own collection of poetry, Goat’s House (1986), is full of the lore of Southeast Kansas, which was the main focus of Little Balkans Review, extant from 1980 to around 1989, and published with the editorial help of Shelby Horn and the artistic help of Ted Watts.
      Ark River Review was the long-time literary magazine at Wichita State University.
      New Letters, at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, is a nationally recognized literary magazine that runs an annual award competition.  Regional writing has found a home there, and writers like Robert Day, Thomas Fox Averill, Jo McDougall, Nance Van Winckel (one-time resident of Assyria), and Albert Goldbarth can be found therein.
      Midwest Quarterly is housed at Pittsburg State University.  Although primarily a scholarly journal, the Quarterly runs a creative issue each summer.  Under the direction of Stephen Meats, the magazine has featured work by Kansans on regional subjects, in tribute to Kansas writers like William Stafford and Jonathan Holden, and has published some of the finest new work by emerging Kansas Writers.
       Coal City Review, first published in 1989, is edited by poet Brian Daldorph (b.1958), British-born, but now on the faculty of the University of Kansas.  The review also serves as a press.  See: Bird’s Horn (2007), by Kevin Rabas (b.1974 ), a collection of jazz-inspired poetry.
      Flint Hills Review, the yearly literary magazine published by Emporia State University, began in 1996.  The current editor is creative writing teacher Amy Sage Webb.
      Touchstone, published yearly at Kansas State University, is edited by graduate students in the English Department.