History & Mission

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In 1977, Donna Gerstenberger, the first Editor of The Seattle Review and then Chairperson of the English Department at the University of Washington, founded The Seattle Review as a gesture of faith: in writers, in readers, and in the role a “reasonable and productive” literary journal might play in bringing them together. She envisioned a national publication that would honor fiction and poetry equally.

Seattle, then as now, was a center of excellence in the literary arts. Gerstenberger turned to Charles Johnson as the first Fiction Editor and Nelson Bentley as the first Poetry Editor. William Matthews contributed the journal’s unassuming hyponym. Early issues of The Seattle Review published work by luminaries Denise Levertov, Tess Gallagher, William Stafford, and David Wagoner.

From 1995 to 2006, Colleen J. McElroy stewarded The Seattle Review, first as Poetry Editor, then as Editor-in-Chief, as The Seattle Review grew into a handsome, full-color, biannual journal with an international selection of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Some of the writers published during her stewardship of The Seattle Review were Sharon Olds, Diane Wakoski, Al Young, Carolyn Kizer, Marilyn Hacker, Yusef Komunyakaa, and Grace Paley.

In 2006, Andrew Feld assumed the role of Editor-in-Chief with the goal of increasing the journal’s national and international presence. With the Winter 2011 issue, he instituted the new “Long View” format, making The Seattle Review the only print journal wholly committed to the publication of longer works of poetry, novellas, and lyric essays. It is our belief that this new format offers a unique venue for the publication of significant and risk-taking works by both new and established writers.

Throughout our history and our growth, we have kept our faith in the common and uncommon word. We invite you to share that faith.