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Story Line Press records
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Immediate Source of Acquisition
  • Arrangement
  • Biographical / Historical
  • Preferred Citation
  • Scope and Contents
  • Conditions Governing Use

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: Department of Special Collections and University Archives
    Title: Story Line Press records
    Creator: Story Line Press
    source: Gioia, Dana
    Identifier/Call Number: M2553
    Physical Description: 28 Linear Feet 65 manuscript boxes
    Date (inclusive): 1984-2006
    Abstract: Correspondence, production files, and business records of Story Line Press, an outgrowth of the New Formalism movement in twentieth century American poetry.
    Physical Location: Special Collections and University Archives materials are stored offsite and must be paged 36 hours in advance.

    Conditions Governing Access

    Open for research. Note that material must be requested at least 36 hours in advance of intended use. Note that Box 59 is embargoed until 2075.

    Immediate Source of Acquisition

    This collection was given by Dana Gioia to Stanford University in November 2019.


    The collection is arranged into four series: 1. Correspondence and Proofs 2. Anthologies 3. Business Records 4. THE REAPER and Robert McDowell materials

    Biographical / Historical

    Story Line Press was founded in 1984 with funding from the Nicholas Roerich Museum. The Press grew out of The Reaper, a literary magazine founded in 1980 by Robert McDowell and Mark Jarman. Both The Reaper and Story Line Press were part of the New Narrative and New Formalism movements in American poetry. These movements went against the free verse poetics of the 1950s Beats poets and advocated for a return to meter and rhyme, as well as a recognition of the importance of narrative. Story Line Press' original editorial and creative team consisted of poets Robert McDowell and Mark Jarman, and visual artist Lysa McDowell. The Press was originally located in Santa Cruz, California, and followed the McDowells when they moved to Brownsville, Oregon, in 1989 and Ashland, Oregon, in 1998. In addition to publishing poetry, the Press published a number of translated works, short fiction pieces, and essays on literary criticism. Authors and frequent collaborators of the Press included Dana Gioia, Paul Lake, Annie Finch, Frederick Feirstein, and David Mason. As part of the New Narrative and New Formalism movements, Story Line Press released essays in anthologies highlighting work done in the movements, including Expansive Poetry: Essays on the New Narrative and the New Formalism (1989), Poetry After Modernism (1991), Rebel Angels: 25 Poets of the New Formalism (1996), and After New Formalism: Poets on Form, Narrative, and Tradition (1999). The Press also focused on writing about the rural experience, featuring writers living in rural parts of the United States and publishing anthologies like Cowboy Poetry Matters: From Abilene to the Mainstream (2000). Following years of struggles to find sufficient funding and failed efforts to have Story Line Press acquired by Willamette University or Southern Oregon University, Story Line ceased operation in the early 2000s.

    Preferred Citation

    [identification of item], Story Line Press records (M2553). Dept. of Special Collections and University Archives, Stanford Libraries, Stanford, Calif.

    Scope and Contents

    The collection consists of correspondence, production files, and business records of Story Line Press, a literary and poetry press that was part of the New Formalism and New Narrative movements during the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. The bulk of the collection is made up of author files containing correspondence between Robert McDowell, the press editor, and various authors; production files; and manuscript proofs of forthcoming publications. Files for poetry anthologies released by Story Line Press have similar contents, but for multiple contributing authors. The collection also includes the business records for Story Line Press, including Board minutes, correspondence, publishing agreements, and financial statements. Some materials from McDowell's involvement with The Reaper magazine are also included.

    Conditions Governing Use

    While Special Collections is the owner of the physical and digital items, permission to examine collection materials is not an authorization to publish. These materials are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. Any transmission or reproduction beyond that allowed by fair use requires permission from the owners of rights, heir(s) or assigns.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    American poetry -- 20th century.
    American poetry- -20th century- -History and criticism
    Narrative poetry, American
    New Formalism (American poetry)
    American poetry -- West (U.S.)
    Gioia, Dana
    McDowell, Robert
    McDowell, Lysa