1954 – The Sunflower Literary Review

by Lee Streiff

Background

The Wichita group had never totally given up the idea of putting out a literary magazine after the failure of the effort to publish Provincial Review, and the opportunity came the second semester of the 1953-54 school year to try again — although not in the way we had originally intended. It came about as a result of the fact that Dave Haselwood’s brother-in-law became editor of The Sunflower, the University newspaper. Dave convinced him to put a separate four-page literary section into the newspaper on an irregular basis. This “magazine” section was half the size of The Sunflower’s pages and on smoother paper, and was inserted in the newspaper at the fold. A trial run in the form of a “Holiday” issue of the magazine was published at Christmas with a story by Haselwood: “A Wreath for Christmas”. On March 11, the first issue real issue of The Sunflower Literary Review appeared.

We did not hold our breaths waiting for critical acclaim — but neither did we expect the profound rejection that we got from the majority of the student body. After a while we noted that people, upon picking up their copies of The Sunflower, which were placed in small bins scattered about at various places in campus buildings, would shake their newspapers and let the literary magazine fall out, and then go on their ways.

On the other hand, we were not completely satisfied with the magazine ourselves, either. In nearly every way The Sunflower Literary Review was a compromise. It was not “ours” alone to do with as we pleased. The Sunflower staff looked upon it as a “journalistic” enterprise — meaning that all space was to be filled and every student who wanted to publish could have his or her work included, if space was available (and critical standards went out the window). The staff also felt that there should be book reviews — and so on. Worst of all, stories and articles were occasionally “edited” both for length, and even content — according to journalistic and University “standards”.

As Editors and Assistant Editors our group’s job consisted mainly of rounding up work to print from the members of our group, and we had almost nothing to say about anything else — although we were relatively successful in getting the Sunflower staff to minimize the use of filler squibs, or at least use quotations from writers or philosophers.

Even so, we felt that it was still better than nothing.

The first two issues were primarily works by our group. By the third issue, “outsiders” had begun submit their work directly to The Sunflower staff, and inferior work began to creep into the pages. By the fourth issue, faculty members began to contribute (at our suggestion — we wanted to shore up support for the magazine among the faculty). Eventually, faculty members Geraldine Hammond, Joan O’Bryant, Jo Rogers, Helen Throckmorton, Robert Duncan, and Bill Nelson had all contributed.

An unexpected benefit of The Sunflower Literary Review was that some of the newcomers who were attracted by the magazine became regular members of our group, having found like-minded people among us. Altogether then, we began once again to dominate the pages of the magazine.

We used the magazine during the year and a half that we had it to publish not only our creative efforts, but to put forward our esthetic and political agendas as well. In the sample included in these archives, it might be noted that Bobby Burns’ book review was used to tackle the most sensitive issue of the times in 1954: McCarthyism. And the sexual texture of David Wright’s two poems (with their setting at Wilson’s sandpit) were about the limit one could go in a college literary magazine of the period.

Many in the group graduated or left for other places at the end of the 1954-55 school year, including Glenn Todd, Dave Haselwood, and myself, and so far as I am aware, only one issue was published the following year. That issue, however, introduced Alan Russo, and the beginning of the second Beat scene.

Bibliography

1953

Sunflower Holiday Magazine published December, with a story by Haselwood.

1954

Sunflower Literary Review # 1 (March 11):
Editor: Dave Haselwood. Assistant Editors: Lee Streiff, and Shirley Kearns, representing the Sunflower staff.

  • Short stories:

“A Night in New York” by Dave Haselwood;
“In Payment of a Rose” by Lee Streiff;
“The Long Summer” by Sue Austin; and
“Universal Property” by Barbara McCaig.

  • Poetry:

“Four Poems” by David Wright.

  • Book reviews:

one by Streiff and one by Haselwood.

Sunflower Literary Review. # 2 (April 1):

  • Short stories:

“Spring Morning” by “Evangeline”;
“Two Short Sketches” by Sue Austin; and
“An Excerpt from a Work in Progress” by James Taylor.

  • Poetry:

“Trio” by Glenn Todd.

  • Book reviews:

one by Bobbie Burns and one by Frances Frazier.

Sunflower Literary Review # 3 (April 29):

  • Short stories:

“The Reward of H. McNair” by Lowell Wilkinson; and
“The Time for Glory” by Haven Moore.

  • Article:

“The Dramatic Incident” by Lee Streiff.

  • Poetry:

“A Poem” by Janet Stavely;
“A Poem” by David Wright; and
“To C—” by Dave Haselwood.

  • Book reviews:

one by Lee Streiff, and one by Dave Haselwood.

Sunflower Literary Review # 4 (November 4)
Editor: Bobbie Burns. Assistant Editor: Frances Frazier.

  • Short stories:

“A Ladle, A Cradle…” by Lee Streiff; and
“The Window” by Jim Lyle.

  • Article:

“Modern Art and Mr. Mits*” by Carolyn Mitchell.

  • Poetry:

“Two Poems” by David Wright; and
“Four Poems” by Geraldine Hammond.

  • Book reviews:

one by Bobbie Burns and one by Frances Frazier.

Sunflower Literary Review # 5 (December 2)

  • Short stories:

“Chosen Profession” by Ben Harlow;
“The Vieux Carré…” by Ben Harlow;
“What” by Jack Love; and
“Top Soil” by Dolores Martin.

  • Poetry:

“Three Poems” by Helen Throckmorton; and
“Two Poems” by Carolyn Mitchell.

  • Book reviews:

one by Frances Frazier and one by William Tarrant.

1955

Sunflower Literary Review # 6 (January 13)

  • Short stories:

“A Cat, a Dove, and a Dead Pine Tree” by Sue Austin; and
“The Tap Dancer” by Joan O’Bryant.

  • Poetry:

“A Poem” by Jack Love;
“A Year” by Carolyn Mitchell; and
“Change of Pace” by Tony Langan.

Sunflower Literary Review # 7 (April 5)

  • Short stories:

“The Swimming Pool” by Carolyn Mitchell;
“Leave ‘em Laughing” by Robert Coughlin; and
“File Closed” by Ben Harlow.

  • Poetry:

“Demi-Heron” by Lee Streiff; and
“Two Poems” by William Nelson.

  • Book reviews:

one by Bobbie Burns, one by Frances Frazier.

Sunflower Literary Review # 8 (May 13)

  • Short stories:

”The Gray Shrubs” by Ben Harlow;
“Two Short Stories” by Gere Buhler; and
“Aunt Minnie’s Bones” by Jo Ann Rogers.

  • Poetry:

“He Died With His Boots Off” by Robert Duncan; and
“Adam” and “Three Poems” by Glenn Todd.

  • Book reviews:

one by Frances Frazier.

Sunflower Literary Review # 1 (new numbering) (December 16)
Editor: Dean Roush. Assistant Editors: Ben Harlow and Ted Giltner.

  • Short stories:

“A Christmas Story” by Randy Robin (pseudonym of a faculty member); and
“Demetrius” by Ted Giltner.

  • Article:

“Stream of Consciousness” by D. L. Shaffer.

  • Poetry:

“Futility” by Earl Jackson;
“Pervigilium Veneris” translated by Alan Russo; and
“Sweeney Among the Literati” by Robert Duncan.

  • Book reviews:

one by Frances Frazier.

 

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