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Kentucky Poetry Review records

Identifier: MSS-1803

Scope and Contents

This collection relates principally to volumes of Approaches and Kentucky Poetry Review edited by Wade Hall from 1973 through 1991, although from 1973 through 1975 the editorship was shared between Hall and Joy Bale Boone. Beginning in 1977 individual issues featured or commemorated specific poets, whose names are given with the volumes listed below. Correspondence and materials relating to the following issues are contained in this collection: Vol. 9, no. 3 (Summer-Fall 1973) Vol. 10, no. 1 (Winter 1973-74) Vol. 10, no. 2 (Spring 1974) Vol. 11, no. 1 (Winter 1974-75) Vol. 11 no. 2 (Spring 1975) Vol. 11, no. 3 (Summer-Fall 1975) Vol. 12, no. 1 (Winter 1975-76) Vol. 12, no. 2 (Spring-Summer 1976) Vol. 12, no. 3 (Fall 1976) Vol. 13, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 1977) Vol. 13, no. 2 (Summer 1977) Vol. 13, no. 3 (Fall 1977): Jesse Stuart Issue Vol. 14, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 1978): James Still Issue Vol. 14, no. 2 (Summer 1978): Ruth Stone Issue Vol. 14, no 3 (Fall 1978): David Madden Issue Vol. 15, no 2 (Fall 1979): John Jacob Niles Issue Vol. 16, no. 1 (Winter-Spring 1980): Sara Henderson Hay (Lopatnikoff) Issue Vol. 16, nos. 2-3 (Summer-Fall 1980): Robert Penn Warren-Cleanth Brooks Issue Vol. 17, no. 1 (Spring 1981): Hollis Summers Issue Vol. 18, no. 1 (Spring 1982): John Unterecker Issue Vol. 18, no 2/vol. 19, no. 1 (1982-83): Jim Wayne Miller Issue Vol. 19, no. 2 (Fall 1983): Logan English Memorial Issue Special Issue, January 1984: The Circling Thread: Poems by Susan Clay Sawitzky Vol. 20, no. 2 (Fall 1984): Twentieth Anniversary Issue Vol. 21, no. 1 (Spring-Summer 1985): Albert Stewart Issue Vol. 21, no. 2 (Fall 1985): Wendell Berry Issue Vol. 22, no. 1 (Spring 1986): Jane Stuart (Juergensmeyer) Issue Vol. 22, no. 2 (Fall 1986): Sarah Litsey Issue Vol. 23, no. 1 (Spring 1987): James Laughlin Issue Vol. 23, no. 2 (Fall 1987): Reynolds Price Issue Vol. 24, no. 1 (Spring 1988): May Sarton Issue Vol. 24, no. 2 (Fall 1988); Thomas Merton Memorial Issue Vol. 25, no. 1 (Spring 1989): Philip Appleman Issue Vol. 25, no. 2 (Fall 1989): Ray Bradbury Issue Vol. 26, no. 1 (Summer 1990): Heather Ross Miller Issue Vol. 26, no. 2 (Fall 1990): Fred Chappell Issue Vol. 27, no. 1 (Spring 1991): Dabney Stuart Issue Vol. 27, no. 2 (Fall 1991): James A. Autry Issue

These typically consist of poems and accompanying correspondence, and various mock-ups and page proofs of the issue. There are apparent gaps in the collection, specifically vol. 10, no.2, vol. 15, nos. 1 and 3, vol. 17, no. 2, and vol. 20, no. 1. In general, the correspondence relating to the later issues is more voluminous than that for earlier volumes, although there are exceptions. Much of the correspondence deals with relatively routine matters associated with editing and publication, but a large amount of it is of a more substantive nature. Hall received numerous lengthy letters on both artistic and personal subjects from, among others, Heather Ross Miller, Charles Semones, Albert Stewart, Dabney Stuart, and John Unterecker. The collection also contains letters from most of the authors who were subjects of commemorative volumes, including Ray Bradbury, James Laughlin, and Robert Penn Warren, the latter two of whom each wrote numerous letters to Hall. In addition, the collection contains small amounts of correspondence relative to business matters, unused and unsolicited poems, republication permission requests, and miscellaneous matters, a few papers relative to two late 1970s poetry contests and a 1986-87 Leadership Education Program, and a few published volumes of individuals’ works and other poetry journals.


  • 1973 - 1991


Biographical / Historical

Kentucky Poetry Review was founded in 1964 as Approaches by Kentucky poet Joy Bale Boone (1912-2002) and Lill Parrish, following their collaboration on the poetry anthology Contemporary Kentucky Poetry (1964), which Boone (then known by her first husband’s name, Bale) edited and Parrish designed. They were encouraged by the anthology’s reception, and “the expressed desire of…readers to continue to see the work of fellow Kentuckians” to establish a journal devoted entirely to poetry by that state’s residents.(Boone, “An Editor’s Memories of 20 Years,” Kentucky Poetry Review 20/2 [Fall 1984]) As Boone recollected in the twentieth anniversary volume, “[w]ith promise of thirty or so annual one dollar subscriptions for a modest publication, William Battrick and Robert A. Baker joined the editorial board, and Approaches-kpr has continued as a labor of love….”(Ibid.) As of 1964 Approaches was the sole publication in Kentucky devoted entirely to poetry and the only one to publish only Kentucky poets, the rationale being the perceived need “to encourage unknown Kentucky poets, to give them an outlet. Most of them were poets just to their families and closest friends and, with luck, their local librarians.”(Ibid) By the time Wade Hall (b. 1934) assumed chief editorial duties in 1975, Approaches was no longer Kentucky’s lone poetry journal, so beginning with the winter 1976 issue its policy was altered to include poems by non-Kentuckians, and the name changed to Kentucky Poetry Review. “[B]ecause of the vitality of poetry here [Kentucky] and elsewhere,” Hall explained in the Summer-Fall 1975 issue, “we feel that it is time to open the pages to poets outside the state. But let us quickly add this: Our base will remain Kentucky, and the bulk of the poetry we publish will be by Kentuckians.”(Hall, “Editor’s Notes,” Approaches 11/3 [Summer-Fall 1975]) This pledge was borne out during the following sixteen years of Hall’s editorship, and the names of Kentucky-born or -resident poets like Jonathan Aldrich (b. 1936), Joy Bale Boone, Gay Brewer (b. 1965), Lillie Chaffin (b. 1925), Billy C. Clark (b. 1925), Joseph Connelly, Sarah Litsey (1901-1996), Cora Lucas, Jim Wayne Miller (1936-1996), Charles Semones (b. 1937), Woodridge Spears (1913-1989), James Still (1906-2001), Jesse Stuart (1906-1984), Jane Stuart (Juergensmeyer) (b. 1942), Hollis Summers (b. 1912), and Allan Watson, continued regularly to grace its pages. Simultaneously, however, Kentucky Poetry Review became a publication vehicle for some of America’s most distinguished poets and authors, including Betty Adcock (b. 1938), Philip Appleman (b. 1936), Louis Daniel Brodsky (b. 1941), Michael Bugeja (b. 1952), Fred Chappell (b. 1936), Kelly Cherry (b. 1940), William Virgil Davis (b. 1940), Victor Depta (b. 1939), James Dickey (1923-1997), George Garrett (b. 1929), Donald Hall (b. 1928), Ann Jonas (b. 1919) James Laughlin (1914-1997), Barbara Kingsolver (b. 1955), David Madden (b. 1933), Heather Ross Miller (b. 1939), Roger Mitchell (b. 1935), Lenard Moore (b. 1958), Robert R. Morgan (b. 1944), Barbara Presnell (b. 1954), Leonard Slade, Jr. (b. 1942), Dabney Stuart (b. 1937), Daniel James Sundahl (b. 1947), Lewis Turco (b. 1934), John Unterecker (1922-1989), and Philip Lee Williams (b. 1950). Another change took place in 1977, when Kentucky Poetry Review initiated the policy of celebrating or memorializing individual poets or authors. Each such volume contains several poems by the featured author, along with contributions from others. The “Scope and Contents” section of this guide contains a complete list of these volumes and the individuals to whom each was dedicated. Among the most celebrated to be commemorated in this fashion by Kentucky Poetry Review were Wendell Berry (b. 1934), Ray Bradbury (b. 1920), Thomas Merton (1915-1968), John Jacob Niles (1892-1980), Reynolds Price (b. 1933), May Sarton (1912-1995), and Robert Penn Warren (1905-1989). In addition, in the spring of 1984 the Kentucky Poetry Review published a special issue devoted to the poetry of Susan Clay Sawitzky (1897-1981) and that fall produced a special twentieth anniversary issue. For the first two decades of its existence Approaches-Kentucky Poetry Review relied on subscriptions for its funding, supplemented by small grants, especially from the Kentucky Arts Commission. In 1984, however, Bellarmine College in Louisville became the journal’s institutional sponsor and publisher. In 1992, following chief editor Wade Hall’s retirement from Bellarmine, where he served as English professor, department chairman, and head of the Division of Humanities (1969-88), the journal ceased publication. In addition to Boone and Hall, Prentice Baker, Henry Tim Chambers, Jesse Franklin, Alice Scott, and Greg Swem all served on Kentucky Poetry Review’s editorial board, and “guest editors” occasionally oversaw the production of individual issues.


6.0 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



Papers and correspondence chiefly relative to the production of individual volumes of the Kentucky Poetry Review, 1973-1991, during the editorship of Wade Hall. The collection contains letters and poems by many very distinguished authors. It also contains a small amount of material relative to other undertakings by Hall.

Physical Location

These materials are stored at our off-site Archival Facility (AF) and may require up to two business days for retrieval and delivery for use in our Hoole Library reading room. Please email or call 205-348-0500 for more information.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Donated by Wade Hall


To provide faster access to our materials, this finding aid was published without formal and final review. Email us at if you find mistakes or have suggestions to make this finding aid more useful for your research

Processing Information

Processed by John Beeler, 2006



Guide to Kentucky Poetry Review Records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The University of Alabama Libraries Special Collections Repository

Box 870266
Tuscaloosa AL 35487-0266