George Hitchcock – Kayak 1964-1984

1960s: Days of Rage

“Poet and editor George Hitchcock, who died August 27th in Eugene, Oregon at age 96, always seemed larger than life. As an editor of the literary magazine Kayak, and the poetry press of the same name, George Hitchcock changed American poetry. From 1964-1984, he edited and published sixty-four issues of Kayak. The magazine’s contributors included Anne Sexton, W. S. Merwin, Philip Levine, Nancy Willard, Louis Simpson, Robert Bly, Kathleen Fraser, Diane Wakoski, Margaret Atwood, and Michael McClure, among luminous others. For much of its life, Kayak was the magazine that poets wanted to be in. Produced at the beginning of an era in which small presses flourished, Kayak visually reflected the freewheeling spirit of its time with whimsical or surreal graphic accompaniment. Hitchcock invited open debate and controversy in the magazine and succeeded in creating what felt like a poetry salon…

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