first issue of Hanging Loose magazine was published in 1966. The
name was inspired by the format -- mimeographed loose pages in
a cover envelope -- and that, in turn, was inspired by a very
low budget. But the format was also meant to get across a point
of view: that poetry is for now, not for the Ages. If you liked
a poem, you could pin it to the wall. If you didnt like
a poem, you could use it as a napkin.
The first issue of HL
contained work by Denise Levertov, John Gill, Jack Anderson,
Victor Contoski and other poets who would remain close to
the magazine. The editors were in agreement that they were
not interested in begging poems from famous writers but that
they wanted to stress work by new writers and by older writers
whose work deserved a larger audience. In 1968, the magazine
introduced a feature which has become celebrated over the years,
a regular section devoted to writing by talented high school
writers. This section introduced work by such young writers as Joanna Fuhrman, Donovan Hohn, Meghan O'Rourke and Rebecca Wolff,and has produced four highly praised anthologies of student work: Smart Like Me, Bullseye, Shooting the Rat and When We Were Countries.
Effective with the 25th
issue, to the relief of many libraries and bookstores, the editors
decided the loose-page format had served its purpose and revamped
the format of the publication. The number of pages began to grow
and the magazine was bound. The new format was friendlier to fiction
and each issue began featuring portfolios of work by a single
artist or photographer.
The editors are proud of having published many first books, including the first full collections by Sherman Alexie, Kimiko Hahn, D. Nurkse, Jack AgŁeros, Cathy Park Hong, Eula Biss, Joanna Fuhrman, Hayan Charara, Maggie Nelson, Indran Amirthanayagam, R. Zamora Linmark, and Beth Bosworth, among others. Some of the other writers published by HL are Harvey Shapiro, Elizabeth Swados, Joan Larkin, Gary Lenhart, Jack Anderson, Maureen Owen, Donna Brook, Ha Jin, Charles North, Paul Violi, Tony Towle, William Corbett, Ed Friedman, and Jayne Cortez.
Hanging Loose has been
grateful for support by many contributors over the years, chief
among them the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York
State Council for the Arts, and the Fund for Poetry.
HL books have won such honors as the Theodore Roethke Memorial
Prize, The Poetry Society of Americas Norma Farber
First Book Award and the Paterson Poetry Prize.
Hanging loose has published some 220 books and 105 issues -- well over 10,000 pages of poetry, prose, and art -- of Hanging Loose magazine