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Lola Ridge's Pivotal Editorial Role at Broom

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020

Extract

Many scholars know lola ridge (1873–1941) as a passionate, irish-born american poet and activist whose poetry was of-ten tied to American subjects, employed various traditional and avant-garde styles, invited a diverse readership, and “expressed a fiery awareness of social injustice” (Kay Boyle [McAlmon 15]). Her time as magazine editor, however, continues to be overlooked. In 1912 Ridge founded the Ferrer Association's journal Modern School and edited its first issue (Avrich 166). The periodical started as a radical, politically based newsletter for parents but soon became less political, publishing artistic and literary work by students of the association's school. Between late 1918 and early 1919, Ridge oversaw, along with several other associate editors, three issues of the avant-garde poetry journal Others. Ridge also organized the Others Lecture Bureau, which toured parts of the Midwest and hosted several literary parties for magazine contributors and supporters (Churchill 58). Ridge's leading editorial role occurred from February 1922 to April 1923, when she served as the American literary editor of Broom: An International Magazine of the Arts. Broom was an elaborate magazine praised by many, including William Carlos Williams, who exclaimed, “What a magazine that was! Too expensive for its time but superb to hold in the hand and to read” (187). Although publications that discuss Broom largely marginalize Ridge, the correspondence between her and Broom‘s expatriate editor and publisher, Harold Loeb, in files in Princeton's Department of Rare Books and Special Collections labeled “Broom Correspondence of Harold Loeb, 1920–1956,” shows that from the New York office Ridge orchestrated the magazine's recovery, making it one of the most widely circulated privately owned literary magazines of its time. She also created the magazine's standout “all-American” issue, which pushed against European influences and presented modernism as an American project in its own right. Ridge's pivotal role at Broom is noteworthy because the disagreements she had with Loeb highlight prescribed roles female editors encountered, polarize the modernist debates on both sides of the Atlantic, show her confronting one of modernism's well-known artists, and demonstrate how the fallout over the American issue irrevocably affected Broom‘s future.

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Little-Known Documents
Copyright
Copyright © 2012 by The Modern Language Association of America

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References

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