J.D. McClatchy, long-time editor of The Yale Review, to retire

J.D. McClatchy, editor of The Yale Review since 1991, is stepping down at the end of June. McClatchy, who took over the journal after Yale had considered closing it following a run of 170 years, expanded its literary content, revamped its finances, and was instrumental in raising a permanent endowment that continues to support its work today.

“It has been the honor of my lifetime to have served as editor of the oldest and most distinguished literary journal in this country,” said McClatchy. “In an age of sidebars and short takes, The Yale Review has provided long, thoughtful pieces on crucial issues of the day, as well as a vibrant array of prize-winning literary work. I am glad to know it is now in good hands, and that its future is assured.”

McClatchy, a renowned poet and critic, has published eight books of poetry, including “Hazmat,” which was a 2003 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, three books of criticism, and 18 edited volumes. He has also written 16 opera libretti — for William Schumann’s “A Question of Taste,” Francis Thorne’s “Maria and the Magician,” Ned Rorem’s “Our Town,” Lowell Liebermann’s “Miss Lonelyhearts,” and Elliot Goldenthal, and Julie Taymor’s “Grendel,” among others. His most recent libretto was an adaptation of Stephen King’s “Dolores Claiborne,” which was commissioned and produced by the San Francisco Opera in 2013.

McClatchy has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1991, he received an Arts and Letters Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. In 1999, he was elected to the academy’s board and served as its president from 2009 to 2011.

“For more than a quarter century J.D. McClatchy has been editing The Yale Review, bringing substantive articles and work of literary distinction to the wider public from a university where fine writing and the literary arts always have mattered,” noted Peter Salovey, president of Yale. “Yale is deeply grateful to him for the high distinction of the journal over so many years and looks forward to ensuring its continuity in a new age.”

The Yale Review traces its history back to 1819, when a group of Yale faculty members started a quarterly journal then known as The Christian Spectator. It was later renamed The New Englanderand its contents were broadened to matters beyond theology. In 1892, the magazine changed its name again, and this time the new editor — Henry Walcott Farnam, professor of economics at Yale — changed its focus more decisively. He called it The Yale Review, and devoted its pages to the discussion of national and international politics, economics, and history. The modern history of the journal began in 1911 under the editorship of Wilbur Cross, a faculty member in Yale’s Department of English. Since then the Review has published the work of Thomas Mann, Henry Adams, Virginia Woolf, George Santayana, Robert Frost, José Ortega y Gasset, Eugene O’Neill, Leon Trotsky, H.G. Wells, Thomas Wolfe, John Maynard Keynes, H.L. Mencken, A.E. Housman, Ford Madox Ford, Wallace Stevens, W.H. Auden, Robert Lowell, Robert Penn Warren, Katherine Anne Porter, Erik Erikson, William Maxwell, Randall Jarrell, John Hersey, John Berryman, John Cheever, Eudora Welty, Elizabeth Hardwick, Walter Lippmann, Archibald MacLeish, Stephen Vincent Benet, Bayard Rustin, Gregory Bateson, Noel Annan, Julian Barnes, Hortense Calisher, Seamus Heaney, Edmund S. Morgan, Stanley Cavell, R.W.B. Lewis, Joyce Carol Oates, Edward Gorey, Helen Vendler, Stephen Jay Gould, Robert Fitzgerald, John Hollander, Amy Clampitt, James Merrill, John Ashbery, and Adrienne Rich, among others.

Harold Augenbraum, former executive director of the National Book Foundation and recent Franke Visiting Fellow at Yale, will take over as acting editor of the Review. The university will conduct a national search for a permanent editor, led by literary scholar and Dean of the Humanities Amy Hungerford.

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Bess Connolly Martell: elizabeth.connollymartell@yale.edu, 203-432-1324