River Styx (magazine)

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River Styx
Editor Richard Newman
Categories Literary magazine
Frequency Triannual
Year founded 1975
Company Big River Association
Country United States
Based in St. Louis, Missouri
Language English
Website www.riverstyx.org
ISSN 0149-8851

River Styx is a literary journal produced in St. Louis, Missouri[1] published three times a year by the Big River Association.


The magazine has won several Stanley Hanks Prizes, awards from the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines as well as grants and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Missouri Arts Council, Regional Arts Commission, Missouri Humanities Council, and Arts and Education Council. Its poems and stories have appeared in Best American Poetry and New Stories from the South anthologies, Best New Poets, and The Pushcart Prizes: Best of the Small Presses.


  • Editor: Richard Newman
  • Managing Editor: Tina Shen
  • Founding Editors: Michael Castro
  • Associate Editors: Joanne Lowery and Catherine Tufariello
  • Contributing Editors: James Arthur, Cheryl Bateman, Kathleen Beardsell, Derek Bremer, my Debrecht, Juliane Dharna, Julie Dill, Adrian Matejka, Sheila Misselhorn, Benjamin Moeller-Gaa, Kara Moyer, Alison Palmer, Chris Portell, Shannon Robinson, Steven D. Schroeder, and Tanya Yatzeck

Poetry readings[edit]

Readings continue to take place each month, at Tavern of Fine Arts on Belt Ave, St Louis, at 7.30pm on the 3rd Monday of the month.[2] Since 1998, River Styx has hosted the Hungry Young Poets series in the summer, featuring upcoming poets under the age of 33.

Origins and Early Years[edit]

River Styx was launched in St Louis, Missouri, U.S. in 1975 after earlier poetry readings and musical sessions among enthusiasts had begun in the late 1960s. Young poets read to each other at the apartment of Danny Spell poems of their own and poems by poets they liked. These sessions evolved into the River Styx Poets radio program on St. Louis's first listener sponsored station, KDNA. Regulars on the show included Michael and Jan Castro, Danny Spell, and Marvin Hohman. The radio program lasted from 1970-1973, when KDNA was sold. River Styx Magazine was founded in 1975 with Michael and Jan Castro the editors. The magazine's orientation, along with the reading series at Duff's, which began at the same time, and the River Styx PM series which began in 1981, was multi-cultural. It was among the first magazines and readings series' to go in this direction. Early contributors to the magazine included David Meltzer, Jerome Rothenberg, Maurice Kenny, Joy Harjo, Terri McMillan, Quincy Troupe and others. In the 1980s and 1990s Quincy Troupe joined the editing team. The magazine also featured interviews that have included Ntozake Shange, Gary Snyder, Robert Bly, John Barth, Tony Morrison, and Allen Ginsberg. In 1986 Jan Castro received the Editors Award for River Styx from CCLM (Coordinating Council for Literary Magazines, now CLMP).

River Styx magazine is produced by the literary organization, River Styx (originally Big River Association), incorporated as a not for profit organization in 1975, with Michael Castro as President. The organization also produces readings. The often electrifying readings at Duff's (directed by Michael Castro for over twenty years, with one yer stints by Peter Carlos, Ann Haubrich, Jan Rothschild and Jan Castro), and at the River Styx PM series (directed by Jan Castro at the Missouri Botanical Garden 1979-1986) were instrumental in making River Styx well known locally and nationally. These readings featured music (artists included gospel great Willie Mae Ford Smith in a reading paired with James Baldwin, the World Saxophone Quartet, and St. Louis Symphony players Catherine Lehr, Manuel Ramos, and Rich O'Donnell). St. Louis area writers were regularly featured, along with visiting writers who have included Derek Walcott, Adrienne Rich, Dennis Brutus, Toni Morrison, Carolyn Forche, W.S. Merwin, Breyten Breytenbach among others. Special Edition books by Arthur Brown and William Gass were produced in the 1980s.

In 1995 Richard Newman took over editorship of the magazine, and after Michael Castro left the organization in 2000, directorship of the River Styx at Duff's Poetry Series.

21st Century River Styx[edit]

The magazine prides itself on being one of the first journals to publish some of the most important writers of our time, from United States Poets Laureate (Charles Simic, Howard Nemerov, Mona Van Duyn, Rita Dove, Robert Hass and Ted Kooser), to Pulitzer Prize-Winners (Yusef Komunyakaa, Maxine Kumin, and Stephen Dunn) to Nobel Laureates (Derek Walcott and Czesław Miłosz).[3] Other contributors of note include Rodney Jones, Molly Peacock, Albert Goldbarth, Ntozake Shange, Margaret Atwood, Li-Young Lee, Alan Shapiro, Richard W. Burgin, A. E. Stallings, Jacob M. Appel, Mary Troy, James Valvis, Catherine Min, George Singleton, and Jane Ellen Ibur.

The magazine has always devoted several pages each issue to artists. Artists have included Michael Corr, Alejandro Romero, Lynda Frese, Emmet Gowan, John Slaughter, Patte Loper, Birney Imes, Virginia Beahan, Laura McPhee, Deborah Luster, Dana Moore, Benedict Fernandez, and Frank Shaw.

The magazine sponsors two contests each year for microfiction and poetry. Past judges for the International Poetry Contest have included Billy Collins, Philip Levine, Maxine Kumin, and Molly Peacock.

In Fall of 2012, the River Styx reading series moved its venue from Duff's (1975-2012)to The Tavern of Fine Arts. A Best of River Styx Special Edition of the magazine was published in 2000 to mark the organization's twenty-fifth anniversary. It included poetry, interviews, photographs from readings by River Styx archivist Paul Neuenkirk, and a record insert with highlights from Duff's and P.M. events.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Literary Journals". Missouri Center for the Book. Retrieved December 10, 2015. 
  2. ^ Riverfront Times, April 27, 2009
  3. ^ "Tale of Two Richards" St. Louis Post-Despatch October 9, 2005.

External links[edit]