Born in Iowa, Douglas Messerli is currently Assistant Professor of English at Temple University in Philadelphia. He has written extensively on modern poetry and fiction, and is the author of Djuna Barnes: A Bibliography and editor of Barnes' Smoke and Other Early Stories. His poetry has been published in many magazines including Doc (k) s, Roof, Shuttle, Washington Review, Interstate, The World, The Difficulties, Credences, The Bad Henry Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry in Motion, Gargoyle, and many others. His poetry has been collected in River to Rivet: A Poetic Trilogy which includes his two earlier volumes Dinner on the Lawn and Some Distance. Douglas lives in College Park, Maryland (he taught for a while at the University of Maryland) and co-publishes Sun & Moon Press books with Howard N. Fox. They ran Sun & Moon: A Journal of Literature and Art from 1976 to 1982. Douglas also guided Là-bas through twelve issues between 1976 and 1978. This past summer he edited the special "Manifestos" issue of the Washington Review and Contemporary American Fiction. He is currently completing a novel, Letters from Hanusse, and is working on Several Revolutions, a political opera.
That decision certainly has had its advantages. I think over the years we have served as a kind of forum, as a connecting link, of sorts, between younger writers and artists and those who have established careers. And that has meant that even a beginning writer whose work appeared in the pages of Sun & Moon has had a broad base of readers. If individuals and libraries bought the magazine in order to read the works of writers such as Paul Bowles or Walter Abish or a critic such as Charles Altieri, they also had set before them new poems by Charles Bernstein or Bruce Andrews or -- to use examples of poets first published in our pages -- Jim Wine or Rafael Lorenzo. Its handsome, almost "academic" format also meant that Sun & Moon could generally count on NEA and CCLM grants.
Interviewers: Where on earth do you find the time or energy to commute, teach, edit, publish, and write poetry, fiction, and critical essays?