A brief history

Thank you to all of the Wormwood contributors who took the time to submit a written piece for this section. Brief pieces and blurbs appear on this page. Longer pieces are shown as links. Everything in this section is © by the respective authors and is not to be reprinted without permission.

Quietly and without weeping or ranting or bitching or quitting or pausing, or without braggadocio letters (as most do) about being arrested for driving drunk on a bicycle in Pacific Palisades ... Malone has simply gone on and on and compiled an exact and lively talent, issue after issue.

Upon the Mathematics of the Breath and the Way, Small Press Review, Vol.4 No.4, 1973

-Charles Bukowski

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I first met Marvin Malone in 1970. I'd driven to Stockton on other business and decided to look Marvin up at UOP. He'd published a number of my poems in the yellow pages of Wormwood Review #33, while he and Wormie were still located in Storrs, CT., and I wanted to thank him.

I went to the Science wing and asked the secretary if Marvin Malone was around. She said -- you mean Dr. Malone? I nodded yes, and she said he was teaching a class, but if I gave her my name, she'd let him know I was waiting to see him and pointed to a chair.

A few minutes later she said he'll see you now and gave me his office number.

Turns out, he'd dismissed his class so he could visit with me, a nobody poet!

The man stood behind my work, as he did for so many others, to the very end.

-Phil Weidman (July, 2009)

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When I left graduate school (rather unceremoniously) – having finished all but the thesis and one exam for a PhD in English, – something I felt I had to do as a back up, so I could write, I suddenly was faced with just that: trying to write. I felt I had to. I had to show the ones who said I couldn't stay or finish, a kind of revenge. I took a job at a PBS station and, knowing not much about what was being written more recently than Dylan Thomas, plunged into reading. I also wanted to learn about alternative publishers, magazines that published writers I never knew, who could say the things they did in the way they did. I wrote to all the magazines in Len Fulton’s International Directory – much smaller than it is now – stapled without a real spine. I was thrilled. Every day treasures came in the mail. I learned how there was a magazine in Texas called The Caller that came from a funeral director and only published poems about death. Soon I had three favorite magazines: unique, fresh, exciting. Wormwood was one. I loved the poems, how the magazine looked, the feel of the paper, that each copy was numbered.

Since it was so good, I waited to send any of my poems. When I finally felt confident enough to send something and it was accepted, I was thrilled. From then on he became one of the most supportive editors. I loved how Wormwood published a quirky, epigrammatic kind of poetry few magazines today do. Many. Maybe most of my madonna poems, the core of several chapbooks, were published in Wormie. I hadn't realized it for a while but when Malone died, I stopped writing madonna poems.

Perhaps the most exhausting and fascinating bibliography of my work was in Paper Apples, an issue devoted to my work. I still refer to it. Malone found details no one else has. I loved it that he was open to huge bulging envelopes of poems. I loved being sandwiched between Bukowski and Gerry Locklin. No other magazine was like Wormwood. When I heard Malone died, tho I'd never met him, I felt someone in my family died.

-Lyn Lifshin (September 2009)

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I have to call him that. There was no poetry editor that was remotely like him. He had integrity and he treated you with respect; a very rare thing!

"Yes, WORMIE begain in Storrs CT in 1959 and I popped in from Albuquerque & joined it in 1960 just as it "died." I'm good at resuscitation."

"We try not to respond to "news" since it's a good way to become dated...it's playing the media game and I try to avoid it."

"Getting published in WORMIE means that you are going into the most important libraries in English-speaking countries and into the indexes for poetry."

"Forgive me if I don't comment or criticize each batch, as just writing this much has brought out a sweat on me- editing does have an energy-consuming component."

How can I possibly convey a true sense of this honorable man? I will never forget him.

-John Levin (September 2009)

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When I first heard about Wormwood Review, it was that there was this gem of a little mag out there, just moved out here (California) from Connecticut, and was published by a professor at UOP. UOP wasn't far from me, a 40 minute drive south on highway 99. Looking at its list of poets, I wanted to get in, have poems accepted. Not so easy. It took me a long time of rejections from Marvin Malone. When he began accepting my work. I thought, "I'm in!" But that wasn't the case, either. Marvin Malone knew exactly what he wanted and I could send over and over after being accepted, and still be rejected, always with a handwritten few words from Marvin himself. I once drove to Stockton to meet a cousin for lunch. After a couple of drinks, lunch, I asked her if she'd go to UOP with me to see if I could find Marvin Malone. She agreed. We went. He was just leaving a class he had taught and graciously invited us into his tiny office. We didn't stay long, and I'm sure it was an intrusion for him, but he couldn't have been nicer. There has never been another Wormwood Review. Nothing close to it. It was all inclusive. If Marvin said so. There won't be another like it again, but I hope someone out there gives it a try.

The poems of mine published in the Wormwood Review have been reprinted many times. I've been grateful for this.

-Ann Menebroker
(October 2009)