On January 24, 2011, The Missouri Review launched textBOX: an online anthology of exceptional fiction, essays and poetry published in The Missouri Review since 1978.
The anthology project had been slowly developing, gradually gathering steam for almost three years. It began as just an idea: what if we could find a way to keep some of the really good stuff from being buried in the archives?
Evelyn Somers has been with The Missouri Review since 1986, and has been Associate Editor of the magazine since 1990. She has worked closely with many authors of fiction and non-fiction over the years, polishing their stories and essays until they gleamed, ready for publication. Each issue of the magazine is published, celebrated, distributed, and then… what? Some of our back issues (2004-present) are available through the Project Muse database, but of course not every library can afford to subscribe to every database. Some pieces are later published in a collection by the author, and a few are selected for republication in the Best American series.
But what about the others?
Evelyn began to wonder if there wasn’t some way that we could reach down, deep into the archives, and pull out those few gems that had stuck with her through the years: the stories or essays that had resonated, hit a cord that was so pitch perfect they lingered in the air for years after their issue had been boxed up and set aside to make room for the next one.
The Internet has made so many things possible, and an online anthology emerged as the perfect means through which to help some of these remarkable pieces once again see the light of day. As the idea continued to develop, it began to merge with another idea that had been floating around TMR’s offices: organizing some sort of reading group and finding new ways to foster literary community and discussion.
Working with a team of graduate students and interns, Evelyn created an initial template for how each piece would be presented to readers along with a brief introduction and a selection of interpretive questions. In its early stages, the anthology seemed ideally suited for teachers of contemporary literature, but we soon realized the potential for creative writing groups and classes as well, and craft-oriented questions and writing prompts were added to the template.
For the first couple of years the anthology – nameless, websiteless – existed as a side-project: something to be worked on in spare time, bits and pieces. Then, in the spring of 2010, Nell McCabe, a graduate student in English at The University of Missouri-Columbia, began working with Evelyn to turn the anthology from an idea (and a list of amazing stories and essays) into a reality.
The anthology was unveiled on January 24th, 2011. Since then we have continued to build the anthology adding new materials as well as additional stories and essays. For information on changes and additions to the site you can check the News page and subscribe to updates via RSS feed.
Many people have contributed to this project over the years and we are lucky to have had the privilege of working with each of them.
- Evelyn Somers (Associate Editor)
- Kate McIntyre (Anthology Editor)
- Nell H. McCabe (former editor)
- Claire Adams
- Joe Aguilar
- Hannah Baxter
- Emily Camp
- Kylie Chi
- Alise Ganousis
- Kelli Hardy
- Trey Harris
- Andrea Kinnison
- Kaulie Lewis
- Grace Lillard
- Lyndsie Manusos
- Molly Pozel
- Austin Segrest
- Sara Strong
- Olivia Wolfgang-Smith
- Mitch Ryals
- Jacqueline Alnes
- Amanda Aspey
We’ve got big plans for this little anthology. In the coming months and years we hope to:
- Add new stories, essays and poems
- Develop additional materials such as audio files, author interviews, and more
- Create dynamic tables of contents organizing the pieces in the anthology in a multitude of useful ways
- Connect with classes and groups interested in using the anthology to find out how we can continue improving the site
If you’d like to be notified when we add new stories, essays, poems or extra materials and/or make changes to the site, you can subscribe to the feed on our News page via the links in that page’s right-hand sidebar.