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Introducing the Southern California Review Archives

 

The creation of a digital archive for the Southern California Review has been a multi-year project, the goal of which was to make the issues of this invaluable but long-unavailable literary magazine accessible to everyone. Founded in 1984 as the Southern California Anthology, the Southern California Review played a crucial role in the literary ecology of the region. With editors including Ann Stanford and James Ragan, the Review would ultimately become the literary journal of USC’s Master of Professional Writing Program. Air/Light editor David L. Ulin was faculty advisor during the journal’s final years.

Air/Light seeks to continue this tradition of bringing a Southern California perspective to the national and world literary stage. For that reason, we are thrilled that our vision of a readily available archive of the Southern California Review has now become a reality, housed in USC Libraries’ Digital Library Collections. Full text PDFs and detailed metadata are on the website and open to the public. The collection is indexed and searchable. Teachers, scholars, writers, and readers everywhere have free and instant access to every issue.

Los Angeles’s literary importance—the diversity of people, voices, and styles of this city and region—is already well known to the larger literary community. We believe the online archives of the Southern California Review will only add to the ongoing collective project of recognizing and understanding Los Angeles literature.

In its time, the Southern California Review was a preeminent West Coast literary journal. Since it ceased publication, however, the journal has been largely unavailable. Even finding a full run of issues wasn’t easy. It took much time and effort to assemble this nearly complete collection. Ulin and Air/Light founding editor David St. John were instrumental in tracking down this material. Once issues were in hand, the next step was to digitize each issue of the journal. 

While I designed and oversaw the digitization project, Jacob Lind—then a graduate student in USC’s Literary Editing and Publishing (LEAP) Program—served as the hands-on digitization technician and metadata creator. It is thanks to his efforts that the scans are clean, precise, and readable, and that the collection is fully OCR searchable. Once digitization was complete, files were transferred to Louise Smith and the rest of the USC Digital Library staff, who added the material and metadata to the Digital Library Collections. The end product is a collection and a website that is both beautiful and functional. 

I’m a former archivist, so I’m a genuine believer in the necessity of archives. They are essential not just for the preservation of material culture but also for the preservation of historical memory. The literary history of Los Angeles belongs to everyone—and we are delighted that this important component of that history is now available for readers and writers in California and beyond.

 

Highlights from The Southern California Review archives

 

Wanda Coleman
“Rules” and “1746 Cherokee North”
The Southern California Anthology, v. 2 (1984)

Eds. Jonathan Woetzel, Michael McLaughlin, and Chris Westphal

Read the entire issue.



John Rechy
Introduction
The Southern California Anthology, v. 2 (1984)

Eds. Jonathan Woetzel, Michael McLaughlin, and Chris Westphal

Read the entire issue.



Amiri Baraka
“The City of New Ark: A Poem of Destiny”
The Southern California Anthology, v. 16 (1999)

Eds. James Ragan and Linda Mastrangelo

Read the entire issue.



Nikki Giovanni
“And How Could I Live On (for Betty Shabazz)”
The Southern California Anthology, v. 16 (1999)

Eds. James Ragan and Linda Mastrangelo

Read the entire issue.



Jorge Luis Borges
“The Golem”
The Southern California Anthology, v. 21 (2006)

Ed. James Ragan

Read the entire issue.



Alex Espinoza
“Fools Rush”
Southern California Review, v. 5 (2012)

Ed. Nicole Antonio

Read the entire issue.



Dana Johnson
“Because that’s Just Easier”
Southern California Review, v. 7 (2014)

Eds. Channing Sargent and Sharif Shakshir

Read the entire issue.



Aaron Winslow is the managing editor of Air/Light.

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