A Short History of The Minnesota Review

Written by Jerry Liles, Minnesota Review Fiction Editor

What some people may not know about The Minnesota Review is that it isn’t located in Minnesota.  In fact, it hasn’t been there for about forty years.  TMR was founded in 1960 and was located in Minnesota for about 10 years before moving to New York City.  It was here that it developed its Marxist identity.  It didn’t stay long in New York before leaving for Indiana University (for almost ten years), then Oregon State University, then SUNY-Stony Brook (back in New York), then to East Carolina University, then the University of Missouri (we’re almost there now), then to Carnegie Mellon University, and finally now in its new home, nestled in the New River Valley within little town of Blacksburg, and located within Virginia Tech.

What a long strange trip it’s been for The Minnesota Review.  It’s come from the Midwest, to the east coast, back to the Midwest, then to the west coast and back to the east coast again.  What’s intriguing to me is that it has never attempted return back to its birthplace, its old stomping grounds.  Maybe it hates its parents.  Or maybe it doesn’t have any parents—maybe The Minnesota Review is an orphan.

It seems that The Minnesota Review just needed time to find itself.  It began with a focus on avant-garde and experimental fiction, which was good enough in Minnesota, but then it got into the whole Marxist thing.    It’s probably no coincidence that it developed this particular political affiliation as it moved from Minnesota to the Big Apple.  But like many tastes we develop in our adolescent years, TMR seemed to outgrow it.

Maybe TMR just can’t stand Minnesota sports.  Sure, the Twin Cities have four pro sports teams and Virginia has none, but I think we can agree that the overall sports scene in Minnesota is pretty bleak.  The Vikings can never win the big one, the Twins always lose to the Yankees, and the Timberwolves are barely an NBA franchise.  Then there’s the Wild, but that’s hockey.  And hockey doesn’t count.

Sports are great, but of course many literary sophisticates like the ones that submit to TMR probably don’t follow sports, and of course, how are we to know how the magazine itself feels about the Vikings or the Twins.  Sports only reach so far, but something like the weather affects everyone, including The Minnesota Review.  Sure, it gets plenty cold (and windy) in Blacksburg, but I’m sure it’s nothing like a Minnesota winter.  That kind of weather just isn’t conducive to a good atmosphere.  How are you supposed to focus on stories and poems when you have to worry about digging your car out of the snow and scraping ice off of your windows?

No matter how it got here, we’re glad to welcome The Minnesota Review from the state of Minnesota (and New York, and Oregon, and so on) and into the Commonwealth of Virginia.  Hopefully the beauty of the Appalachian Mountains and the New River can tame your wanderlust, and you’ll be with us for years to come.


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One thought on “A Short History of The Minnesota Review

  1. Thanks for the info on the peregrinations of the MR. I’ve been wondering how it got to where it is. I am a former fiction editor for the Review (when it actually was in Minnesota), and each time I’ve tried to locate it, it was somewhere else!

    Thanks for helping me catch up!

    Lyn Heath (Miner – my married name, now)

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