‘New Letters’ Magazine Nominated for Missouri Arts Award


New Letters, the literary magazine from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, has been recognized for its contribution to Missouri literary arts with a nomination for a 2020 Missouri Arts Award.

Since 1983, the Missouri Arts Council has presented Arts Awards to artists, communities and organizations that have significantly enriched Missouri culture. Poet and philanthropist Gloria Vando of California and cultural journalist Steve Paul of Kansas City nominated New Letters for an award in the “Arts Organization” category.

New Letters has contributed an energy and essential cultural conversation to our city and region for decades,” said Steve Paul, who has also worked as book critic and author. “As a literary publisher with roots going back deep in the 20th century, its contributions to UMKC, the intellectual life of Kansas City and the general American marketplace of ideas cannot be overstated.”

Previous winners of the Missouri Arts Award include the Kansas City Symphony, the Opera Theatre of St. Louis, the Kansas City Ballet, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City and the Missouri Folkore Society. This year’s honorees will be selected by an independent panel representing the statewide arts community. Winners will be announced in November 2019, and awards will be presented in February 2020 in a ceremony at the state capitol.

“The state of Missouri increasingly recognizes literary art as crucial to its cultural identity,” said New Letters editor Robert Stewart. “I believe this nomination to be a reflection of the status of literature and, in particular, New Letters throughout the state.”

The latest issue of New Letters is now available. The magazine features color photographs by Robert F. “Bob” Barrett, who worked with New Letters from the 1970s and died in 2016. The issue’s cover art is a landscape painting in pastel colors by Kansas City, Missouri artist Carol Zastoupil.

Poetry includes “Returning After Our War,” by John Balaban, in which the speaker returns to Vietnam after years away; Margo Berdeshevsky’s “…for us, again…” a tribute to Notre Dame cathedral, damaged by fire in April 2019; and three untitled poems by Gary Young describing a visit to the Kamo River in Japan.

New Letters is available by subscription for $28 annually. To order, call 816-235-1168, email or order online.

Founded in 1934, New Letters has long been recognized for its commitment to discovering, publishing, and promoting the best literary writing. In recent years, New Letters has won a National Magazine Award, multiple Pushcart Prizes and been reprinted in the Best American literature anthologies. Additionally, for the past 17 years running, the Missouri Arts Council has ranked New Letters first among all Missouri literary organizations based on artistic quality, management ability, and community involvement.

New Letters is a production of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Missouri-Kansas City. Subscriptions can be ordered via the website, or by calling 816-235-1168.

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