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What does Kevin Morrissey’s suicide mean for the Virginia Quarterly Review?

By Harriet Staff

The Chronicle of Higher Education explores the recent suicide by Kevin Morrissey, managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, and what it might mean for the prestigious literary journal. The Chronicle‘s account gives an overview of the magazine’s rise from relatively staid academic journal to National Magazine Award winner, and follows up on allegations of workplace bullying by editor Ted Genoways that might have led to Morrissey’s death:

In the wake of Mr. Morrissey’s death, VQR‘s own stability has been challenged. Mr. Genoways’s office has been cleaned out, and police officers have been stationed at the doors of the award-winning journal. The Chronicle got such details, as well as further charges of turmoil, from a half-dozen people close to the situation. None would allow their names to be used because, they said, the university has instructed them not to talk to reporters and they fear for their jobs. (A member of VQR‘s staff, Sheila McMillen, is the sister of a Chronicle editor. None of the information used in this article is from Ms. McMillen.)

Mr. Genoways told The Chronicle that the university had already “reviewed all the allegations being made against me and found them to be without grounds.” The university wouldn’t comment on that or answer most of The Chronicle’s questions about the situation, citing the confidentiality of personnel matters. A statement on the journal’s home page says that UVa “remains strongly committed to VQR.”

Still, others are questioning whether too much damage has already been done. Elliott D. Woods, a VQR contributor and an ardent supporter of Mr. Genoways, wrote in an e-mail message to The Chronicle that he feared that accusations about what caused Mr. Morrissey’s death could “ruin the greatest little magazine I know.”

Posted in Poetry News on Friday, August 13th, 2010 by Harriet Staff.