Poet and editor Paul Carroll was a vital force on the Chicago poetry scene. He was briefly an editor of the Chicago Review (1957-1958), but when he and coeditors were pressured by the university chancellor to remove controversial pieces from an upcoming issue from William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, he pulled the entire issue and resigned in protest. Carroll founded the little magazine Big Table, where he published the suppressed material; the United States Post Office then seized 400 copies of the first issue and refused to deliver them, declaring the magazine “obscene,” but their decision was appealed and reversed. Carroll would continue to publish work by innovative writers such as Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Robert Creeley. He also founded the Poetry Center of Chicago, and in 1985 he won the Chicago Poet’s Award.
Carroll’s collections of poetry include The Poem in its Skin (1968), The Luke Poems (1971), New and Selected Poems (1978), The Garden of Earthly Delights (1986), and The Beaver Dam Road Poems (1994).
Carroll taught for many years at the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he started the Program for Writers. Carroll retired from teaching as professor emeritus in 1992.
He died in 1996 near Vilas, North Carolina, where he lived with his wife, Maryrose.