About This Journal
Ontario Review, A North American Journal of the Arts, was published from 1974 to 2008 by Raymond J. Smith and Joyce Carol Oates. This site is a digital archive of the journal.
Founded in 1974, Ontario Review was one of the longest-lived literary journals. Conceived of as a North American Journal of the Arts, it was intended to bridge what Joyce and I, Americans teaching in Canada at the time, felt to be a widening gap between the two literary/artistic cultures. We tried to do this by publishing writers and artists from both countries, as well as essays and reviews of an intercultural nature. When we moved to Princeton, we put less emphasis on the intercultural role of the journal, though we still published many Canadians, from Margaret Atwood to Tom Wayman.
Literary journals like Epoch, Kenyon Review, and Southern Review were of great importance in nourishing Joyce's incipient career as an author in the sixties, and she and I have always seen the nurturing role as a function of our journal. Over the years, many young writers have had their first published story or poem appear in Ontario Review. Some of them, like Pinckney Benedict and Reginald Gibbons, have gone on to distinguished literary careers.
Ontario Review published original fiction, poetry, personal essays, drama, photographs, graphics, and interviews with prominent contemporary authors. Each issue was a blend of older, more established writers with promising younger ones. Stories and poems appearing in the Review were regularly chosen for national anthologies of the best fiction and poetry published each year. "Given the small number of stories it publishes, Ontario Review has one of the highest batting averages for prize-winning fiction in the field," observed DeWitt Henry in Wilson Library Bulletin.
Over the past two and a half decades we have featured over 450 different poets, writers, translators, reviewers, artists, and photographers. Among them are Alice Adams, Jane Anderson, Margaret Atwood, Russell Banks, Donald Barthelme, Saul Bellow, Pinckney Benedict, Earle Birney, Joseph Brodsky, Hayden Carruth, Raymond Carver, Annie Dillard, Rita Dove, Margaret Drabble, Stuart Dybek, Carlos Fuentes, Tess Gallagher, Albert Goldbarth, Nadine Gordimer, Eaman Grennan, Donald Hall, William Heyen, Ted Hughes, Josephine Jacobsen, Jill Krementz, Maxine Kumin, Irving Layton, Doris Lessing, Alistair MacLeod, W. S. Merwin, Mary Morris, Barry Moser, Gloria Naylor, Joyce Carol Oates, Alicia Ostriker, Jay Parini, Stanley Plumly, Reynolds Price, Ned Rorem, Philip Roth, Dave Smith, Gary Soto, Elizabeth Spencer, William Stafford, Mark Strand, Deborah Tannen, Melanie Rae Thon, Chase Twichell, John Updike, David Wagoner, Robert Penn Warren, Tom Wayman, Theodore Weiss, C. K. Williams, and Charles Wright.
—Raymond J. Smith