In 1940 the poet Flexmore Hudson was a school teacher at Hammond in the far north of South Australia. With a growing reputation from his first two volumes of poetry, he embarked on another publishing project, founding in 1941 the magazine, Poetry: A Quarterly of Australian and New Zealand Verse.
Run with the assistance of his wife Myrle Desmond, Poetry was the only long-lasting 1940s periodical devoted entirely to poetry. Hudson had established a significant network of contacts through his involvement with the Jindyworobak movement and his regular correspondence with other writers. This enabled him to attract contributions from many of Australia's significant poets and build a healthy subscription base. Despite war-time paper shortages, Hudson and Desmond managed to maintain the quarterly appearance of Poetry, but strikes during 1945 and 1946 caused some delays. Isolated in the rural township, the couple often worked late into the night preparing each issue for publication and distribution.
Early issues of Poetry included contributions from Gina Ballantyne, John Blight, Clem Christesen, Donovan Clarke, Mary Fullerton, Harry Hooton, Rex Ingamells and Douglas Stewart. Steadily increasing circulation through word-of-mouth and the distribution of free copies to High Schools and other institutions, Poetry was able to pay contributors, a rare ability at the time. Later contributors to Poetry included Nancy Cato, Rosemary Dobson, R. D. FitzGerald, A. D. Hope, Jack Lindsay, James McAuley, Roland Robinson and Judith Wright.By 1945, writers such as Hudson, Hope and Ingamells were contributing reviews and the magazine was set to take on a more international scope. Subtitling the magazine "The Australian International Quarterly of Verse", Hudson attracted contributions from a number of British and American writers, including Langston Hughes, William Carlos Williams, John Pudney, Sydney Goodsin and Roy McFadden. But the time and energy required to produce the magazine began to affect Hudson's health and the financial situation of the magazine weakened. Despite assistance from Clive Turnbull, Nancy Cato and Roland Robinson, a contribution from the Commonwealth Literary Fund, and a possible bulk order from a London wholesaler, Poetry was unable to continue, ceasing production with the December issue of 1947. Although proud of the magazine's ability to pay its contributors, Hudson received little financial recompense for the magazine and was left with a debt that took some four years to repay.
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