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Just 10 Spots Behind Oprah

Each June the Chicago Web site Newcity Lit, which is part of Newcity magazine, publishes a list titled “Lit 50: Who really books in Chicago.” The list is designed to be a pecking order of the most important writers and publishers in Chicago. So it’s not necessarily any great surprise that Oprah Winfrey is No. 1 on the list based on her book club picks and the success of her “O” magazine. Ten spots below Oprah is where you’ll find Washington and Lee alumnus Christian Wiman, Class of 1988. Christian is editor of Poetry magazine, and his entry in the Lit 50 list reads as follows: “As editor of Poetry magazine, Christian Wiman has been upholding the traditions of the 97-year-old publication, which remains an independent voice for poetry and has been known to champion young writers publishing for the first time. The June 2009 issue features pieces by D. Nurske, A.E. Stallings, Averill Curdy and more. Wiman’s 2007 collection of personal essays, “Ambition and Survival: Becoming a Poet,” beautifully revealed as much about the writer as his books of poems.” If you haven’t ever read any of Christian’s poems, you can start with this week’s New Yorker, where you’ll find “Five Houses Down” on pages 60 and 61. Or you can read it online by following this link. You can also read a fascinating interview with Christian from this past March on the Web site Bookslut.

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