Professor Ulrich Hardt reflects on a quarter century of literary editing

Ulrich H. Hardt in 1988, when he assumed the OEJ editorship

Ulrich Hardt, emeritus faculty in the GSE, is passionate about literature. As a member and past president of the Oregon Council of Teachers of English (OCTE), he edits their biannual publication, the Oregon English Journal, a job he took on 24 years ago. His 24-year investiture produced 48 total editions of the blind-peer-reviewed journal that covers a large variety of topics around English education and literature.

Professor Hardt enjoys working with various themes each year, selected by him and the editorial board. Topics include educational, literary, and global issues for all educator levels, elementary through college. Past themes have included technology, education and hope, ecology, history, and poetry to name a few. Submissions include local, national, and international authors and educators.

Oregon’s Poets Laureate William Stafford, Lawson Inada, and Paulann Petersen are represented in several volumes, and one journal was specifically dedicated to poetry (published in 1989). Inada reacted enthusiastically to that particular issue: “This is the poetry textbook I’ve been looking for all my life,” he said. And following the sudden death of William Stafford in 1993, the spring 1994 issue was a retrospective on his life and work.

Other retrospectives have been on Oregon children and young adult authors Beverly Cleary (1995) and Walt Morey (1996).  Beverly Cleary, still writing today at age 95, responded, “How delightful, a retrospective one can still read and enjoy!”

“One of my favorite OEJ issues is the 25th Anniversary edition, published in spring 2004,” Professor Hardt explains. In this volume, authors were given the rare opportunity to reflect on the articles they previously published in the journal. Education Professor Charles R. Duke wrote a piece in 1989 about helping students find voice in their poetry and approached the assignment with some trepidation. His concern that previous principles were no longer valid turned out to be groundless. “I found I still believed in the underlying principles of the approaches regarding introducing and reinforcing the importance of voice to students,” Duke said.

Now in its 33rd year, the Oregon English Journal is distributed state-wide. However, the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has selected 24 themed issues of the OEJ for national promotion and distribution, an unprecedented distinction of any NCTE state affiliate publication. Some of the OEJ issues, including Hardt’s first issue, “Whole Language, 1988,” have been reprinted by NCTE multiple times and have become best sellers.

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