Boston

PLOUGHSHARES, a literary quarterly published in Cambridge, has, as far as I know, a unique editorial policy: each issue is edited by one of a group of rotating coordinating editors. Thus it is a unified statement of one person's literary taste and vision rather than an anthology by committee.

The current issue (Vol. 4, No. 1) was edited by James Randall, who knows the Cambridge-Boston writing scene intimately and is in charge of the writing program at Emerson College: Neither Randall nor the other editors are paid, and the contributors are paid only if the issue breaks even.

Funded in part by the National Endowment for the Arts, Ploughshares is usually on the brink of disaster. Why this is true when it is so palpably exciting is one of the paradoxes of our times. Its two directors, DeWitt Henry, a novelist and teacher, and Peter O'Malley, a composer, are always having to scrounge for money. In spite of perpetual financial angst, Ploughshares has a fat and healthy feel: the current issue runs to 3000 copies (600 on subscription); its art and production are excellent; the whole operation exudes professionalism.

In 1976 Plougshares published four new poems by Robert Lowell. Maxine Kumin, William Styron, Kenneth Rexroth, Brian Moore and a lot of other so-called name writers have also contributed, for what amounts to peanuts or less.