The English Department at The University of Texas at El Paso offered its first creative writing course in 1967. With this expansion of the curriculum came the first issue of Goodbye Dove. The literary magazine was a joint effort of the Literary Society, the Student Association, and the new Creative Writing Program headed by J. Edgar Simmons. Published tri-annually, the magazine showcased short stories, poetry, and literary criticism by both faculty and students. Rhoda F. Milnarich, editor for the fall 1967 edition of Goodbye Dove acknowledged the need for a publication “devoted entirely to the creative literary work of the students and faculty at UT of El Paso.”
A great deal of the writing published in the magazine came from the creative writing classes taught by Dr. Simmons. Loved by his students, he mentored them in technique and concentrated his efforts on developing them as individuals and writers. His philosophy was that there could be no separation of the writer from the individual. It was this philosophy that Dr. Simmons brought to his own writing. He was the inspiration behind the magazine and a well-regarded poet in his own right. His book Driving to Biloxi, published by the University of Virginia Press in 1967, won the Texas Institute of Letter Award and was a finalist for the National Book Awards. His poems appeared in 14 anthologies and over 75 journals. He was the director of the Creative Writing program from 1967 until 1969 when he left UTEP. He died in 1979 while working on his last book.
The staff of Goodbye Dove Worked with advisors in the English Department, local sponsors like the Oasis Drive-in Restaurant, Leo’s, KROD TV Channel 4, local bookstores, and publishers in order to get the necessary funding and support for the publication. Atrists from the Art Department who donated their time and talent supplied the magazine with ample artwork.
July of 1969 marked the height of interest in the magazine and the first annual celebration of Goodbye Dove was held to honor the writers and artists. The event featured readings from the Dove, paintings, sculptures, and music. Over the next few years the magazine enjoyed success and featured the work of quite a few notable local authors and poets.
Among those who wrote for the publication are such faculty members as Dr. Robert Burlingame poet, educator, and mentor. He authored four books of poetry and his work spans over fifty years. The central theme to many of his poems is a study of the human condition and the connections made between individuals. He helped to expand the English Department to include courses in World Literature, Introduction to Poetry, Romantic Criticism, and Russian Literature. Professor Eugene Keller is an accomplished poet who has published a collection of poems called Tongue-Tied to the Border and whose poetry spans 40 years. He is also among the poets published in Goodbye Dove. Professor Rhoda Milnarich divided her time working on two UTEP publications. She was published in both Goodbye Dove and El Burro. Her short stories and poetry tackle tough issues like anti-Semitism, isolation, and the alienation of women. Dr. Wanda Weiman, prolific poet, editor of a 1972 edition, and whose poem “Goodbye Dove” graced the pages of almost all of the editions was regularly found in the pages of the magazine.
The magazine ceased publication in 1973 after a seven-year run but remains one of UTEP’s hidden jewels. Copies of Goodbye Dove can be found in the Special Collections Department of the UTEP library.
Goodbye, Dove. Leave me now in
blind spasms and tears unable
to flow. Unmoving, I sit
with no more memories.
Nova December 1967
Goodbye Dove 1967-1972
Gene Keller on Robert Burlingame by Bobby Byrd 12-18-2011
Some Recognition of Salt Flat, Texas: Robert Burlingame by Bobby Byrd 11-18-2011
Robert Burlingame Obituary–www.legacy.com/obituaries/elpasotimes/obituary