Modine Gunch was the name of a student literary magazine, created by the Wisconsin Union Literary Committee, published from 1969 into the early 1970s. According to Bill Kasdorf ’71, the first editor of the magazine, the banner you saw was a promotion for the publication, which sold for a hefty 25 cents or two for 69. Modine Gunch featured poetry and short stories, and an anthology was published in 1972.
Randy Berler ’74, MS’76, an editor in 1972–73, recalls that the university gave the literary committee funds to bring nationally known poets to campus to do readings. In the fall of 1971, he says, a group of local poets (one of whom was Madison theater luminary Joel Gersmann) stormed a literary committee meeting, demanding that the money be used to feature local poets. Berler complied.
“Poetry back then was a little different than it is now,” he says. “People cared about it. We would pay [the local poets] $50 to do a reading, and they were thrilled.”
How did the magazine get its odd name? As Kasdorf recalls: “a committee sat around and made it up. It was the sixties, and we wanted something unusual and quirky.”
The name has since been adopted by Southern humorist Liz Scott Monaghan, who has written columns for New Orleans magazine and published books under the pen name Modine Gunch.