Winning tax support for the arts isnnever easy. The approach recentlyntaken by Jocelyn Levi Straus, chairmannof the Texas Commission on thenArts, was to employ research consultantsnto determine how much moneynwas generated by the arts industry.nThe consultants’ study concluded thatnthe statewide direct impact of the artsnis at least 1.7 billion dollars annually.n”The bottom line,” writes Ms. Straus,n”is that now we have data to prove thatnthe arts feed the economy as well asnthe soul.”nProfessor Galbraith, in his usualnbrilliant way, goes beyond statisticalntrifles in his economic advocacy fornthe arts. In the July/August AmericannTheatre, Galbraith not only comes outnfor a “trickle-down effect” (high pricesnon Picasso help unknown artists), butnhe even suggests that Italy’s traditionsnof artistic taste were directly responsiblenfor her industrial achievement.nSince Italian economic industrialngrowth cannot be explained by superiornscience and engineering, effectivengovernment, or “the discipline andncooperativeness of the Italian unions,”nthis only leaves Italian design, “whichnreflects the superb commitment ofnItaly to artistic excellence.”nThe conclusions are obvious. Don’tnWriting WithoutnLettersnWhatever happened to the old middleto-highbrownAmerican culture? Oncenupon a time, there was a fair-sizednliterate class that kept up on fictionnand verse by reading the great organsnof literary opinion. These days there isna great gulf between serious literaturenand general-interest journalism. “Literary”nmagazines—Kenyon Review,nDaedelus, or Sewanee Review, forn40/CHRONICLES OF CULTUREnbail out Chrysler, but support “thensmall nonbureaucratic firm” — hencan’t quite say entrepreneur—of thenartist. This is all very well. But if, asnGalbraith suggests, “beautiful isnsmall,” don’t we owe it to the artist notnto destroy his independence with governmentnpatronage? ccn// the literary spirit is alive in America,nyou will find it kicking only in thenbooks and journals published by smallnpresses in some of the unlikeliest places.nMuch of it is either too repellent orntoo limited in appeal to be publishednby a mainstream press. You can findnentire journals devoted to Black lesbiansnor Chicano surrealists—but atntheir best, the small presses represent anrebellion against a literary marketplacenthat can stomach Michael Korda as annauthority on anything apart from badntaste.nFor many years, Morty Sklar’s SpiritnThat Moves Us Press has been collectingnkudos. At one time or another,nSklar has printed a remarkable set ofnpoets and fiction writers, includingnJaroslav Seifert (Nobel laureate 1984),nMarge Piercy, Richard Kostelanetz,nand W. P. Kinsella—as well as dozensnof less-well-known literary lights.nTYPEFACESninstance—now constitute a small andnisolated province, inhabited by a fewnthousand English professors and NewnYork intellectuals. Meanwhile, largecirculationnmagazines such as Harper’s,nThe Atlantic, or The SaturdaynEvening Post show little interest innbelles lettres. Oh, Harper’s still carriesnan occasional short story (typically anprize winner, published first in somen”little magazine”), and we still sometimesnfind a recent story by John Updikenor verse by Marge Piercy in ThenAtlantic. The Saturday Evening PostnnnWhat distinguishes Sklar’s efforts is notnso much the quality of his taste as ancommitment to a certain vision ofnliterature as an affair of the spirit. Asnhe observes in the introduction to ThenSpirit That Moves Us Reader, his editorialnjudgments are far from objective.n”Basically what I like to see isnwork which expresses concern for lifenand living, and which is skillfully putntogether.” But more than that, henlooks for a quality in his contributorsnwhich he can only describe as “a lovenrelationship.”nSpeaking frankly, not everythingnSklar publishes is quite to our taste; angood deal of it is not. Perhaps the bestnverse is translations — Osip Mandelstam,nAnna Akhmatova, LarsnLundkvist. To a great extent, the SpiritnThat Moves Us is a holdover from thenBeat mentality of the 50’s. It celebratesnlife, the here and now, the particularninstead of the general, and while thesenconcerns may seem trivial sub specienaeternitatis, they come as somethingnof a relief in the 1980’s—not exacflynrain in the desert, more like enoughndew to get your lips wet. The SpiritnThat Moves Us Press; P.O. Box 1585;nIowa City, lA 52244. ccnlikewise regularly prints a short storynby popular writers like Ray Bradbury.nAnd, too, large circulation magazinesnsuch as these three generally makenspace for reviews of one or two seriousnworks of literature in each issue. Butneveryone knows that Alexander Cockburn’sndeftly Marxist analysis of thenIrish economy in The Atlantic or JeanenKirkpatrick’s pronouncements on terrorismnin Harper’s or the profile ofnMiss America in The Saturday EveningnPost—these are what the magazinesnare really about. The snatches ofn