Poetry at Beinecke Library

Yale Poet Elizabeth Alexander to Read at Obama Inauguration Ceremony

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on December 17, 2008

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies announced today that Yale poet and professor Elizabeth Alexander will read at the swearing in of President-elect Barack Obama on January 20th. The Washington Post quotes Alexander:  “I am obviously profoundly honored and thrilled. . . . Not only to have a chance to have some small part of this extraordinary moment in American history. . . . This incoming president of ours has shown in every act that words matter, that words carry meaning, that words carry power, that words are the medium with which we communicate across difference, and that words have tremendous possibilities and those possibilities are not empty.” Alexander recently discussed Barack Obama and American poetry on a Poetry Foundation podcast.

Elizabeth Alexander is the author of collections of poetry, including American Sublime (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Antebellum Dream Book, Body of Life, and The Venus Hottentot. A collection of essays, The Black Interior, was published by Graywolf in 2004.  She is a professor in the African American Studies Program and the Department of English at Yale University. For more information about Alexander and her work visit: http://www.elizabethalexander.net/home.html.

Viola Baxter Jordan Papers

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on December 3, 2008

The correspondence of Viola Baxter Jordan is now being added to the Beinecke Library’s Digital Images Online database (Viola Baxter Jordan Papers, YCAL MSS 175). Jordan was a mother of three in Tenafly, New Jersey who maintained a fifty-year correspondence with her former teenage acquaintances Ezra Pound, H.D. and William Carlos Williams. Jordan continued to send letters and parcels to these poets and their families throughout her adult life. The correspondence includes letters from Bryher, Florence Williams, Dorothy Pound, Olga Rudge, and Erza Pound’s daughter Mary de Rachewiltz.

This collection documents the personal lives, professional projects, and political opinions of Jordan’s author friends. For instance, Bryher (whom Jordan didn’t meet until after World War II) writes, “I was interested that you thought my writing feminine…nobody ever has. I take no pains one way or the other, but always get referred to here as Mr and have heard people say in journalistic circles that I must be a crabbed old gentleman!” (1942 July 29). In their letters, H.D. and Jordan share a curiosity in astrology, mythological figures and other “’psychic’ interests” (28 July 1942) but H.D., apparently concerned with her reputation, originally asked Viola for confidentiality about her enthusiasm for horoscopes (24 May 1929).

Ezra Pound’s letters change most drastically over time. As a student at the University of Pennsylvania, he sends neatly penned letters bragging of his “ability to discourse learnedly about subjects [he has] neglected to prepare” (23 November) and encloses postcards of the campus. Later, from Rapallo, Italy, he writes highly stylized, reactionary tirades on letterhead featuring the Fascist calendar year and a Mussolini quotation. His letters from St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC, where he was sent following an insanity plea at his treason trial, show shaky lines and crooked stamps. From St. Elizabeth’s, Pound implores Jordan to “go on writin don’t wait for me to answer” (19 February 1946).

On 30 March 1912, William Carlos Williams suggests to Jordan, “oh charming creature of transparent contradictions, let us fly away and be united in impossibilities” in a letter signed “yours quite seriously.” Five months earlier, Williams had revealed he was in love with four women simultaneously: Viola, two women in Europe, and someone “at home” (15 October 1911). He married Florence “Flossie” Herman in December of 1912.

While the Viola Baxter Jordan Papers add depth to the existing textual record of her more famous correspondents, they ultimately raise questions about Jordan herself. Who exactly was she? What was her relationship with this crowd? What did they really think of her? Researchers are invited to explore this archival collection in the Beinecke’s digital library as well as in the Library’s reading room. The entire correspondence series of this collection will soon be available in the Digital Images Online database under the call number YCAL MSS 175.

–Robin M. Katz, Beinecke Digital Library and Metadata Development Intern, Summer 2008

Image: Detail of a letter from Ezra Pound to Viola Baxter Jordan, 12 July 1905

Lucille Clifton Poetry Reading

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on November 24, 2008

Lucille Clifton, Poetry Reading

Tuesday, December 2, 5:30pm
Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street
(NOTE: this event will not take place at Beinecke Library)
Co-sponsored by the Yale Collection of American Literature
Reading Series and New Ideas in African American Studies
Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Please join us for a poetry reading by Lucille Clifton on Tuesday, December 2, 5:30pm at the Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street. This event is co-sponsored by the Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series and New Ideas in African American Studies; the reading is free and open to the public. For additional information about poetry at the Beinecke Library visit: https://beineckepoetry.wordpress.com/.

Lucille Clifton is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including Good News About the Earth, An Ordinary Woman, Good Woman: Poems and a Memoir 1969-1980, The Book of Light, Quilting: Poems 1987-1990, Next: New Poems, and Blessing the Boats: New and Selected Poems 1988-2000. She has been awarded the National Book Award, the University of Massachusetts Press Juniper Prize, an Emmy Award from the American Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, a Lannan Literary Award, fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Shelley Memorial Award, and the Ruth Lilly Prize.

For more information about Lucille Clifton and examples of her work visit:

http://www.poets.org/poet.php/prmPID/79

http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poet.html?id=1304

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucille_Clifton

Podcast Interview with Clifton: http://www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/audioitem.html?id=110

Beinecke Image Guides

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on November 10, 2008

The Beinecke Library is pleased to announce the addition of browseable image “collections” to our Digital Library. The collections have been selected from across our digitized images and each is introduced by a brief essay contributed by Beinecke and Yale University Library staff, curators, selectors, Yale faculty and students. Within each collection you will find Also new is the ability to search within a collection, to find related collections, and in many cases, to links to Orbis records. New collections will be added weekly, revealing the diversity of materials – ancient papyri, illuminated manuscripts, photographs, illustrations, and correspondence across the centuries – that pass through the Beinecke’s digital imaging studio. Subscribe to our new rss feed to receive collection updates. Recently posted collections include: Images form the H.D. Papers ; Picturing Literary Modernism; Images from the Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Tokals Papers; and Images from the Edmund Wilson Papers.

The Digital Library is a growing database, with over 170,000 scans and with roughly 1,800 images added each week. To search the collection, visit: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/digitallibrary/ .

Image: Envelope addressed to Gertrude Stein by Pablo Picasso, 1911

Henry and Servilla: or, The Death Bridal

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on October 29, 2008

Henry and Servilla: Or, The Death Bridal, Being a Graphic Account of the New Boston Tragedy. [New Boston, NH, 1854].
The Yale Collection of American Literature has acquired a rare and unusual 19th century poetry broadside documenting an 1854 murder-suicide in New Boston, New Hampshire; on January 11, 1854, after being rejected by Servilla Jones,  Henry N. Sargent fatally shot the young woman before shooting himself. The event was reported in the New York Times on January 19, 1854 (“The New Boston Tragedy”).

Other recently acquired materials can be located by searching the Library’s Uncataloged Acquisitions Database; new and unusal collection materials are regularly featured at  the Room 26 Cabinet of Curiosities blog.

A Celebration of New Writing

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on October 13, 2008

Young African American Poets: A Celebration of New Writing
Poetry Readings by Evie Shockly, Douglas Kearney,

and Amaud Jamal Johnson

Tuesday, October 28, 4pm
Slifka Center , 80 Wall Street (NOTE: this event will not take place at Beinecke Library)
Co-sponsored by the Yale Collection of American Literature
Reading Series and New Ideas in African American Studies
Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Evie Shockley is the author of a chapbook, The Gorgon Goddess (2001), and the collection a half-red sea (2006). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Fascicle, Hambone, HOW2, and Rainbow Darkness: An Anthology of African American Poetry, and other journals and anthologies. She is an assistant professor of English at Rutgers University. Douglas Kearney is a poet, performer, and teacher. His work has appeared in Callaloo, jubilat, Ninth Letter, and other journals. His first full-length collection of poetry, Fear, Some, was published in October 2006. Amaud Jamaul Johnson is a former Wallace E. Stegner Fellow in Poetry at Stanford University. His poems have appeared in New England Review, Poetry Daily, From the Fishouse, and other journals. He teaches creative writing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His first book, Red Summer, was the winner of the 2004 Dorset Prize from Tupelo Press.

Yale University Collection Guides

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on September 24, 2008

Guides to Yale University’s extensive collections of research materials related to international Modernism and African American studies are now available from the Yale University Art Gallery (to request copies please contact Christopher Gartrell: christopher.gartrell@yale.edu).

Yale University Collections Guide: Modernism directs students and scholars to collections documenting the work, lives, and communities of writers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, designers, architects, editors, curators, and tastemakers. The Guide features the work of key figures including (but not limited to): James Joyce, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Joseph Conrad, Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, Langston Hughes, Filippo Tommaso Marinetti, Alfred Stieglitz, Georgia O’Keeffe, Wassily Kandinsky, Florine Stettheimer, Josef Albers, Eero Saarinen, Virgil Thomson, Paul Hindemith, Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya.

Yale University Collections Guide: African American Studies highlights the rich collections at Yale documenting the African American experience, from materials documenting the sale trade to the work of modern and contemporary African American writers and artists. Materials in Yale collections address subjects including slavery and emancipation, Abolitionist movements, the American Civil War, the Harlem Renaissance, the Civil Rights Movement, and the work of African Americans in all art forms, including literature, fine art, theater, and music. Key figures represented in the Yale collections include (but are not limited to): the Amistad prisoners, Isaac Mendes Belisario, Phillis Wheatley, the Beecher Family, Hannah Crafts, Frederick Douglass, W. E. B. Du Bois, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes, Zora Neale Hurston, Anson Phelps Stokes, James Vander Zee, Benny Goodman, Masood Ali Wilbert Warren, Richard Wright, Romare Bearden, Kara Walker, Carrie Mae Weams, and Lloyd Richards.

The Guides highlight primary source materials in the Yale galleries and libraries including manuscripts, correspondence, works of art, books, journals, photographs. The Guides provide useful information about accessing Yale collections on campus and online; lists of online resources includes the following.

Yale Collections Online Resources:

Yale University Library: http://www.library.yale.edu

Digital Cross-Collections Search: http://www.library.yale.edu/libraries/digcoll.html

Orbis, the Yale University Library Catalogue: http://orbis.library.yale.edu

Finding Aid Database: http://webtext.library.yale.edu/finddocs

Beinecke Library: http://www.library.yale.edu/beinecke

African American Studies at Beinecke Library: http://beineckejwj.wordpress.com

Let it Resound: Sheet Music in the James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection: http://beinecke.library.yale.edu/LetItResound

Irving S. Gilmore Music Library: http://www.library.yale.edu/musiclib

Oral History, American Music: http://www.yale.edu/oham

Lewis Walpole Library: http://www.library.yale.edu/walpole

Manuscripts and Archives: http://www.library.yale.edu/mssa

Yale University Art Gallery: http://artgallery.yale.edu

Yale Center for British Art: http://ycba.yale.edu

Images: Gertrude Stein, photographed by Carl Van Vechten“Details, An American Place (O’Keeffe paintings)” photographed by Alfred Stieglitz; Jessie Fauset, Langston Hughes, and Zora Neale Hurston at Tuskegee;Jean Coctaeu photographed by Berenice Abbott.

Celebrating Richard Wright

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on September 10, 2008

The James Weldon Johnson Memorial Collection at the Beinecke Library will cosponsor a centenary celebration of Richard Wright’s writing and life on September 23, 2008, from 4-6 pm in the lecture hall at the Whitney Humanities Center, 53 Wall Street, New Haven. The event is cosponsored by the Whitney Humanities Center, the African American Studies Program, New Ideas in African American Studies, Calhoun College, and the Department of English.

The event will include readings and talks by distinguished guests Ishmael Reed and Darryl Pinckney, and Yale University faculty members including Caryl Phillips, Jonathan Holloway, Elizabeth Alexander, and others. Facsimile documents from the Richard Wright Papers at the Beinecke Library will be on display at the Whitney Humanities Center for the event.

Ishmael Reed is the author of nine novels, six books of poetry, four books of essays and six plays. The collected plays will be published in 2009 by Dalkey Archives. His latest book is “Mixing It Up, Taking On The Media Bullies.” He was named Blues Song Writer of the year in 2008 by The West Coast Blues Hall of Fame for his song, recorded by Jazz Diva, Cassandra Wilson,”The Prophet of Doom.” He is the publisher of Konch, and makes his debut as a Jazz pianist on the CD “For All We Know” The Ishmael Reed Quintet. He is a Yale Calhoun Fellow.

Novelist and literary critic Darryl Pinckney is the author of the acclaimed novel High Cotton and Sold and Gone, a study of African American literary history. Pinckney has been awarded the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for fiction and the Harold D. Vursell Award for Distinguished Prose from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Award winning writer and dramatist Caryl Phillips is the author of plays including Strange Fruit (1980), Where There is Darkness (1982) and The Shelter (1983). His novels include The Final Passage (1985), A State of Independence (1986), The Nature of Blood (1997), A Distant Shore (2003) and Dancing in the Dark (2005). His non-fiction works include The European Tribe (1987), The Atlantic Sound (2000), and A New World Order (2001). He is Professor of English at Yale University.

Elizabeth Alexander is the author of several collections of poetry, including American Sublime (a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Antebellum Dream Book, Body of Life, and The Venus Hottentot. A collection of essays, The Black Interior, was published by Graywolf in 2004. She is a professor in the African American Studies Program and the Department of English at Yale University.

Historian Jonathan Holloway is the author of Confronting the Veil: Abram Harris Jr., E. Franklin Frazier, and Ralph Bunche, 1919-1941, the editor of Ralph Bunche’s A Brief and Tentative Analysis of Negro Leadership, and the co-editor of the anthology, Black Scholars on the Line: Race, Social Science, and American Thought in the 20th Century. He is a professor of History at Yale University and in 2005 he became the eleventh master of Calhoun College, one of Yale’s twelve residential colleges.

Image: Photograph of Richard Wright.

Readings at Yale University, Fall 2008

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on September 8, 2008

All events are free and open to the public; additions and changes will be posted on line: https://beineckepoetry.wordpress.com/readings-at-yale-university/. To receive announcements about readings at Yale Univeristy, subscribe to the Yale-Readings ListServ.

Fall 2008 Readings at Yale University

Richard Wright: A Centenary Celebration
Readings by Ishmael Reed, Darryl Pinckney, Caryl Phillips,
Jonathan Holloway, Elizabeth Alexander

Tuesday, September 23, 4 pm
Whitney Humanities Center, Lecture Hall, 53 Wall Street
Co-Sponsored by the James Weldon Johnson Memorial CollectionBeinecke Library, the Whitney Humanities Center, the African American Studies Program, New Ideas in African American Studies, Calhoun College, and the Department of English
Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Henri Cole and Louise Glück, Poetry Reading
Monday, September 29, 6 pm
St. Anthony Hall, 483 College Street
Sponsored by the Department of English
Contact: (203) 432-2233

Carson Cistulli, Poetry Reading
Friday, October 3, 6 pm
St. Anthony Hall, 483 College Street
Co-sponsored by the Graduate Poets Reading Series and the
Yale Collection of American Literature Reading Series

Contact: david.gorin@yale.edu

Young-hae Chang Heavy Industries, Digital Literature Reading
Tuesday, October 14, 7 pm
Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street, Room 101
Sponsored by the Department of English
Contact: jessica.pressman@yale.edu

Ted Conover, Reading and Conversation
Thursday, October 23, Time TBA
Location TBA
Francis Conversations with Writers
Contact: clare.schlegel@yale.edu.

Young African American Poets: A Celebration of New Writing
Poetry Readings by Evie Shockly, Douglas Kearney,

and Amaud Jamal Johnson
Tuesday, October 28, 4 pm
Slifka Center, 80 Wall Street
Co-sponsored by the Yale Collection of American Literature
Reading Series and New Ideas in African American Studies
Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Jacqueline Osherow, Poetry Reading
Monday, November 3, 4:15 pm
Divinity Bookstore, 409 Prospect Street
Yale Literature and Spirituality Series
Contact: melissa.maier@yale.edu

Dan Chiasson, Poetry Reading
Thursday, November 6, 6 pm
in Linsly-Chittenden Hall, 63 High Street, Room 319
Graduate Poets Reading Series
Contact: david.gorin@yale.edu

Charles Wright, Poetry Reading
Tuesday, November 11, 6 pm
St. Anthony Hall, 483 College Street
Sponsored by the Department of English
Contact: (203) 432-2233

Linton Kwesi Johnson, Poetry Performance and Interview by Caryl Phillips
Tuesday, November 18, Time TBA
African-American Cultural Center, 211 Park Street
Co-sponsored by New Ideas in African-American Studies,
the Literature of the Middle Passage Project, and
the African-American Cultural Center

Contact: elizabeth.alexander@yale.edu

Lucille Clifton, Poetry Reading
Tuesday, December 2, 5:30 pm
Yale Center for British Art, 1080 Chapel Street
Co-sponsored by the Yale Collection of American Literature
Reading Series and New Ideas in African American Studies
Contact: nancy.kuhl@yale.edu

Robert Alter, Reading
Monday, December 8, 5:15 pm
Yale Divinity School Common Room
Cosponsored by the Yale Literature and Spirituality Series
and the Lana Schwebel Lecture in Religion and Literature

Contact: melissa.maier@yale.edu

Robert Giard’s Photographs of Poets and Writers

Posted in Uncategorized by beineckepoetry on July 29, 2008

The Beinecke Rare Book & Manuscript Library has acquired the archive of American photographer Robert Giard (Y’61) as part of the Yale Collection of American Literature. The archive was acquired from Jonathan Silin, Robert Giard’s life partner. Giard is renowned for his portraits of American poets and writers; his particular focus was on gay and lesbian writers. Some of his photographs of the American gay and lesbian literary community appear in his groundbreaking book Particular Voices: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Writers, published by MIT Press in 1997. A detailed listing of the papers can be found online here: Robert Giard Papers; images from the collection can be found online here: Giard Collection Image Guide.

Giard’s stated mission was to define the literary history and cultural identity of gays and lesbians for the mainstream of American society, which perceived them as disparate, marginal individuals possessing neither. In all, he photographed more than 600 writers. The archive is a unique and important collection providing a significant resource for the study of literary America in the late twentieth century. A detailed biography of Robert Giard and his career appeared in the Yale Bulletin and Calendar, March 31, 2006. More information about the photographer and his work can be found at The Robert Giard Foundation website.

The photographer’s archive contains more than 1,500 vintage prints, 7,800 related work prints, and extensive correspondence, records, diaries and other papers. The papers document both the photographer’s printing process and his trips to photograph his subjects. A detailed description of the archive can be found online. Over 800 of Giard’s photographs are available online in the Beinecke’s Digital Library.

Robert Giard’s archive complements the Beinecke’s expanding collection of resources related to contemporary gay and lesbian literature, which includes the papers of James Purdy, Edmund White, David Leavitt, Christopher Cox, George Whitmore,and Ethan Mordden, in addition to correspondence of such figures as Edward Albee and Christopher Isherwood contained in other archives. Additional related archival collections may be found in the Finding Aid Database and the Uncatalog Acquisitions Database; printed materials by many of Robert Giard’s photographic subjects can be found in Orbis, the Yale Library catalog.

Images: Robert Giard portraits of: J.D. McClatchy; Adrienne Rich; Michael Cunningham; and Barbara Smith. Images below: Robert Giard portraits of: Larry Kramer with Molly; Allen Ginsberg with his own portrait of W. S. Burroughs.