Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Carl Rakosi Papers
MSS 0355  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (143.40 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Related Materials
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Biography
  • Publication Rights
  • Preferred Citation
  • Acquisition Information
  • Access

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Carl Rakosi Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0355
    Contributing Institution: Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
    9500 Gilman Drive
    La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
    Languages: English
    Physical Description: 8.2 Linear feet (18 archives boxes and 1 oversize folder)
    Date (inclusive): 1903-2004
    Abstract: Papers of Carl Rakosi, American poet and social worker, who professionally practiced psychotherapy under the name Callman Rawley. Rakosi was known for his association with the Objectivist movement as well as other Jewish writers. The collection contains correspondence, prose, poems, book reviews, and extensive interviews with Rakosi.
    Creator: Rakosi, Carl, 1903-2004

    Related Materials

    Additional Carl Rakosi materials are located in the David Ignatow Papers (MSS 2), United Artists Archive (MSS 12), George Oppen Papers (MSS 16), Clayton Eshleman Papers (MSS 21), Sun and Moon Archive (MSS 221), and Charley George Papers (MSS 387).
    Significant portions of Rakosi's papers are also located at the University of Texas, Austin, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison (see correspondence in case file).

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Papers of Carl Rakosi, American poet and social worker, who professionally practiced psychotherapy under the name Callman Rawley. Rakosi was known for his association with the Objectivist movement as well as other Jewish writers. The collection contains correspondence, prose, poems, book reviews, and extensive interviews with Rakosi, as well as journal articles, case histories and notes that document his work as a psychotherapist during the decades when he withdrew from the publishing world. Included are typescripts and photocopies of poems for The Collected Poems of Carl Rakosi and page proofs for The Old Poet's Tale (1999). The collection represents the part he played as a young poet in the Objectivist movement, with copies of correspondence with other Objectivist poets such as Louis Zukofsky, and essays written by Rakosi much later on the impact of that literary moment, such as "The Objectivist Connection" which explains the origin of the term "Objectivist." The collection contains worksheets for poems, audio and videocassette recordings of readings and interviews, and drafts of printed interviews.
    Accession Processed in 1996
    Materials primarily documenting Rakosi's writings from 1988-1995, as well as his career as a psychotherapist and social worker.
    Accessions Processed in 2003
    Includes correspondence (including important early correspondence from the 1930s, as well as more recent letters), worksheets for poems, tapes of readings and interviews with Rakosi, drafts of printed interviews, and materials related to Rakosi's readings and lectures from approximately 1973-1999.
    Accession Processed in 2005
    Includes more recent correspondence (though it does contain excerpts of important early correspondence from the 1930s with other writers and family members), substantial folders of source material and drafts of poems in progress, materials related to Rakosi's 100th birthday, and memorials.
    Arranged in three series: 10) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 11) CORRESPONDENCE and 12) WRITINGS BY RAKOSI.


    Carl Rakosi was born on November 6, 1903, in Berlin, Germany, and came to the United States with his father and stepmother in 1910. He received his B.A. (1924) and M.A. (1926) from the University of Wisconsin, and completed his Masters of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania in 1940. He married Leah Jaffe in 1939.
    During the thirties, Rakosi was a member of a group of poets called "The Objectivists," which included Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, and George Oppen. Between 1939 and 1965, he stopped writing in order to devote himself to social work and psychotherapy. It was not until 1965, at the urging of Andrew Crozier, that Rakosi started to write again. Rakosi practiced social work and psychotherapy as Callman Rawley, his legally adopted professional name. Between 1945 and his retirement in 1968, Rakosi was Executive Director of the Jewish Family and Children's Service in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also conducted a private practice in psychotherapy between 1955 and 1971.
    As an important Objectivist poet, Rakosi's style of writing can be summarized by Stanley Cooperman's comment: "What Rakosi has, delightfully, is an ability to translate emotion into objects, tastes, smells: and these, in turn, are completely familiar- except that the familiarity occurs in unexpected juxtapositions of sound and theme...Rakosi's work is at once irreverent and serious; highly intellectual and simplistic."
    His published works include SELECTED POEMS (1941), AMULET (1967), ERE-VOICE (1971), EX CRANIUM, NIGHT (1975), MY EXPERIENCE IN PARNASSUS (1977), SPIRITUS I (1983), COLLECTED POEMS (1986), THE EARTH SUITE (1997), and THE OLD POET'S TALE (1999). Besides his literary work, including poetry, essays and book reviews, Rakosi also published articles and reviews on social work and psychology.
    In 2003, Rakosi's 100th birthday celebration was marked by several poets--including Anselm Hollo, Lyn Hejinian, George Evans and others--reading from their own work at Rakosi's request. Until his death on June 24, 2004, Rakosi continued to develop new poems and to correspond with younger writers interested in his and other Objectivists' work.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Preferred Citation

    Carl Rakosi Papers, MSS 0355. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired 1995-2011.


    Materials contained in Box 5, Folders 9-11 are restricted until the year 2070 according to federal and state laws. Media is restricted. Researchers may request user copies be produced.

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    Auxeméry, Jean-Paul -- Correspondence
    Biggs, Mary -- Correspondence
    Codrescu, Andrei, 1946- -- Correspondence
    Corman, Cid -- Correspondence
    Dawson, Fielding, 1930-2002 -- Correspondence
    DuPlessis, Rachel Blau -- Correspondence
    George, Kathi -- Correspondence
    Heller, Michael, 1937- -- Correspondence
    Oppen, George
    Prynne, J. H., 1936- -- Correspondence
    Rakosi, Carl, 1903-2004 -- Archives
    Steiner, Flora -- Correspondence
    American poetry -- 20th century