Scope and Content of Collection
Title: John Taggart Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0011
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla, California, 92093-0175
29.6 Linear feet
(69 archives boxes, 1 records carton and 2 oversized folders)
Date (inclusive): 1962-2012
Papers of John Taggart, a contemporary American poet known for his formal and prosodic innovations. The collection contains
manuscripts and typescripts of Taggart's published and unpublished poetry, juvenilia from the 1960s and 70s, fiction, and
essays devoted to the work of individual artists such as George Oppen and Edward Hopper as well as collective movements such
as the Objectivist poets. The collection also contains many of his personal journals, notebooks, and loose notecards, as well
as ongoing correspondence with writers, artists, and editors such as Theodore Enslin and Susan Howe.
Taggart, John, 1942-
Scope and Content of Collection
Papers of John Taggart, a contemporary American poet known for his formal and prosodic innovations, and literary technique
associated with Objectivist theory. The collection contains manuscripts and typescripts of Taggart's published and unpublished
poetry, juvenilia from the 1960s and 70s, fiction, and essays devoted to the work of individual artists such as George Oppen
and Edward Hopper as well as collective movements such as the Objectivist poets. The collection also contains many of his
personal journals, notebooks, and loose notecards, as well as ongoing correspondence with writers, artists, and editors such
as Theodore Enslin and Susan Howe.
Accessions Processed in 1987
The bulk of this accession dates from the early 1970s when Taggart was a doctoral student at Syracuse University, assembling
his first collection of poetry and editing
Maps. It also includes essays completed by Taggart while an undergraduate at Earlham College and a graduate student at the University
Arranged in seven series: 1) NOTEBOOKS AND JOTTINGS, 2) POETRY, 3) FICTION, 4) TRANSLATIONS, 5) ESSAYS AND REVIEWS, 6) CORRESPONDENCE
and 7) MISCELLANEOUS.
Accessions Processed in 1989
Arranged in four series: 8) POETRY, 9) ESSAYS AND REVIEWS, 10) CORRESPONDENCE and 11) MISCELLANEOUS ITEMS.
Accessions Processed in 1991-2000
Arranged in three series: 12) CORRESPONDENCE, 13) WRITINGS and 14) NOTEBOOKS.
Accession Processed in 2005, 2012
Additional materials highlighting Taggart's literary and teaching career, including more recent letters from colleagues, editors
and fellow poets, numerous drafts of both published and unpublished poems and critical works, as well as composition notebooks.
Arranged in three series: 15) CORRESPONDENCE, 16) WRITINGS and 17) NOTEBOOKS.
John Taggart was born in 1942 in Guthrie Center, Iowa. He graduated with honors in 1965 from Earlham College in Indiana, earning
a B.A. in English Literature and Philosophy. In 1966 he received a M.A. in English Literature and Creative Writing from the
University of Chicago, and in 1974 he completed a Ph.D. in the Humanities Interdisciplinary Studies Program at Syracuse University.
His dissertation, titled "Intending a Solid Object: A Study in Objectivist Poetics," was one of the first extended discussions
of the compositional strategies informing the work of poets Louis Zukofsky and George Oppen. Though the work has never been
published as a monograph, revised sections of it have appeared in
Louis Zukofsky: Man and Poet, edited by Carroll F. Terrell (National Poetry Foundation, 1979) and
Credences: Journal of Twentieth Century Poetry and Poetics (nos. 2-3 Fall/Winter, 1982).
Taggart's poetry first appeared in print in 1965, when three poems, "Upon the Sweeping Flood," "An Egyptian Cat," and an "Evening
with Anna Akhmatova" were published in
Crucible. Since then, Taggart's work has appeared in many literary journals including
The North American Review, The Painted Bride Quarterly, Ironwood, Boundry 2, Sulfur and
Temblor. His work was featured in the 1969 summer issue of Cid Corman's
Origin, and the 1979 spring issue of
Paper Air was given over entirely to Taggart's work. Besides Taggart's long poem
Peace on Earth, a "healing prayer" on the Vietnam War, the issue included commentary on Taggart's work by Toby Olson, Bruce Andrews, Jackson
Mac Low, Paul Metcalf, and several others. Taggart's poetry has been printed in several anthologies including
The Gist of Origin (Grossman, 1975),
Pushcart Prize Anthology (Avon, 1980),
New Directions: An International Anthology of Prose and Poetry (issues 24 and 41), and
Poetes Americans D'Aujourd'hui (Delta, 1986).
In addition to numerous appearances in literary magazines and journals, Taggart has also published several collections of
To Construct a Clock,
The Pyramid is a Pure Crystal, and
Prism and the Pine Twig (Elizabeth Press 1971, 1974 and 1977 respectively),
Dodeka, with an introduction by Robert Duncan (Membrane, 1979),
Peace on Earth (Turtle Island, 1981),
Dehiscence (Membrane, 1983),
Loop (Sun and Moon, 1991),
Standing Wave (Lost Roads, 1993),
When the Saints (Talisman House, 1999),
Pastorelles (Flood Editions, 2004),
Crosses: Poems 1992-1998 (Stop Press, 2006),
There Are Birds (Flood Editions, 2008) and
Is Music: Selected Poems (Copper Canyon Press, 2010).
Taggart has earned a reputation as a judicious, though infrequent, commentator on contemporary American poetry. In addition
to seminal articles on Zukofsky, Oppen and Objectivist poetics, Taggart has also reviewed the work of Wallace Stevens, William
Bronk, Robert Duncan, Bruce Andrews, Theodore Enslin, and several other contemporary American poets. He was also the editor
and publisher of
Maps, an acclaimed literary magazine appearing during the late 1960s and early 1970s, and, in 1978, edited an issue of
Truck (1978) devoted to the work of Enslin.
Taggart was a professor of literature and creative writing at Shippensburg State University from 1969 until his retirement
in 2001. His work as writer and teacher has been awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship (1965), a Distinguished Academic Service
Award from the Pennsylvania Department of Education, a Pushcart Prize, and the
Chicago Review Poetry Prize, as well as two National Endowments for the Arts Writing Fellowships (1976 and 1986).
John Taggart Papers, MSS 11. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
The reel-to-reel audio tape in box 23 is restricted. Researchers must request a user copy be produced.
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Bernstein, Charles, 1950- -- Correspondence
Butterick, George F. -- Correspondence
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005 -- Correspondence
Enslin, Theodore -- Correspondence
Graves, Bradford -- Correspondence
Hopper, Edward, 1882-1967 -- Correspondence
Howe, Susan, 1937- -- Correspondence
Metcalf, Paul C. -- Correspondence
Olson, Toby -- Correspondence
Oppen, George -- Correspondence
Silliman, Ronald, 1946- -- Correspondence
Stevens, Wallace, 1879-1955 -- Correspondence
Taggart, John, 1942- -- Archives
Weil, James L. -- Correspondence
Young, Karl -- Correspondence
Zukofsky, Louis, 1904-1978 -- Correspondence
American poetry -- 20th century