Overview of the Collection
Scope and Content
Indexing: Added Entries
Overview of the Collection
Title: Henri Coulette Papers
Dates (inclusive): 1955-1998
Collection Number: mssCoulette papers
1,065 items, plus ephemera in 18 boxes
The Huntington Library, Art Collections, and Botanical Gardens.
1151 Oxford Road
San Marino, California 91108
Phone: (626) 405-2129
Abstract: This collection contains the papers of California poet and
educator Henri Coulette (1927-1988).
Open to qualified researchers by prior application through the Reader Services
Department. For more information, contact Reader Services.
The Huntington Library does not require that researchers request permission to
quote from or publish images of this material, nor does it charge fees for such
activities. The responsibility for identifying the copyright holder, if there is
one, and obtaining necessary permissions rests with the researcher.
[Identification of item]. Henri Coulette Papers, The Huntington Library, San
The collection was purchased from the Henri Coulette estate (accession number
1881) on August 15, 1995.
The addenda part I was given to the Huntington Library by Robert Mezey in
The addenda part II was given to the Huntington Library by Donald Justice on
September 9, 1999.
1. Henri Coulette was in the habit of writing on every available piece of paper,
consequently his handwriting can be found throughout the collection.
2. Poems - The poems are filed by title, or first line when untitled. If there is
more than one poem on a page, it is filed by the first poem.
3. Poems - Versions of the same poem appear throughout the notebooks, groups of
poems, single poems, and book length poems. They have not all been cataloged
separately in each form.
4. Poems - In boxes 7 and 8 nearly all the poems exist in multiple drafts.
Removed or Separated Material
A volume of poems by Henri Coulette was transferred from the Manuscript Department
to the Rare Books Department on April 13, 1998: The Family Goldschimitt, by Henri
Coulette, (New York: Scribner's, 1971).
Henri Anthony Coulette was born in Los Angeles, California, on November 11, 1927. He
received a B.A. from Los Angeles State College (now California State University, Los
Angeles) in 1952, his M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in 1954 and his PhD from
Iowa in 1959. Coulette taught high school English, was an instructor in the
University of Iowa writer's workshop (1957-1959), and for most of his career, was a
professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles (1959-1988).
The War of the Secret Agents, his first book of verse in 1965 and
The Family Goldschmitt, in 1971. He contributed to
New Poets of England
The Attic (1959);
Poetry for Pleasure (1960). Coulette served
as the editor for
The Unstrung Lyre: Interviews with Fourteen Poets (1965). Coulette
also contributed to
Paris Review, New Yorker, and
book of verse,
The War of the Secret Agents, was awarded the James D. Phelan
Foundation award (given each year to a California artist) and the Lamont Poetry
Prize for the best first volume of poetry published in America in 1965. Coulette was
named Cal State L.A.'s Outstanding Professor of the Year in 1970 and in 1976 was
awarded a John Simon Guggenheim memorial fellowship. Coulette was best known for his
traditionally metered poetry and as an educator, editor, and poet. Coulette died of
apparent heart failure on March 26, 1988.
Contemporary Authors. Vols 65-68. ed. Jane A. Bowden (Detroit: Gale Research Comapny, 1977), p. 142.
Contemporary Authors. Vol 125. eds. Hal May and Susan M. Trosky (Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1989), p. 74.
Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Vol 14. ed. Linda Metzger (Detriot: Gale Research Company, 1985), p. 110.
Los Angeles Times, Obituaries, 1988, Apr. 14.
Scope and Content
The papers consist of the following series:
1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-3). The correspondence is filed alphabetically by author.
Among the authors writing to Coulette are: Philip Levine, Robert L. Barth, Robert
Mezey, and Timothy Steele. An especially illuminating letter about Coulette (who
remained somewhat of a mystery throughout his life) is one written in 1990 by Norman
Fruman to Robert Mezey (Box 1 (44)).
2. Manuscripts by Coulette and others (Boxes 4-11). The manuscripts are arranged
into the following series: Notebooks by Coulette (Boxes 4-6); poems and book length
poems by Coulette (Boxes 7-9); manuscripts by Coulette and others (Box 10); poems
and manuscripts by others (Box 11). All manuscripts and poems are filed
alphabetically except for the notebooks and tablets, some of which are filed
numerically. Included in poems by others are poems by Philip Levine, who, over the
years, sent many poems to Coulette for his opinion. Coulette's notebooks and many
drafts of his poems allow a researcher to trace the evolution of a poem from
conception to final product.
3. Ephemera (Boxes 11-14, oversize folder). The ephemera folders are filed
alphabetically and include journal issues, awards and diplomas, newspaper and
magazine clippings, and various personal papers.
Addenda Part I
4. Addenda Part I. Consists of 18 reel-to-reel audiotapes (Box 15) with unknown
content and two oversize folders containing copies of poems.
Addenda Part II
Addenda Part II is arranged in the following series: 5. Correspondence and
Manuscripts (Box 16); 6. Manuscripts and Ephemera (Box 17); 7. Ephemera (Box 18).
5. The Correspondence series is arranged alphabetically by author. The series
consists largely of letters regarding the publication The Collected Poems of Henri
Coulette. The book was compiled after Coulette’s death by his close friends,
colleagues, and book editors Donald Justice and Robert Mezey. Copies of Coulette’s
poems as well as revisions made to the book by Justice and Mezey accompany these
letters. Justice and Mezey would make revisions and send these corrections to one
another and to the book’s publisher the University of Arkansas Press. Once the book
was published it received an unfavorable review from poet Philip Levine. Letters can
be found within this series which relate to that negative review and include
reactions from Justice, Mezey, various publishing companies, and fellow poets. 6.
The Manuscripts series is arranged alphabetically and includes poems, book reviews,
and articles written by Coulette and fellow writers: Anthony Cave Brown, Robert
Dana, Nelle Fertig, Henri Coulette Papers -- Finding Aid -- page 5 Elton Glaser,
Michael S. Harper, Elizabeth Nicholas, Eric Pankey, Michael Shepler, and Jerry
Tutunjian. Also included are drafts, revisions, and notes made by Justice and Mezey
to The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette manuscript.
7. The Ephemera series is arranged alphabetically and includes journal issues,
newspaper and magazine clippings, a copy of Coulette’s Curriculum Vitae ca. 1984, a
printed notice for a Coulette poetry reading, and pamphlets relating to the Venice
Simplon Orient Express in 1984.
Arranged in the following series:
- 1. Correspondence (Boxes 1-3)
- 2. Manuscripts by
Coulette and others (Boxes 4-11)
- 3. Ephemera (Boxes 11-14) and oversize folder
Addenda Part I
- Audiotapes (Box 15) and two oversize folders
- Addenda Part II
Correspondence and Manuscripts (Box 16)
- 6. Manuscripts and Ephemera (Box 17)
Ephemera (Box 18)
- Justice, Donald Rodney, 1925-. Editor with Robert Mezey, "The Enormous Lonelies," poems (pre 1989). Box 5 (7).
Justice, Donald Rodney, 1925-. Editor of "The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette," poems (1990). Box 9 (4).
Justice, Donald Rodney, 1925-. Editor of "The Collected Poems of Henri Coulette," poems (1990). Box 9 (5).
Mezey, Robert. Editor with Donald Rodney Justice, 1925-, "The Enormous Lonelies," poems (pre 1989). Box 5 (7).
Mezey, Robert. Collector of items relating to the Memoir of Henri Coulette written by Philip Levine and the letters relating
to it (pre 1993). Box 10 (15).
American literature -- 20th
Authors, American -- 20th century --
Poets, American -- 20th century --
Audiotapes -- United States -- 20th
Awards -- United States -- 20th
Commonplace books -- United States --
Manuscripts for publication -- United
States -- 20th century.
Letters (correspondence) -- United
States -- 20th century.
Photographs -- United States -- 20th
Poems -- United States -- 20th
Justice, Donald, 1925-2004.
Levine, Philip, 1928-.