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Brotherson (Robert D.) collection of the Activist group of poets and other materials
BANC MSS 2008/111  
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Consists of correspondence, manuscripts, newspaper clippings, poems and publications from members of the Activist group of poets; business correspondence and administrative records related to the publishers Woolmer/Brotherson Ltd.; correspondence and personalia from Activist member and publisher Robert Brotherson; and materials related to Works: A Quarterly of Writing, which Brotherson edited. Includes correspondence and/or writings from Stuart Friebert, Jean McGahey Hart, Lawrence Hart, Rosalie Moore, Lois Moyles, Fred Ostrander, and Laurel Trivelpiece.
The Activist group had its origins in classes taught by poet Lawrence Hart (1901-1996) in Oakland. Three "especially promising young students" - Robert Horan, Jeanne McGahey, and Rosalie Moore - attended a class in 1937 and, under Hart's leadership, they began to regard themselves as a group. The word "Activist" didn't have a political connotation. It was meant capture their belief that poetry should be exciting, with every line active. The label first appeared in their 1946 publication, "Ideas of Order in Experimental Poetry." Then W.H. Auden used it in his introduction to Moore's 1949 collection, "The Grasshopper Man," and the label stuck. The prominent journal, Poetry, featured the Activists in a special issue in 1951, and in a special half-issue feature in 1958. New writers joined the group in the fifties, including Robert Dale Brotherson, who co-edited the magazine the Activists published from 1950-1955 (with Don Wobber). Hart and his colleagues openly criticized the Beats in the San Francisco Chronicle. Hart "saw 1958 as the end point of the Modernist era in poetry," one that began with the publication of Les Fleurs du Mal by Baudelaire in 1858, and ended with the publication of Allen Ginsberg's Howl a century later. Subsequntly, the popularity of the Activists was eclipsed by that of the Beats and other writers in the "San Francisco Renaissance." Hart, however, continued to teach and attract new students. All told, he taught poetry in the Bay for 50 years. For more information on Hart and the Activists, see: https://lawrencehart.org/the-activist-poets/
9.1 linear feet (6 cartons, 4 boxes)
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Collection is open for research.