Scope and Contents note
Preferred Citation note
Title: Martha Ronk Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS.697
Mandeville Special Collections Library
Language of Material:
4.6 lin. ft.
(9 archives boxes and 11 oversize folders)
Date (inclusive): 1983-2008
Papers of Martha Ronk, fiction writer, editor, and American poet. The papers primarily document Ronk's literary correspondence,
poetry manuscripts, and editorial projects from the mid-1980s to 2008. The bulk of the collection is made up of Ronk's poetry
manuscripts and typescript drafts from her published poetry collections, including
State of Mind
Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature
(2003). Also included are numerous typescript drafts of individual poems by Ronk, correspondence with other writers and poets,
and editorial work for Littoral Books and
The New Review of Literature
Ronk, Martha Clare
Scope and Contents note
The Martha Ronk Papers contain materials documenting her activities as a poet, publisher, editor, and fiction writer, and
features manuscripts of poetry and prose which date from 1983 through 2008. The papers also include editorial materials related
to both Littoral Books and the journal
The New Review of Literature, poetry workshops, poetry reading materials, articles, and art reviews. The majority of the collection is made up of typescript
drafts from Ronk's collected poetry, which contain handwritten notes and revisions from Ronk and her publishers. The collection
also contains general correspondence between Ronk and other poets, book publishers, and literary editors. The collection is
arranged into six series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS BY RONK, 3) EDITORIAL PROJECTS, 4) CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS, 5) READINGS
AND WORKSHOPS, and 6) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE
The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters from Paul Vangelisti, George Albon, Lee Hickman, Dave Smith, Bin Ramke, and other
writers and poetry editors. The majority of the correspondence deals with Ronk's writing, including acceptance and rejection
letters from publishers regarding collected and uncollected poetry and prose. This series also contains a small amount of
personal correspondence between Ronk and other writers whom she befriended as an editor of Littoral Book and
The New Review of Literature. This series is arranged in alphabetical order by correspondent.
SERIES 2: WRITINGS BY RONK
The WRITINGS BY RONK series is the largest series in the collection and is arranged in four subseries: A) Articles and Reviews,
B) Unpublished Work, C) Uncollected Published Poetry, and D) Collected Published Poetry.
A) The Articles and Reviews subseries contains articles and drafts, both published and unpublished, written by Ronk. This
subseries also contains art reviews written by Ronk for the journal
Artweek in 1989 and 1990. Materials in this subseries are arranged in alphabetical order.
B) The Unpublished Work subseries includes typescript drafts of collected and uncollected poems written by Ronk. These unpublished
manuscripts include work entitled: "Lost", "Letters from Hong Kong", and "Elegies, Alibis, and Spring".
C) The Uncollected Published Poetry subseries contains individual poems written by Ronk that were published in various poetry
and literary magazines, including
The American Poetry Review,
Talisman. Materials in this subseries are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the journal or publication.
D) The fourth subseries, Collected Published Poetry, contains correspondence, typescript drafts, galley proofs and final drafts
of fourteen of Ronk's published poetry books. These books include typescripts by Ronk, as well as collaborative projects Ronk
worked on with other authors or artists. One of these collaborations is the book
Life in L.A., written by Ronk and other poets in 1983. This publication was printed on oversize paper and published by Paradise Press.
The typescript drafts in this series contain handwritten notes by Ronk that show the evolution of the poems and document the
publication process of each poetry manuscript. This subseries also contains criticism and reviews of some of Ronk's published
poetry that appeared in literary magazines and other publications, such as the
LA Times Book Review. Items in this final subseries are arranged in chronological order.
SERIES 3: EDITORIAL PROJECTS
The third series in this collection, EDITORIAL PROJECTS, contains material from both Littoral Books and
The New Review of Literature journal. Both editorial projects contain correspondence, manuscript submissions, and contact information for contributors
from both publications. The papers pertaining to Littoral Books also contain a galley proof for the cover of
Empire Life by George Albon.
These materials also include reading announcements and flyers from local poets that were sponsored by Littoral Books; these
flyers include an announcement for "A Futurist Dinner," which was the first fundraiser dinner put together for Littoral Books
by Ronk, Phillips, and Vangelisti.
SERIES 4: CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS
The CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS series contains published and unpublished reviews of Ronk's work on collaborative projects, as
well as her work as a whole. This series also contains commentary regarding Ronk's influence on the Southern California poetry
scene over the past twenty years.
SERIES 5: READINGS AND WORKSHOPS
The READINGS AND WORKSHOPS series contains materials from various poetry workshops and conferences in which Ronk participated,
including the Page Mother's Conference at UCSD, the Place as Purpose Conference, and the Poetics of Memory Conference. The
materials from these conferences include correspondence, conference notes and outlines, and panelist writings and submissions.
This series also contains flyers and pamphlets for various poetry readings in which Ronk performed. These readings sometimes
included other poets from the Los Angeles area. Materials in this series are arranged in alphabetical order.
SERIES 6: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS
The final series in the collection, MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, includes a small amount of teaching material from Occidental
College and two articles about Ronk; one mentioning her involvement at a poetry conference, and a second highlighting her
achievement in being awarded the Graham L. Sterling Award for Excellence at Occidental College.
Martha Clare Ronk was born on February 19, 1940, in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her B.A. in English from Wellesley College
in 1962, and her PhD from Yale University in 1968. Her dissertation was entitled "The Theme of Creation in "Paradise Lost,"
under the direction of Louis L. Martz. From 1967 through 1971 Ronk taught at Tufts University as an assistant professor. In
1971 she moved to Los Angeles, where she did her post-doctoral studies at the School of Criticism and Theory at the University
of California, Irvine, in the summer of 1976. In 1980 Ronk took a position at Occidental College as a professor of English
and Comparative Studies; she received the Graham L. Sterling Faculty Award for Excellence from Occidental College in 1990.
In 1990 Ronk, along with Los Angeles writers Paul Vangelisti and Dennis Phillips, created Littoral Books, a co-operative publishing
venture in Los Angeles. Littoral Books published both poetry and prose mainly for authors in Southern California, including
numerous well-known poets such as George Albon, Norma Cole, and Stephen Ratcliffe. Early publications from Littoral Books
were printed with help from Sun & Moon Press. Ronk became co-editor of the journal
The New Review of Literature with Paul Vangelisti and Dennis Phillips in 2002. This journal was a product of the Graduate Writing Program of Otis College
of Art and Design. Each issue included poetry, essays, reviews and criticism of modern literature.
The New Review of Literature ceased publication in 2008 after its tenth issue, and was replaced in February 2009 by
OR: A Literary Tabloid.
Ronk has published over ten books of poetry. Her first book,
Desire in LA, was published in 1990 by the University of Georgia Press. Since then, Ronk has written numerous other books of collected
Desert Geometries: Poems (1992),
State of Mind (1995), and
Eyetrouble (1998). Her most current publication,
Glass Grapes: Stories, is a series of short stories published by BOA Editions Ltd. in 2008.
In 2005 Ronk was awarded the PEN USA award for poetry for her book
In a Landscape of Having to Repeat. In 2006 her book
Vertigo: Poems won the National Poetry Series award and a 2007 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship. Ronk is currently the Irma and
Jay Price Professor of English and Comparative Studies at Occidental College. Her instruction focuses on Renaissance studies,
as well as poetry and fiction writing.
Preferred Citation note
Martha Ronk Papers. MSS 697. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.
Collection is available for research.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Corbett, William, 1942-
American poetry--20th century
Publishers and publishing--United States--Archives
Women poets--United States