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Register of the Martha Ronk Papers MSS.697
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  • Scope and Contents note
  • Biographical/Historical note
  • Preferred Citation note
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  • Title: Martha Ronk Papers
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS.697
    Contributing Institution: Mandeville Special Collections Library
    Language of Material: English
    Physical Description: 4.6 lin. ft. (9 archives boxes and 11 oversize folders)
    Date (inclusive): 1983-2008
    Abstract: 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 (1995), Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001), and Why/Why Not (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.
    creator: 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.
    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.
    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 Hambone, The American Poetry Review, HOW(ever), and 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.
    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.
    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.
    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.
    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.

    Biographical/Historical note

    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 poems, including 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

    Albon, George
    Corbett, William, 1942-
    DiPalma, Ray
    Eshleman, Clayton
    Guest, Barbara
    Vangelisti, Paul
    American poetry--20th century
    Publishers and publishing--United States--Archives
    Women poets--United States