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Inventory of the Philip Whalen Correspondence,
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Related collections
  • Indexing Terms
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Processing Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights

  • Collector: Whalen, Philip
    Title: Philip Whalen Correspondence,
    Date (inclusive): 1978-1987
    Extent: 0.8 linear feet
    Abstract: Philip Whalen (1923-2002), American poet of the beat generation, authored Like I Say, On Bear's Head, and The Invention of the Letter, among other works. This collection contains letters to Whalen from his fellow poets, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, Michael McClure, Alice Notley, Gary Snyder, and Anne Waldman.
    Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
    Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Dept. of Special Collections.
    Davis, California 95616-5292
    Collection number: D-492
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English.


    Philip Whalen (1923-2002) graduated from Reed College in 1951 on the GI Bill after serving in the Army Air Corps in World War II. It was at Reed that Whalen met and became friends with poets Gary Snyder and Lew Welch. Several years later, Whalen was one of the poets who read with Snyder and others at the historic Six Gallery reading in San Francisco on October 13, 1955. Allen Ginsberg first performed his poem, Howl, at the Six Gallery reading.
    After spending several years in Japan, Whalen was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1973 and spent two decades in Zen Centers in San Francisco and New Mexico.
    Whalen wrote nearly two dozen books including Memoirs of an Interglacial Age, Like I Say, On Bear's Head, The Kindness of Strangers: Poems, 1969-1974, Canoeing up Cabarga Creek: Buddhist Poems, 1955-1986, and Overtime: Selected Poems.
    He passed away on June 26, 2002.

    Scope and Content

    The collection contains correspondence from poets, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Bernadette Mayer, Michael McClure, Alice Notley, Gary Snyder, and Anne Waldman. The letters which span from 1978-1987 discuss topics such as poetry, fellow poets, and arrangements for poetry readings, among other topics.
    The letters are arranged alphabetically by correspondent.

    Related collections

    The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley holds the Philip Whalen Papers.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
    Whalen, Philip--Archives
    Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005--Correspondence
    Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1997--Correspondence
    Mayer, Bernadette--Correspondence
    McClure, Michael--Correspondence
    Notley, Alice, 1945---Correspondence
    Snyder, Gary, 1930---Correspondence
    Waldman, Anne, 1945---Correspondence
    Poets, American--20th century--Correspondence


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Michael Sherick in 1988.

    Processing Information

    Sara Gunasekara processed these papers and created and encoded this finding aid. Student employee Linda Trach assisted with data entry work.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Phillip Whalen Correspondence, D-492, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.