Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: Kathleen Fraser Papers
Fraser, Kathleen, 1935-
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0529
43 Linear feet
(104 archives boxes, 3 card file boxes, 1 tube, and 4 oversize folders)
of digital files
Date (inclusive): 1909-2019
Abstract: Papers of Kathleen Fraser (1935-2019), American poet, teacher and scholar. Influenced by the experimental poets of the New
York School in the 1960s, Fraser became a prolific poet, an advocate of innovative women's writing, and a professor of creative
writing at San Francisco State University. The collection contains correspondence with prominent poets and scholars; manuscript
and typescript drafts of Fraser's published and unpublished poetry and prose; administrative and production materials related
to the literary magazine
HOW(ever); interviews with Fraser; teaching materials; sound and video recordings; and digital media.
Scope and Content of Collection
The Kathleen Fraser Papers document the literary and professional career of a prolific poet, advocate of innovative women's
writing and professor of creative writing at San Francisco State University. Materials include correspondence with prominent
poets and scholars, manuscript and typescript drafts of Fraser's published and unpublished poetry and prose; administrative
and production materials related to the literary magazine
HOW(ever); interviews with Fraser; teaching materials; sound and video recordings, and digital media.
Accession Processed in 2002
Arranged in nine series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) HOW(EVER) MATERIALS, 3) WRITINGS BY FRASER, 4) WRITINGS BY OTHERS, 5) TEACHING
MATERIALS, 6) CONFERENCES, 7) INTERVIEWS WITH/BY AND ARTICLES ON FRASER, 8) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, and 9) RECORDINGS.
Accession Processed in 2007
Arranged in eight series: 10) CORRESPONDENCE, 11) HOW2 ONLINE JOURNAL MATERIALS, 12) WRITINGS BY FRASER, 13) TEACHING MATERIALS,
14) CONFERENCES, 15) INTERVIEWS WITH/BY FRASER AND ARTICLES ON FRASER, 16) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, and 17) SOUND RECORDINGS.
Accessions Processed in 2019-2020
Arranged in six series: 18) BIOGRAPHICAL, 19) CORRESPONDENCE, 20) WRITINGS, 21) PHOTOGRAPHS, 22) SOUND RECORDINGS, and 23)
Kathleen Joy Fraser was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 1935 and attended high school in Covina, California. After discovering
the work of writers such as Virginia Woolf, Walt Whitman and e.e. cummings while a student at Occidental College, Fraser decided
to major in English literature and began to write her own poetry. She graduated in 1959 and moved to New York City where she
developed her skills as a poet in workshops with Kenneth Koch and Robert Lowell at the New School for Social Research and
with Stanley Kunitz at the Poetry Center at the YMHA.
In Kunitz's poetry workshop, Fraser met her first husband, poet Jack Marshall, whom she married in 1960. Their son David was
born in 1966, and they soon relocated to San Francisco. Fraser also used the name Kathleen Fraser Marshall during her marriage.
In 1969, they were both offered teaching positions at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. After their separation in 1970, Fraser became
director of the Poetry Center (1972-1975) and professor of creative writing (1972-1992) at San Francisco State University.
In addition to teaching poetry workshops and seminars, she founded the American Poetry Archives and compiled a video anthology
featuring women poets entitled
Women Working in Literature (1992).
Responding to the need for a place to discuss women's language issues and to publish experimentalist poetry by women, Fraser
founded the journal
HOW(ever). From 1983 to 1992, Fraser published the work of living women poets and recovered the neglected work of modernist women poets
such as H.D., Mina Loy, and Mary Butts. Fraser continued this investigation into innovative women's writing through the online
How2 which she edited from 1999 to 2000. Fraser handed over the position as editor-in-chief to Australian scholar Ann Vickery
in 2001 to allow more time for her own writing.
Fraser has published many volumes of poetry, including:
Change of Address and Other Poems (1966);
In Defiance (of the Rains) (1969);
Little Notes to You, From Lucas Street: Poems 1970-1971 (1972);
What I Want (1974);
New Shoes (1978);
Each Next: Narratives (1980);
Something (even human voices) in the foreground, a lake (1984);
Notes Preceding Trust (1987);
From a Text (1993);
When New Time Folds Up (1993);
il cuore: The Heart, Selected Poems 1970-1995 (1996);
h i dde violeth i dde violet (2003);
Discrete Categories Forced into Coupling (2004);
ii ss (with Hermine Ford) (2011); and
movable TYYPE (2011). Selections from her work were recorded on
Even Human Voices (1986). She has also published a collection of critical essays,
Translating the Unspeakable: Poetry and the Innovative Necessity (2000).
Fraser's poetry has been published in numerous journals and magazines since the late 1950s, and she has given readings and
talks on poetry across the United States, as well as in Italy and Japan. Her poetry is characterized by a technically sophisticated
deconstruction of language that is highly innovative. In addition to displaying her technical skill, Fraser's poetry is also
intensely emotional, meditative, playful, and lyrical. Fraser divided her time between San Francisco and Rome with her second
husband, the philosopher and playwright Arthur K. Bierman, whom she married in 1985. Fraser died on February 5, 2019 in Emeryville,
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
Kathleen Fraser Papers, MSS 529. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Acquired 2000, 2006, 2019.
Materials in box 40, folders 10-15 are restricted until the year 2052, according to state and federal laws. Materials in box
40, folders 16-17 are restricted until the year 2077, according to state and federal laws. Original audiovisual and digital
media are restricted; listening/viewing copies may be available to researchers.
The collection contains a small number of individually described digital files, in addition to a large series of files (Series
23: DIGITAL MEDIA) that contains the content of one hard drive, one iBook G4 laptop, and one flash drive.
Subjects and Indexing Terms
Women poets, American
American poetry -- 20th century
HOW(ever) (San Francisco : 1983)
Bernstein, Charles, 1950-
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005
DuPlessis, Rachel Blau
Howe, Susan, 1937-
Silliman, Ronald, 1946-
Fraser, Kathleen, 1935- -- Archives