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Maureen Owen Papers
MSS 0567  
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Owen, Maureen, 1943-
    Title: Maureen Owen Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1970-2000
    Extent: 11.80 linear feet (29 archives boxes, 1 card file box and 8 oversize folders)
    Abstract: Papers of Maureen Owen, poet, editor, publisher and coordinator/director of the St. Mark's Poetry Project (1976-1980). The papers contain correspondence with colleagues, including Rebecca Brown, Bernadette Mayer, Susan Howe, and Ron Padgett; poetry manuscripts and drafts; production materials for published collected works; typescript drafts for collaborative works; and personal notebooks and journals. Also contains files documenting the activities of the St. Mark's Poetry Project, especially reports and minutes of the board of directors (1984-1986) and the advisory board (1980-1984); grants; and special events and readings. Less well represented are materials for her publications Telephone Books and Telephone magazine. Also included are materials for workshops and classes taught by Owen, biographical materials and recordings of Owen's readings. The papers are arranged in seven series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) EDITORIAL PROJECTS, 3) TEACHING MATERIALS, 4) WRITINGS, 5) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 6) NOTEBOOKS AND JOURNALS, and 7) RECORDINGS.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0567
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Maureen Owen Papers, MSS 0567. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    Maureen Owen was born in 1943 in Graceville, Minnesota. She has travelled to and lived in Japan where she was influenced by Japanese haiku, renku, and Zen Buddhism. In 1969, Owen began publishing and editing Telephone Books and Telephone magazine, a press and magazine that began in mimeograph format.
    During the 1970s, Owen worked as coordinator and director (1976-1980) of the St. Mark's Poetry Project in New York City and served on the board of directors. She also was active as an instructor of numerous writing workshops at St. Mark's. Owen served on the board of directors of the Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines both as a member and as vice chairperson.
    Her academic career includes teaching courses in creative writing and research at the Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1999, as well as mentoring workshops at Swarthmore College and St. Joseph's College in Connecticut. She received a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship grant in 1979-1980, awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts in 1998, and the Los Angeles Times Book Festival Prize in 1999.
    Owen's publications include COUNTRY RUSH (1973), NO TRAVELS JOURNAL (1975), A BRASS CHOIR APPROACHES THE BURIAL GROUND in BIG DEAL 5 (1977), HEARTS IN SPACE (1980), AE (AMELIA EARHART) (1984), ZOMBIE NOTES (1986), IMAGINARY INCOME (1992), UNTAPPED MAPS (1993) and AMERICAN RUSH (1998). Her poems have also appeared in many anthologies and magazines from ANHOI to Z Magazine. Her title AMELIA EARHART won a Before Columbus American Book Award for Poetry in 1985.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    The papers of Maureen Owen document Owen's career as a writer, editor and teacher. The collection also highlights her written influences, as defined by her working and personal relationships. Materials include correspondence with other writers and family members, editorial work on publications, teaching materials, manuscripts and working papers, notebooks, audio and videorecordings, and other miscellaneous material such as appointment books, reading announcements and photographs.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically, is primarily to and from various family, friends, and artistic and literary figures. Included are substantial letters from Rebecca Brown, Ed Friedman, Fanny Howe, Susan Howe, Bernadette Mayer, Pat Nolan, and Tom Weigel.
    The EDITORIAL PROJECTS series is arranged in two subseries: A) St. Mark's Poetry Project and B) TELEPHONE.
    A) The St. Mark's Poetry Project subseries documents Owen's administrative role with the Project as editor of the newsletter, program coordinator, and member of the board of directors. She also had an active role in teaching and creating many of the writing workshops. This subseries also contains the poster and flyer announcements for the reading programs and workshops (1966-2000).
    B) The Telephone subseries consists of correspondence, grant applications, reports, receipts, invoices, and other materials related to Owen's position as editor and publisher of Telephone Books and Telephone magazine beginning in 1969.
    The TEACHING MATERIALS series contains workshop and academic materials arranged in two subseries: A) Workshops and B) Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.
    A) The Workshops subseries consists of written exercises, zine collaboratives, and miscellaneous notes concerning Owen's involvement as a teacher of creative and constructive writing workshops between 1981-1999. Most notable workshops include the Naropa Institute Summer Writing Program and the Page Mothers Conference at University of California, San Diego.
    B) The second subseries contains class material for courses taught at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania in 1999. This includes syllabi, class notebooks, assignments, and written exams for the following courses: English 102 - Writing and Research and English 301 - Creative Writing. This subseries also contains the poetry and prose Owen read for the "W2K: Women on the Verge" workshops at Edinboro University.
    The WRITING series is comprised of four subseries: A) Uncollected Work, B) Collected Work, C) Collaborations, and D) Working Papers. These are arranged chronologically with exception of the working papers, which have maintained the order in which they were received.
    A) The Uncollected Work subseries contains individual poem typescripts, biographies and reviews of other literary figures' work. Included in this subseries is the Maureen Owen issue of BIG DEAL 5 containing the work A BRASS CHOIR APPROACHES THE BURIAL GROUND (1977).
    B) Included in the Collected subseries are manuscript and typescript drafts of Owen's published volumes from 1973-1999, as well as mock-up copies, reviews, uncorrected proof copies, and press proofs. In a few instances, there also exists a few additional book covers and duplicates of the cover images.
    C) The Collaborations subseries mainly consists of literary correspondence with other writers, constructing collective renku, a Japanese style of poetry with linked stanzas of alternating lengths. Most notable is the poem entitled "Worlds in Love" collaborated by Maureen Owen, Anne Waldman, and Lewis MacAdams (1973).
    D) The final subseries in the series consists entirely of working papers. Included are drafts and notes of works-in-progress most of which are undated. Included, however, are typescript drafts of Owen's earliest work during her high school years.
    Included in the MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series are mainly biographical documents including historical family documents, high school yearbooks, resumes, biographies, photographs and an extensive collection of appointment books from 1976-1998. The series also contains transcripts of interviews, award documents, reading announcements and various source materials of newspaper clippings and postcards.
    The NOTEBOOKS AND JOURNALS series consists of Owen's working manuscript notes and impressions and in some cases, daily activities. The majority of the notebooks' dates cannot be ascertained. Included, however, are journals from her travels to Japan in 1965 and Ireland in 1992.
    The RECORDINGS series is divided into three subseries according to format: A) Cassette Audiorecordings, B) Cassette Videorecording, and C) Reel-to-Reel Audiorecordings.
    A) The Cassette Audiorecording subseries contains selected readings from AE (AMELIA EARHART), IMAGINARY INCOME, UNTAPPED MAPS, and ZOMBIE NOTES all read by the author.
    B) The Videorecordings subseries contains the videos of POETS IN PERFORMANCE featuring Barbara Barg, John Giorno, Maureen Owen, Anne Waldman, and Ted Berrigan, as well as a reading at Intersection in San Francisco featuring Maureen Owen and Ed Sanders. The third video is an interview taken with Owen by Judy Logue from Ninety-Niners, Inc. at the Owen residence in Connecticut.
    C) The reel-to-reel audiorecording subseries contains a performance by poet Kenneth Koch.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.


    Owen, Maureen, 1943- -- Archives
    St. Mark's Church In-the-Bowery (New York, N.Y.). -- Poetry Project
    American poetry -- 20th century


    Brown, Rebecca -- correspondent
    Howe, Fanny -- correspondent
    Friedman, Ed, 1950- -- correspondent
    Howe, Susan, 1937- -- correspondent
    Mayer, Bernadette -- correspondent
    Nolan, Pat, 1943- -- correspondent
    Weigel, Tom. -- correspondent