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Ignatow (David) Papers
MSS 0002  
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Papers of David Ignatow, distinguished American poet.
David Ignatow, distinguished American poet and man of letters, was born in Brooklyn, New York, 7 February 1914, and has spent most of his life in New York City. Ignatow's parents were immigrants. His mother, Yetta Reinbach, from Austria-Hungary, was the illiterate daughter of a forest warden and his father was born a Jew in the Czarist Ukraine. After graduating from high school in 1932, Ignatow was employed as a writer in research by the Federal Government. In 1937, Ignatow married the artist Rose Graubart; their son David was born that year. From 1948 to 1960, Ignatow was office manager at his father's bookbindery, and from 1963 to 1964, before establishing his literary career, he accepted various employment as a Western Union auto messenger, a hospital admitting clerk, and a paper salesman to publishers. While so employed, Ignatow published a first book of poetry, Poems (1948), and later, The Gentle Weight Lifter (1955) and Say Pardon (1961). During the 1950s and early 1960s, Ignatow began to establish his literary career in a series of editorships, the first at the fledgling Beloit Poetry Journal, which Ignatow led from midwestern obscurity to national prominence. He was associated with BPJ from 1949 to 1958, and returned to edit the William Carlos Williams memorial chapbook in 1963. His successful political poetry issue at Chelsea led to an editorship at Nation, held from 1962 to 1963. In 1955, Ignatow's son developed serious mental illness, from which he did not recover. After 1955, Ignatow describes his writing as the record of his son's illness, and of his own recovery, years later, of faith. In 1956, a daughter, Yaedi, was born to Rose and David Ignatow.
37.2 Linear feet (93 archives boxes, 4 map case folders)