Scope and Content of Collection
Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego
9500 Gilman Drive
La Jolla 92093-0175
Title: David Ignatow Papers
Identifier/Call Number: MSS 0002
37.2 Linear feet
(93 archives boxes, 4 map case folders)
Date (inclusive): 1929-1994
Abstract: Papers of David Ignatow, distinguished American poet.
Scope and Content of Collection
Papers of David Ignatow, distinguished American poet. In the 1950s and 1960s, Ignatow edited several important periodicals,
The Beloit Poetry Journal (co-editor, 1950-1959),
Nation (poetry editor, 1962-1963),
Chelsea (consulting editor, 1969-1971), and the
American Poetry Review (editor-at-large, 1972-1976). Ignatow taught at many colleges and universities including the New School for Social Research
(1964-1965), Southampton College (1967-1968), and Columbia University (1969-1976). The collection was processed in four major
sections over time.
Accessions Processed in 1987
Includes manuscripts and typescripts of poems, notebooks, and extensive correspondence dated from the 1930s to the 1970s,
though most of the material dates from 1955-1971.
Arranged in four series (following the author's own arrangement): 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) NOTEBOOKS, 3) PUBLISHED POETRY, and
4) MISCELLANEOUS: REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS AND EPHEMERA.
Accessions Processed in 1989
A substantial addition of correspondence and fifteen of the poet's spiral-bound notebooks dated from 1978 to 1988. Also includes
typescripts and proof pages of three of Ignatow's more recent books,
New and Collected Poems, 1970-1985,
The One in the Many, and
Whisper in the Dark.
Arranged in seven series: 5) CORRESPONDENCE, 6) NOTEBOOKS, 7) PUBLISHED AND UNPUBLISHED POETRY, 8) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, 9)
REVIEWS, INTERVIEWS, MISCELLANEOUS AND EPHEMERA, 10) FINANCIAL RECORDS, 11) AUDIO-VISUAL MATERIALS and 12) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION
Accessions Processed in 1993
Contains a chronological collection of original manuscripts and typescripts of Ignatow's poems and prose from the early 1930s
to the late 1980s, correspondence, several notebooks, a collection of essays and reviews of his work, and the writings of
Arranged in eight series: 13) CORRESPONDENCE, 14) WRITINGS, 15) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 16) WRITINGS OF OTHERS, 17) ARTICLES
ABOUT IGNATOW, 18) REVIEWS OF IGNATOW'S BOOKS, 19) INTERVIEWS, and 20) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
Accessions Processed in 1994
Contains correspondence, annotated poetry drafts, short stories and articles, book production materials for
Against the Evidence (1993) and
Gleanings: The Uncollected Poems of the Fifties broadsides, drafts of opening remarks he gave at various ceremonies, drafts of statements he made, copies and video tapes
of interviews, and some ephemera. Most material dates from the 1970s and 1980s.
Arranged in six series: 21) CORRESPONDENCE, 22) WRITINGS, 23) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 24) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, 25) RESTRICTED
MATERIALS, AND 26) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
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
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.
In his academic and literary career, Ignatow was Instructor at the New School for Social Research, New York (1964-1965);
Visiting Lecturer, University of Kansas, Lawrence (1966-1967); and at Vassar College, Poughkeepsie, New York (1967-1969).
He was Poet in residence at York College of the City University of New York (1969), and from 1969, on faculty at Columbia
University's School of the Arts. In the 1960s, Ignatow was active in opposition to the war in Vietnam. He participated in
mass demonstrations and read at political poetry readings. He also supported the Berkeley free speech movement and the Afro-American
struggle for equality. Among honors bestowed on Ignatow have been two Guggenheim Fellowships, an Award from the National Institute
of Arts and Letters (1964), the Poetry Society's Shelley Memorial Award (1966), and, in 1977, the Bollingen Prize.
For further reference, see Joseph Lipari's complete bibliography,
The Poetry of David Ignatow: An Introduction and Bibliography of Primary Sources, 1931-1978 (University of Washington, 1983).
COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. ALLOW ONE WEEK FOR RETRIEVAL OF MATERIALS
David Ignatow Papers, MSS 2. Special Collections & Archives, UC San Diego.
Correspondence in box 13, folder 19 is restricted. The recommendations Ignatow wrote for colleagues and students listed in
box 93, folders 47-52, are restricted for 75 years after their receipt, i.e., until 2069. Also, the recordings in the collection
are restricted. Researchers must request user copies be produced
Subjects and Indexing Terms
American poetry -- 20th century
Ignatow, David, 1914-1997 -- Archives
Williams, William Carlos, 1883-1963 -- Correspondence
Hall, Donald, 1928-2018 -- Correspondence
Oppen, George -- Correspondence
Hindus, Milton -- Correspondence
Olson, Charles, 1910-1970 -- Correspondence
Honig, Edwin -- Correspondence
Mills, Ralph J. -- Correspondence
Levertov, Denise, 1923-1997 -- Correspondence
Lowenfels, Walter, 1897-1976 -- Correspondence
Bly, Robert -- Correspondence
Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005 -- Correspondence
Antin, David -- Correspondence
Dahlberg, Edward, 1900-1977 -- Correspondence
Berg, Stephen, 1934-2014 -- Correspondence
Ginsberg, Allen, 1926-1927 -- Correspondence
Berry, Wendell, 1934- -- Correspondence
Zukofsky, Louis, 1904-1978 -- Correspondence
Wakoski, Diane -- Correspondence
Rothenberg, Jerome, 1931- -- Correspondence
Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976 -- Correspondence
Pearce, Roy Harvey -- Correspondence
Burnshaw, Stanley, 1906-2005 -- Correspondence