Jump to Content

Collection Guide
Collection Title:
Collection Number:
Get Items:
Dennis Phillips Papers
MSS 0223  
View entire collection guide What's This?
PDF (109.02 Kb) HTML
Search this collection
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: Phillips, Dennis
    Title: Dennis Phillips Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1971 - 1998
    Extent: 14.25 linear feet (35 archives boxes, 1 oversize folder)
    Abstract: Papers of Dennis Phillips, a Los Angeles poet who has also worked as poetry editor for the LOS ANGELES WEEKLY and as book review editor for the literary magazine SULFUR. The accession, covering the years 1971-1992, includes notebooks and typescripts for all of Phillips's literary production up to 1992. Six of his published books are represented in the accession: FRONTIER (1980), THE HERO IS NOTHING (1985), A WORLD (1989), MEANS (1991), ARENA (1991), and 20 QUESTIONS (1992). The collection also includes a small collection of correspondence to Phillips from other contemporary writers and editors. Prominent correspondents include Donald Allen, George Butterick, Clayton Eshleman, Nate Mackey, and David Trinidad, among others. The papers are arranged in two series: 1) WRITINGS and 2) CORRESPONDENCE. The accession processed in 1999 includes personal correspondence dated 1992-1998, and correspondence (1979-1980) relevant to Phillip's editorial position at the LOS ANGELES WEEKLY. Also included are annotated drafts for BOOK OF HOURS, CREDENCE, NEW, SAND, and 20 QUESTIONS; drafts of shorter, uncollected writings; and, notebooks (1990-1995). The accession is arranged in three series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS, and 3) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0223
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English


    Collection is open for research.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Dennis Phillips Papers, MSS 0223. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.


    Dennis Phillips was born in 1951. In 1973 Phillips graduated from the California Institute of the Arts, having earned his BFA degree. In 1974 he moved to New York, where he undertook a year of study in the Graduate Classics Department at New York University. In 1979-1980, Phillips taught literature and writing with the Humanities Department at Otis Parsons Art Institute, and at the same time assumed responsibilities as poetry editor at L.A. WEEKLY. His experience as editor there led to his becoming book review editor at the important magazine SULFUR. From April 1985 until July 1988, Phillips served as Director and President of Beyond Baroque, the new writing collective located in Venice, California. Phillips currently holds a position as senior instructor in the Department of Liberal Arts and Science at the Art College of Design.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Accession Processed in 1993
    The Dennis Phillips papers contain the many manuscripts and typescripts of Phillips's published and unpublished poetry, as well as typescripts of a small body of unpublished (or privately published) prose works, plays, and screenplays. There is a small correspondence collection, containing little biographical material. The collection is organized into two series: 1) WRITINGS and 2) CORRESPONDENCE.
    The WRITINGS series contains large, well-filled notebooks from which all of Phillips's published poetry is drawn. The editorial process of selection or elimination is made easy to follow by Phillips's editorial notes on typescript pages copied from handwritten notebook pages. Because the typescript pages are not dated there is sometimes difficulty placing them. Undated pages are left in large batches, as first arranged by Dennis Phillips.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series is for the most part limited to the professional business of editors and publishers. While the Phillips correspondence collection is not generally revealing, there are still highly interesting exchanges between Phillips and the two most influential alternative-tradition editors in Southern California, Leland Hickman and Clayton Eshleman. Some copies and first drafts provide a record of Phillips's complicated responses and provocations to both of them. There is also an important letter addressed to Art Aveilhe, publisher, the first professional reader to recognize the value of Phillips's work. Dated October 1, 1977, this letter offers a synopsis of Phillips's first book, THE FRONTIER, and recounts the frustration felt by an undeservedly undiscovered writer.
    Accession Processed in 1999
    The accession processed in 1999 consists primarily of annotated drafts of Phillips's writings, correspondence (1972-1998) and notebooks (1990-1995).
    The accession is arranged in three series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS and MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.
    The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically, includes correspondence, bulk dates 1992-1998, relevant to Phillips's career as a writer and letters related to his editorial position at the LOS ANGELES WEEKLY. Prominent correspondents include Ray DiPalma, Fanny Howe, Douglas Messerli, and Stephen Redcliffe.
    The WRITINGS series is arranged in two subseries: A) Poetry and Prose, and B) Notebooks. The Poetry and Prose subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains annotated drafts of published and unpublished writings, including A BOOK OF HOURS, CREDENCE, NEW, and SAND. The Notebooks subseries, arranged chronologically, consists of Phillips's bound notebooks (1990-1995) containing largely verse with notes, jottings and occasional diary entries.
    The MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS series contains reading announcements, photographs of Phillips and a datebook.

    Indexing Terms

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


    Phillips, Dennis -- Archives
    American poetry -- 20th century


    Phillips, Dennis. -- Hero is nothing
    Phillips, Dennis. -- Book of hours
    Phillips, Dennis. -- Credence
    Phillips, Dennis. -- Sand
    Phillips, Dennis. -- World
    Phillips, Dennis. -- Arena
    Phillips, Dennis. -- 20 Questions
    Allen, Donald Merriam, 1912- , -- correspondent
    Andrews, Bruce, 1948- , -- correspondent
    Benson, Steve, 1949- , -- correspondent
    Butterick, George F., -- correspondent
    Corbett, William, 1942- , -- correspondent
    Eshleman, Clayton, -- correspondent
    Fraser, Kathleen, 1937- , -- correspondent
    Guest, Barbara, -- correspondent
    Howe, Fanny, -- correspondent
    Howe, Susan, 1937- -- correspondent
    Mackey, Nathaniel, 1947- , -- correspondent
    Messerli, Douglas, 1947- , -- correspondent
    Morrow, Bradford, 1951- , -- correspondent
    Palmer, Michael, 1943- , -- correspondent
    Scalapino, Leslie, -- correspondent
    Silliman, Ronald, 1946- , -- correspondent
    Wakoski, Diane, -- correspondent
    Waldrop, Rosmarie, -- correspondent
    Ross, Joe, 1960- -- correspondent
    DiPalma, Ray, -- correspondent
    Harryman, Carla, -- correspondent