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Guide to the Jack Micheline Papers, 1948-1986
BANC MSS 87/174 c  
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Collection Details
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  • Collection Summary
  • Information for Researchers
  • Administrative Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content

  • Collection Summary

    Collection Title: Jack Micheline Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1948-1986
    Collection Number: BANC MSS 87/174 c
    Creator: Micheline, Jack, 1929-
    Extent: Number of containers: 3 boxes, 5 cartons Linear feet: 7.5
    Repository: The Bancroft Library
    Berkeley, California 94720-6000
    Physical Location: For current information on the location of these materials, please consult the Library's online catalog.
    Abstract: Contains correspondence, manuscripts of his poetry, prose, and plays, notebooks and personal papers, and a few of his drawings.
    Languages Represented: English

    Information for Researchers


    Collection is open for research.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has not been assigned to The Bancroft Library. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Public Services. Permission for publication is given on behalf of The Bancroft Library as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the reader.

    Preferred Citation

    [Identification of item], Jack Micheline Papers, BANC MSS 87/174 c, The Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley.

    Materials Cataloged Separately

    • Photographs have been transferred to Pictorial Collections of The Bancroft Library.
    • Sound recordings of East Bleeker have been transferred to the Microforms Division of The Bancroft Library.

    Administrative Information

    Acquisition Information

    Acquired from Jack Micheline through Jeffrey H. Weinberg of Water Row Books, Inc., Sudbury, Mass., January 22, 1987.


    Jack Micheline, né Harvey Martin Silver, was born in the Bronx in 1929. He quit high school and ran away from home at the age of 16, and at 17 joined the army. In 1949 he went to Israel and worked on a kibbutz in the Negev, and from 1950 to 1957 traveled throughout the United States, working odd jobs to support himself. His first poem was published in the American Friends Service Committee Newsletter in 1954. Moving to Greenwich Village, he became identified with the Beat Poets, although he himself disputes the tag, as well as that of "street poet." In 1957 he won the Revolt in Literature Award at the Half Note Club in the East Village. His first collection, River of Red Wine, was published in 1958.
    In 1963 Micheline married Mimi Redding and they spent a year travelling in France, Spain, England, and the Netherlands. Shortly after their return to the United States, the marriage broke up and Micheline returned to the Village. In February 1964 his only child, Vincent Silver Micheline, was born to a woman he had known before his marriage to Redding.
    Micheline's play, East Bleeker: A Drama with Music, was produced at Café LaMama in 1967. North of Manhattan: Collected Poems, Ballads, and Songs was published in 1976. Skinny Dynamite, a collection of short stories which appeared in 1968 and led to an obscenity trial, was published by Second Coming Press in 1980. Several of his works have been translated into German and Spanish. Recently he has written fewer poems and has become known as a primitive painter.
    Micheline's poetry chronicles the different worlds in which he has lived and travelled, as well as the pain and triumph of being a poet. Much of Micheline's work is meant to be read aloud, and he continues to give poetry readings
    Information taken from Gerald Nicosia 's article in the Dictionary of Literary Biography and from notes by the poet.

    Scope and Content

    The correspondence of Jack Micheline characterizes the personal and financial difficulties of a writer living and working outside of the mainstream culture of his time. Letters to and from his family, friends, acquaintances, publishers, and other business associates reveal a great deal about his personal and creative life. Several well-known figures of the Beat Generation are represented in the correspondence (Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Charles Bukowski, Allen Ginsberg, and others) as well as many lesser-known writers of the era. Included are copies of letters of support for Micheline in his "Skinny Dynamite" obscenity case of 1969 by Norman Mailer, Allen Ginsberg, and others.
    The bulk of the collection consists of Micheline's writing. Many stages of the writing process are in evidence, from the first random jottings to the printed product. A group of notebooks for the years 1958 to 1978 contains notes, poems, pictures, and addresses, chronicling time spent in New York, Boston, San Francisco, and Paris. Also included is a selection of prose works, ranging from short character sketches and descriptions to polished stories, which often introduce subjects treated again in his poetry. The poetry collection, like the prose, has works in all stages of preparation. Frequently there are several manuscript and typescript versions of the same piece, many of which are signed and annotated by the author. A small section of dramatic writings contains the original and working scripts for East Bleeker, as well as other sketches and short plays
    In addition to Micheline's own manuscripts, the collection includes poems addressed to Micheline and a small number of poems collected by Micheline. There are also two folders of his drawings and some personal papers, including his petition to change his name and sketches of Micheline.
    Key to Folder Abbreviations:
    Folders often contain variant versions of the same poem. On the outside of the folder is a list of abbreviations indicating the types of drafts within the folder:
    • ms: autograph manuscript
    • ts: typescript
    • printed: published version
    • photocopy: photocopy made by the author
    • carbon: carbon copy of typescript
    • drafts: texts of the copies are different (either minor or major revisions)
    • annotated: author has revised the text by hand
    • illustrated: page contains drawing as well as text
    • signed: copy signed by author
    • ts [photocopy]: photocopy made by The Bancroft Library. Original is elsewhere in the collection.