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George Oppen Papers
MSS 0016  
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Collection Overview
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Literary papers of George Oppen (1908-1984), objectivist poet and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1969. Most of the materials date from the period 1958-1978. Included are manuscripts and typescripts for all the poems contained in Oppen's nine published books -- DISCRETE SERIES (1934), THE MATERIALS (1962), THIS IN WHICH (1965), OF BEING NUMEROUS (1968), ALPINE (1969), SEASCAPE: NEEDLE'S EYE (1972), COLLECTED POEMS (London, 1973; New York, 1975), and PRIMITIVE (1978). Also included are drafts and fragments of unpublished poems, typescripts of published and unpublished essays, transcripts of Oppen's verse, and copies of reviews of Oppen's work. Of special interest are loose leaf pages of notes, and Oppen's personal daybooks, all of which help to reveal his thinking about diverse subjects. The largest part of the collection consists of correspondence to Oppen from family members, editors, poets and other writers, and admirers of Oppen's work. Notable correspondents include: Paul Auster, Anthony Barnett, Rachel Blau DuPlessis, William Bronk, John Crawford, Ted Enslin, Michael Heller, David Ignatow, James Laughlin, Jon Martin, Charles Reznikoff, Harvey Shapiro, John Taggart, Charles Tomlinson, Eliot Weinberger, William Carlos Williams and Louis Zukofsky. The collection is arranged in ten series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) NOTES, JOTTINGS, ETC., 3) DAYBOOKS, 4) POETRY, 5) READING MANUSCRIPTS, 6) PROSE, 1962-1984, 7) INTERVIEWS, 1968-1980, 8) TRANSLATIONS OF OPPEN'S POETRY, 9) REVIEWS AND EPHEMERA, and 10) MICROFILM. The additions processed in 1989 include Oppen's letters to critic Henry Weinfield and John Crawford, two letters from William Bronk, a typescript of a poem based on a phrase from a poem by Charles Reznikoff, a transcript of a 1973 BBC interview, a brochure from a 1986 exhibit of "This In Which," a program from Oppen's "75th Birthday Tribute" at the Poetry Center (1983), an "In Memorium" article by Hugh Kenner, a Certificate of Honor presented to him by the city of San Francisco, a typescript of Naomi Replansky's "The Darkening Green", a mock up of Mark Linenthal's "Growing Light", published versions of THE MATERIALS and THIS IN WHICH with author's annotations and editions, and a small collection of newspaper articles written about the poet. The 1989 additions are not on the microfilm.
Oppen was born in 1908 in New Rochelle, New York, the son of George A. Oppen and Elsie Rothfeld Oppen. He died in 1984 in San Francisco, a victim of Alzheimer's Disease.
14.40 linear feet (34 archives boxes, 33 rolls black and white microfilm and 1 oversize folder)
Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.
The George Oppen papers, except for the 1989 accession, can be used only in microfilm. Microfilm of the collection is currently housed in FB-070-01. Researchers wishing to use the original materials must first obtain the permission of the Director of the Mandeville Special Collections Library. This restriction does not apply to the materials processed in 1989.