Discovering Modern Poetry

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This week we will be building the reading list for the second half of the course. On Tuesday we will begin with a discussion of readings by the influential modern poets T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. Then on Thursday we will meet in the Mason Library archives for an introduction to the Modern Poetry Collection. As you explore poems written in the first half of the twentieth century, and choose a group of poems and a poet for the class to read, you will have the opportunity on Thursday to discover poems in first-edition copies of the books in which they were published. If you have not yet chosen a group of poems or poet, our time in the archive will give you access to a range of poems to explore.

We will be working with a 2100-volume library of first and rare editions of American and Canadian books by a range of poets, including John Ashbery, Elizabeth Bishop, Gwendolyn Brooks, Frank O’Hara, Stanley Kunitz, Robert Lowell, Allen Tate, and William Carlos Williams. The library is a bequest from Frank C. Shuffleton, a Professor of English at the University of Rochester and a long-time summer resident of Harrisville, New Hampshire, who desired a place in the Monadnock region where his library could be shared and enjoyed by the community and serve as a learning resource for poets and students of literature.

Here is an inventory of the books we have in the collection:


The inventory includes abbreviations for notable features of each edition. F = first edition; S =signed by author; SP = signed with a special note by the author; and # = a numbered edition (42 of 300).

The Modern Poetry Collection, inspired by the 2011 bequest of the Shuffelton Library, includes includes the records (fifty linear feet) of Zephyr Press, one of the leading small presses, founded by Ed Hogan in 1980, that specializes in poetry in translation, particularly of the works of poets from Eastern Europe and East Asia. Zephyr Press is best known for publication of the first complete English translation of the works of the Russian poet Anna Akhtamova.

The Modern Poetry Collection includes Aspect Magazine (1969-1980), the creation of Edward J. Hogan, of Somerville, Massachusetts. Hogan was a history major at Northeastern University in March of 1969 when he launched a magazine featuring social and political commentary by a small group of university students. Hogan subsequently expanded that magazine to include poetry, fiction, graphic design, and literary news and reviews. Aspect published many writers, poets, and artists that represented the “Boston Scene” of the late 1960s and 1970s. Issues of Aspect are available in digital format with notes and metadata from Keene State College undergraduate students studying American poetry with professor Mark C. Long.

The Collection also includes the papers of former NH Poet Laureate Patricia Fargnoli, poet and Robert Lowell scholar William Doreski, poet and Worcester Review editor Rodger Martin, and the children’s poet Edwith Newlin Chase.

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