Special Collections & University Archives University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries

Poetry (27 collections)
SCUA

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Abramson, Doris E.

Doris E. Abramson Papers, ca.1930-2007.
(25 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 127

Doris Abramson
Doris Abramson

After earning her masters degree from Smith College in 1951, Doris Abramson (class of 1949) returned to UMass in 1953 to become instructor in the English Department, remaining at her alma mater through a long and productive career. An historian of theatre and poet, she was a founding member of the Speech Department, Theatre Department, and the Massachusetts Review. In 1959, a Danforth grant helped Abramson pursue doctoral work at Columbia. Published in 1969, her dissertation, Negro Playwrights in the American Theatre, 1925-1969, was a pioneering work in the field. After her retirement, she and her partner of more than 40 years, Dorothy Johnson, ran the Common Reader Bookshop in New Salem.

An extensive collection covering her entire career, Abramson’s papers are a valuable record of the performing arts at UMass, her research on African American playwrights, her teaching and directing, and many other topics relating to her diverse interests in literature and the arts.

Subjects
  • African-American theater
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Theater
Contributors
  • Abramson, Doris E.

Aczel, Tamas

Tamas Aczel Papers, ca.1950-1994.
18 boxes (26 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 031

Born on Dec. 1, 1921, to a middle class family, Tamas Aczel became affiliated with leftist politics in Hungary prior to the Second World War, joining the Party after. With degrees in literature from Peter Pazmany University (BA 1948) and Eotvos Lorent University (MA 1950), Aczel quickly established a reputation as a literary talent, publishing seven novels and winning the Kossuth Prize (1949) and Stalin Prize for Literature (1952). During this period, he became disenchanted with the Communist government and during the short-lived rebellion in 1956, he served as press secretary for Prime Minister Imre Nagy. When Nagy was deposed, Aczel escaped through Yugoslavia to Austria and then England. In 1966, he was invited to teach modern European literature at UMass, where he became Director of the MFA program (1978-1982). Aczel died in 1994, leaving his wife Olga A. Gyarmati (an Olympic gold medalist in the long jump, 1948) and son Thomas.

The Aczel collection consists primarily of numerous drafts of several novels, including The Hunt (1990), Illuminations (1981), and Ice Age (1965), along with other writing, translations, some student essays, and autobiographical material. Some material is in Hungarian.

Subjects
  • Authors--Massachusetts
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Contributors
  • Aczel, Tamas

Agha, Shahid Ali, 1949-

Shahid Ali Agha Collection, 1972-1979.
2 vols. (0.1 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 636

A poet and translator of Kashmiri descent, Agha Shahid was raised in a household where poetry was recited in Persian, Urdu, Hindi, and English. Born in New Delhi on February 4, 1949, he was educated at the University of Kashmir, Srinagar, and University of Delhi, earning earned a doctorate in English from Pennsylvania State University in 1984 and an MFA from the University of Arizona in 1985. The author of nine volumes of poetry, and widely anthologized, Ali was on faculty in the MFA Program at University of Massachusetts Amherst, when he died of brain cancer in December, 2001.

This small collection contains copies of Ali’s first two books, Bone-Sculpture (1972) and In Memory of Begum Akhtar (1979), a self-produced chapbook, and a rough manuscript of poems. All are inscribed to his colleague and friend Zabelle Stodola.

Subjects
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
Contributors
  • Agha, Shahid Ali, 1949-

Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-

Russell K. Alspach Papers, 1950-1978.
1 box (0.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 025

Russel K. Alspach earned his PhD in 1932 from the University of Pennsylvania where he taught English from 1924-1942. After four years of service in the U.S. Navy during World War II, he spent eighteen years as head of the Department of English at West Point Military Academy before retiring in 1965 with the rank of Brigadier General. A specialist in Irish literature with wide ranging interests running from William Butler Yeats to Percy Blythe Shelley and William Faulkner, Alspach published prolifically throughout his career. He took a post-retirement appointment at UMass in 1966, but hardly retired, eventually becoming Head of the Department of English, and teaching until his final retirement and death in 1980.

The Alspach Papers consist of professional correspondence, drafts of writing, and reviews written by Russell K. Alspach. The small collection includes grant applications and notes for Alspach’s Yeats Study Series, as well as a 3.75 inch monographic recording of readings and music by unidentified artists. The Department of Special Collections and University Archives is also home to the Alspach Yeats Collection of rare books.

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English
  • Yeats, W. B. (William Butler), 1865-1939
Contributors
  • Alspach, Russell K. (Russell King), 1901-

Broadside Press

Broadside Press Collection, 1965-1984.
1 box, 110 vols. (3.5 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 571

Broadside 6
Broadside 6

A significant African American poet of the generation of the 1960s, Dudley Randall was an even more significant publisher of emerging African American poets and writers. Publishing works by important writers from Gwendolyn Brooks to Haki Madhubuti, Alice Walker, Etheridge Knight, Audre Lorde, Amiri Baraka, Nikki Giovanni, and Sonia Sanchez, his Broadside Press in Detroit became an important contributor to the Black Arts Movement.

The Broadside Press Collection includes approximately 200 titles published by Randall’s press during its first decade of operation, the period of its most profound cultural influence. The printed works are divided into five series, Broadside poets (including chapbooks, books of poetry, and posters), anthologies, children’s books, the Broadside Critics Series (works of literary criticism by African American authors), and the Broadsides Series. . The collection also includes a selection of items used in promoting Broadside Press publications, including a broken run of the irregularly published Broadside News, press releases, catalogs, and fliers and advertising cards.

Subjects
  • African American poets
  • African American writers
  • Black Arts Movement
  • Poetry
Contributors
  • Broadside Press
  • Brooks, Gwendolyn, 1917-2000
  • Emanuel, James A
  • Giovanni, Nikki
  • Knight, Etheridge
  • Madhubuti, Haki R., 1942-
  • Randall, Dudley, 1914-
  • Sanchez, Sonia, 1934-
Types of material
  • Broadsides
  • Ephemera
  • Posters

Codey, Regina

Regina Codey Papers, 1936-1978.
1 box (0.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 314

Letters to Regina Codey, writer and chair of English department at Bennett Junior College. Two typescript poems by Robert Francis (“White Sunday Morning” and “Tit for Tat”). Biographical materials about Regina Codey and news clippings about Robert Francis.

Subjects
  • Poetry--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • Codey, Regina
  • Francis, Robert, 1901-1987

DeFrees, Madeline

Madeline De Frees Papers, 1951-1988.
13 boxes (6 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 051

After receiving her MA from the University of Oregon in 1951, Madeline De Frees embarked on a career teaching English and writing to students ranging in age from elementary school to college (University of Montana, Seattle University). Joining the faculty at UMass Amherst in 1979, she served as Director of the MFA program in Creative Writing from 1980 to 1983, retiring in 1985.

The DeFrees Papers are a collection of personal and professional correspondence, poems and other writings, interviews and photographs. Biographical materials, financial records, and interviews comprise the remainder of the collection.

Subjects
  • Poets--Massachusetts
Contributors
  • De Frees, Madeline
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of English

Francis, Robert, 1901-1987

Robert Francis Papers, 1891-1988.
17 boxes (8.25 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 403

Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh, Nov. 1939
Robert Francis, by Frank A. Waugh, Nov. 1939

The poet and essayist Robert Francis settled in Amherst, Mass., in 1926, three years after his graduation from Harvard, and created a literary life that stretched for the better part of half a century. An associate of Robert Frost and friend of many other writers, Francis occasionally worked as a teacher or lecturer, including a brief stint on the faculty at Mount Holyoke College, but he sustained himself largely through his writing, living simply in “Fort Juniper,” a cottage he built on Market Hill Road in North Amherst. A recipient of the Shelley Award (1939) and the Academy of American Poets award for distinguished poetic achievement (1984), Francis was a poet in residence at both Tufts (1955) and Harvard (1960) Universities. He died in Amherst in July 1987.

The Francis Papers contains both manuscript and printed materials, drafts and finished words, documenting the illustrious career of the poet. Of particular note is Francis’s correspondence with other writers, publishing houses, and readers, notably Paul Theroux. Also contains personal photographs and Francis family records and a small number of audio recordings of Francis reading his poetry. Letters from Francis to Regina Codey, 1936-1978, can be found in MS 314 along with two typescript poems by Francis.

Connect to another siteListen to interviews with Francis on Poems to a Listener", 1977-1978
Subjects
  • Amherst (Mass.)--History
  • Poetry--Publishing
  • Poets--Massachusetts
  • University of Massachusetts Press
Contributors
  • Brown, Rosellen
  • Ciardi, John, 1916-
  • De Vries, Peter
  • Fitts, Dudley, 1903-
  • Francis, Robert, 1901-1987
  • Hall, Donald, 1928-
  • Humphries, Rolfe
  • Moore, Marianne, 1887-1972
  • Moss, Howard, 1922-
  • Shawn, Ted, 1891-1972
  • Theroux, Paul
  • Wilbur, Richard, 1921-
Types of material
  • Audiotapes
  • Phonograph records
  • Photographs

Greenbie, Barrie B.

Barrie B. Greenbie Papers, 1934-1997.
17 boxes (19.5 linear feet).
Call no.: FS 142

Barrie Greenbie with g-frame model
Barrie Greenbie with g-frame model

Barrie Barstow Greenbie was a key member of the Department of Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning at UMass Amherst from 1970-1989. In a long and remarkably diverse career, Greenbie worked as an artist with the Works Progress Administration, as a soldier and journalist, as a professor of theater, an architect, inventor, author, and landscape planner. After earning a BA in drama from the University of Miami (1953),he worked for several years in the theatre program at Skidmore College. While there, he added architecture to his array of talents, designing the East 74th Street Theater in New York in 1959, and founded a company to produce a “self-erecting” building designed to substitute for summer tent theaters. Two years after joining the faculty at UMass in 1970, he completed a doctorate in urban affairs and regional planning at the University of Wisconsin and continued with a characteristically broad array of creative pursuits, designing the William Smith Clark Memorial, among other things, and conducting an extensive aerial survey of the landscapes of the Connecticut River Valley. In monographs such as Design for Diversity and Spaces: Dimensions of the Human Landscape, Greenbie examined the interactions between humans and nature. He died at his home on South Amherst in 1998.

The Greenbie Papers document a long career as academic, writer, artist, architect, and theatrical designer. Of particular note is the extensive and engrossing correspondence, which extends from Greenbie’s years as a student at the Taft School in the late 1930s through his World War II service with the Sixth Army in the South Pacific and Japan, to his tenure at UMass Amherst (1970-1989). The collection also includes a small, but interesting correspondence between Greenbie’s parents (1918-1919).

Subjects
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst--Faculty
  • University of Massachusetts Amherst. Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Greenbie, Barrie B

Halley, Anne

Anne Halley Papers, 1886-2004.
11 boxes (7 linear feet).
Call no.: MS 628

Anne Halley, ca.1956
Anne Halley, ca.1956

Writer, editor, and educator, Anne Halley was born in Bremerhaven, Germany in 1928. A child during the Holocaust, she relocated with her family to Olean, New York during the late 1930s so that her father, who was Jewish, could resume his practice of medicine. Graduating from Wellesley and the University of Minnesota, Halley married a fellow writer and educator, Jules Chametzky, in 1958. Together they raised three sons in Amherst, Massachusetts where Chametzky was a professor of English at UMass and Halley taught and wrote. It was during the late 1960s through the 1970s that she produced the first two of her three published collections of poetry. The last was published in 2003 the year before she died from complications of multiple myeloma at the age of 75.

Drafts of published and unpublished short stories and poems comprise the bulk of this collection. Letters to and from Halley, in particular those that depict her education at Wellesley and her professional life during the 1960s-1980s, make up another significant portion of her papers. Publisher’s correspondence and a draft of Halley’s afterward document the Chametzkys effort to release a new edition of Mary Doyle Curran’s book, The Parish and the Hill, for which Halley and Chametzky oversaw the literary rights. Photographs of Halley’s childhood in Germany and New York as well as later photographs that illustrate the growth of her own family in Minnesota and Massachusetts offer a visual representation of her remarkable professional and pesonal life.

Subjects
  • Curran, Mary Doyle, 1917-1981
  • Jews--Germany--History--1933-1945
  • Poets, American--20th century
  • Women authors, American
  • Women poets, American
  • World War, 1939-1945
Contributors
  • Chametzky, Jules
  • Halley, Anne

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