Join us for this “virtual reading” that will feature newly digitized recordings from the large archive of poetry readings created by poet and translator Paul Blackburn [1926-1971]. Blackburn played an important role in the New York poetry community, and his archive has been described as “the most comprehensive oral history of the New York poetry scene between the late 1950s and 1970.”
Thursday, May 7
4:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Seuss Room, Geisel Library
The readings that Blackburn recorded are now being digitized by the UC San Diego Library. They were indexed soon after their acquisition in 1973 by UC San Diego Literature Professor Michael Davidson, who had recently been hired as the first curator of the Archive for New Poetry and who was instrumental in acquiring the final segment of Blackburn’s papers. During his tenure as curator, he built the Archive for New Poetry into one of the world’s preeminent collections documenting experimental post-WW II poetry and has continued to promote it and to advise the Library on its subsequent development. The event will honor Davidson’s many contributions to the Library over the past 40 years. An exhibit of his own works and manuscripts will be on display at the reception following the reading. This event is free and open to the public.
About Paul Blackburn and the Archive for New Poetry’s Blackburn Collection
Blackburn was at the forefront of New York’s poetry scene where he helped unexperienced poets develop their careers through logistical and emotional support, and often times found himself organizing opportunities for these up-and-comers to read for both unknown and established writers. Blackburn’s impact didn’t stop there; between 1955 and 1980 he authored 19 books of poetry, the last six appearing posthumously, and translated the work of world-renowned writers such as Pablo Picasso, Federico Garcia Lorca and Julio Cortazar. He was also a contributing editor of the Black Mountain Review and the poetry editor of The Nation.
In addition to the audio recordings, the Archive for New Poetry’s Blackburn collection also includes photographs, manuscripts and typescripts of poems, translations dated from the 1940s through the early 1970s, and materials relating to the business aspects of Blackburn’s career, including contracts, reading schedules and some business correspondence.
The audio recordings of oral poetry readings in the Blackburn collection have been in danger of deteriorating and require obsolete equipment to enjoy them. The Library is currently in the process of digitizing the entire collection to preserve its rich history, which will soon be available on the Library’s Digital Collections website. You can currently access more information about the Paul Blackburn Papers through the Special Collections & Archives website.