Abstract

Papers of Martha Ronk, fiction writer, editor, and American poet. The papers primarily document Ronk's literary correspondence, poetry manuscripts, and editorial projects from the mid-1980s to 2008. The bulk of the collection is made up of Ronk's poetry manuscripts and typescript drafts from her published poetry collections, including State of Mind (1995), Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001), and Why/Why Not (2003). Also included are numerous typescript drafts of individual poems by Ronk, correspondence with other writers and poets, and editorial work for Littoral Books and The New Review of Literature.

Biographical/Historical note

Martha Clare Ronk was born on February 19, 1940, in Cleveland, Ohio. She received her B.A. in English from Wellesley College in 1962, and her PhD from Yale University in 1968. Her dissertation was entitled "The Theme of Creation in "Paradise Lost," under the direction of Louis L. Martz. From 1967 through 1971 Ronk taught at Tufts University as an assistant professor. In 1971 she moved to Los Angeles, where she did her post-doctoral studies at the School of Criticism and Theory at the University of California, Irvine, in the summer of 1976. In 1980 Ronk took a position at Occidental College as a professor of English and Comparative Studies; she received the Graham L. Sterling Faculty Award for Excellence from Occidental College in 1990.

In 1990 Ronk, along with Los Angeles writers Paul Vangelisti and Dennis Phillips, created Littoral Books, a co-operative publishing venture in Los Angeles. Littoral Books published both poetry and prose mainly for authors in Southern California, including numerous well-known poets such as George Albon, Norma Cole, and Stephen Ratcliffe. Early publications from Littoral Books were printed with help from Sun & Moon Press. Ronk became co-editor of the journal The New Review of Literature with Paul Vangelisti and Dennis Phillips in 2002. This journal was a product of the Graduate Writing Program of Otis College of Art and Design. Each issue included poetry, essays, reviews and criticism of modern literature. The New Review of Literature ceased publication in 2008 after its tenth issue, and was replaced in February 2009 by OR: A Literary Tabloid.

Ronk has published over ten books of poetry. Her first book, Desire in LA, was published in 1990 by the University of Georgia Press. Since then, Ronk has written numerous other books of collected poems, including Desert Geometries: Poems (1992), State of Mind (1995), and Eyetrouble (1998). Her most current publication, Glass Grapes: Stories, is a series of short stories published by BOA Editions Ltd. in 2008.

In 2005 Ronk was awarded the PEN USA award for poetry for her book In a Landscape of Having to Repeat. In 2006 her book Vertigo: Poems won the National Poetry Series award and a 2007 National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship. Ronk is currently the Irma and Jay Price Professor of English and Comparative Studies at Occidental College. Her instruction focuses on Renaissance studies, as well as poetry and fiction writing.

Scope and Contents note

The Martha Ronk Papers contain materials documenting her activities as a poet, publisher, editor, and fiction writer, and features manuscripts of poetry and prose which date from 1983 through 2008. The papers also include editorial materials related to both Littoral Books and the journal The New Review of Literature, poetry workshops, poetry reading materials, articles, and art reviews. The majority of the collection is made up of typescript drafts from Ronk's collected poetry, which contain handwritten notes and revisions from Ronk and her publishers. The collection also contains general correspondence between Ronk and other poets, book publishers, and literary editors. The collection is arranged into six series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS BY RONK, 3) EDITORIAL PROJECTS, 4) CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS, 5) READINGS AND WORKSHOPS, and 6) MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS.

SERIES 1: CORRESPONDENCE

The CORRESPONDENCE series contains letters from Paul Vangelisti, George Albon, Lee Hickman, Dave Smith, Bin Ramke, and other writers and poetry editors. The majority of the correspondence deals with Ronk's writing, including acceptance and rejection letters from publishers regarding collected and uncollected poetry and prose. This series also contains a small amount of personal correspondence between Ronk and other writers whom she befriended as an editor of Littoral Book and The New Review of Literature. This series is arranged in alphabetical order by correspondent.

SERIES 2: WRITINGS BY RONK

The WRITINGS BY RONK series is the largest series in the collection and is arranged in four subseries: A) Articles and Reviews, B) Unpublished Work, C) Uncollected Published Poetry, and D) Collected Published Poetry.

A) The Articles and Reviews subseries contains articles and drafts, both published and unpublished, written by Ronk. This subseries also contains art reviews written by Ronk for the journal Artweek in 1989 and 1990. Materials in this subseries are arranged in alphabetical order.

B) The Unpublished Work subseries includes typescript drafts of collected and uncollected poems written by Ronk. These unpublished manuscripts include work entitled: "Lost", "Letters from Hong Kong", and "Elegies, Alibis, and Spring".

C) The Uncollected Published Poetry subseries contains individual poems written by Ronk that were published in various poetry and literary magazines, including Hambone, The American Poetry Review, HOW(ever), and Talisman. Materials in this subseries are arranged in alphabetical order by the name of the journal or publication.

D) The fourth subseries, Collected Published Poetry, contains correspondence, typescript drafts, galley proofs and final drafts of fourteen of Ronk's published poetry books. These books include typescripts by Ronk, as well as collaborative projects Ronk worked on with other authors or artists. One of these collaborations is the book Life in L.A., written by Ronk and other poets in 1983. This publication was printed on oversize paper and published by Paradise Press. The typescript drafts in this series contain handwritten notes by Ronk that show the evolution of the poems and document the publication process of each poetry manuscript. This subseries also contains criticism and reviews of some of Ronk's published poetry that appeared in literary magazines and other publications, such as the LA Times Book Review. Items in this final subseries are arranged in chronological order.

SERIES 3: EDITORIAL PROJECTS

The third series in this collection, EDITORIAL PROJECTS, contains material from both Littoral Books and The New Review of Literature journal. Both editorial projects contain correspondence, manuscript submissions, and contact information for contributors from both publications. The papers pertaining to Littoral Books also contain a galley proof for the cover of Empire Life by George Albon.

These materials also include reading announcements and flyers from local poets that were sponsored by Littoral Books; these flyers include an announcement for "A Futurist Dinner," which was the first fundraiser dinner put together for Littoral Books by Ronk, Phillips, and Vangelisti.

SERIES 4: CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS

The CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS series contains published and unpublished reviews of Ronk's work on collaborative projects, as well as her work as a whole. This series also contains commentary regarding Ronk's influence on the Southern California poetry scene over the past twenty years.

SERIES 5: READINGS AND WORKSHOPS

The READINGS AND WORKSHOPS series contains materials from various poetry workshops and conferences in which Ronk participated, including the Page Mother's Conference at UCSD, the Place as Purpose Conference, and the Poetics of Memory Conference. The materials from these conferences include correspondence, conference notes and outlines, and panelist writings and submissions. This series also contains flyers and pamphlets for various poetry readings in which Ronk performed. These readings sometimes included other poets from the Los Angeles area. Materials in this series are arranged in alphabetical order.

SERIES 6: MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS

The final series in the collection, MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS, includes a small amount of teaching material from Occidental College and two articles about Ronk; one mentioning her involvement at a poetry conference, and a second highlighting her achievement in being awarded the Graham L. Sterling Award for Excellence at Occidental College.

CORRESPONDENCE

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1 1 A - Miscellaneous.
1 2 Albon, George, 1998.
1 3 Antioch Review, 1993.
1 4 L'Art Pour L'Art, 1989-1997.
1 5 B - Miscellaneous.
1 6 Bennett, Guy, 1998.
1 7 Bennington Writing Workshops, 1990.
1 8 Brink, Leonard, 1997-1998.
1 9 C - Miscellaneous.
1 10 Chicago Review, 1997-1999.
1 11 Colorado Review, 1995-1998.
1 12 Conjunctions, 1996.
1 13 Corbett, Bill, 1996-1997.
1 14 D - Miscellaneous.
1 15 DiPalma, Ray, 1996-1998.
1 16 Dorland Mountain Arts Colony, 1995.
1 17 Ela, Patrick and Shelley Whitaker, 1999.
1 18 Eshleman, Clayton, 1989-1992.
1 19 F - Miscellaneous.
1 20 Foster, Ed, 1991-1998.
1 21 G - Miscellaneous.
1 22 Guest, Barbara, 1994-1998.
1 23 H - Miscellaneous.
1 24 Hambone, 1990-1997.
1 25 Harvard Review, 1997-2000.
1 26 Hickman, Lee, 1988.
1 27 Hudson Review, 1985.
1 28 K - Miscellaneous.
1 29 Keelan, Claudia, 1998.
1 30 LA Weekly, 1998.
1 31 Lowther, John.
1 32 M - Miscellaneous.
1 33 McCollough, Aaron, 2002-2004.
1 34 N - Miscellaneous.
1 35 National Poetry Series, 1992-1998.
1 36 Novak, Estelle Gershgoren, 1998.
1 37 O - Miscellaneous.
1 38 O'Brien, John, 2004.
1 39 Occidental College, 1998.
1 40 P - Miscellaneous.
1 41 Ploughshares, 1990.
1 42 Princeton University Press.
1 43 R - Miscellaneous.
1 44 Ramke, Bin, 1987-1992.
1 45 Ratcliffe, Stephen, 1997.
1 46 Revell, Donald, 2001.
1 47 Rhizome, 1996-2001.
1 48 S - Miscellaneous.
1 49 Salerno, Mark, 1996-1998.
1 50 Sandy, Stephen, 1991.
1 51 Smith, Dave, 1984-2001.
1 52 Solano, Louisa, 1996-1998.
1 53 Southern Review, 1990-1999.
1 54 Sun & Moon Press, 1997.
1 55 U - Miscellaneous.
1 56 University of Georgia Press, 1988-1997.
1 57 University of Iowa Press, 1992-2000.
1 58 University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990.
1 59 Vangelisti, Paul, 1999.
1 60 Vogelsang, Arthur, 1986-1987.
1 61 W - Miscellaneous.
1 62 Wesleyan University Press, 1985-1997.
1 63 Wolverton, Terry, 2000.
1 64 Y - Miscellaneous.

WRITINGS BY RONK

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Articles and Reviews

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2 1 "Coping with change: Sign language at the Southwest Museum," Artweek- Typescript draft and copy of published review.
2 2 FB-482-01 "Fooling with mother nature: John Divola at Jan Kesner Gallery," Artweek - Typescript, notes and final draft, February 1, 1990.
2 3 FB-482-02 "Images etched in stone," Artweek - Typescript draft and notes, November 4, 1989.
2 4 "More than urban" - Photocopy of article written for Occidental College by Martha Ronk, Mark McCloskey and David James.
2 5 "Review of On a Stair by Ann Lauterbach" - Typescript draft of poetry review.
2 6 FB-482-03 "The sky as landscape," Artweek - Typescript drafts, notes, and final draft, July 15, 1989.
2 7 "Susan Rankkaitis: Meyers/Bloom Gallery," Artweek - Typescript drafts and notes, November 1990.
2 8 FB-482-04 "Top dog: William Wegman photographs of Fay Ray at Linda Cathcart Gallery," Artweek - Typescript drafts and notes, May 3, 1990.

Unpublished Work

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2 9 "Elegies, Alibis, and Spring" typescript drafts.
2 10 "Letters from Hong Kong" typescript draft with notes and revisions, 1993-1994.
2 11 "Lost" typescript draft with notes and revisions.
2 12 "Lost" typescript draft with notes and revisions.
2 13 "Not just a pronoun" typescript draft with notes and revisions, 1994.
2 14 Typescript draft of early poems.
2 15 Typescript draft of miscellaneous poems and prose.

Uncollected Published Poetry

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3 1 Publications List - Twenty-one poems published by journals and newspapers.
3 2 FB-482-05 American Poetry Review - "From Vertigo," published poems, November - December 2004.
3 3 FB-482-06 American Poetry Review - "Martha Ronk Lifson: Three poems" newsclipping, March - April 1988.
3 4 Antioch Review - "It's a desert still" photocopy of published poem, 1987.
3 5 Arshile Magazine - Photocopy of published poems, 1997.
3 6 Counter Clockwise - Final published poem, 1996.
3 7 Denver Quarterly - "Hunger, a cookbook," photocopy of published poem, 1993.
3 8 Hambone - Photocopies of published poems, 1988-1998.
3 9 HOW(ever) - "From the sofa series," published poems, 1990.
3 10 LA Weekly - "Memory: A Santa Fe moon," photocopy of published poem.
3 11 Magazine - Published poems, 1984.
3 12 FB-482-07 Milkweed Chronicle - "Still life," photocopy of published poem, 1984.
3 13 Quotidian - Typescript drafts of poems, July - August 1999.
3 14 Talisman - Photocopy of published poems, 1993.

Collected Published Poetry

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3 15 FB-482-08 Life in L.A. (1983) - Published book.
3 16 Desire in L.A. (1990) - Poem drafts written before 1980, with notes.
3 17 Desire in L.A. (1990) - Poem drafts and notes.
3 18 Desire in L.A. (1990) - Poem drafts and notes.
3 19 Desire in L.A. (1990) - Poem drafts and notes.
3 20 Desire in L.A. (1990) - Published and unpublished reviews, 1990-1991.
3 21 Desire in L.A. (1990) - Typescript drafts of early poems, includes unpublished poem drafts.
3 22 Desert Geometries (1992) - Old version of typescript drafts.
4 1 Desert Geometries (1992) - Typescript drafts, with notes and revisions.
4 2 State of Mind (1995) - "Mind of another", typescript draft.
4 3 State of Mind (1995) - Published and unpublished reviews, 1995-2002.
4 4 State of Mind (1995) - Typescript drafts with revisions, 1993-1994.
4 5 State of Mind (1995) - Book cover and final typescript draft.
4 6 Allegories (1998) - Typescript drafts.
4 7 Emblems ( 1998) - Contact lists for publishers and book subscribers, 1998.
4 8 Emblems (1998) - Typescript drafts, with notes and revisions.
4 9 Eyetrouble: Poems (1998) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions.
4 10 Eyetrouble: Poems (1998) - Typescript drafts of poems.
4 11 Eyetrouble: Poems (1998) - Typescript draft with page numbers.
4 12 Eyetrouble: Poems (1998) - Final typescript draft.
4 13 Eyetrouble: Poems (1998) - Published book with handwritten notes from author.
4 14 Eyetrouble: Poems (1998) - Published reviews and press release.
4 15 Snapshots of the San Fernando Valley (2000) - Correspondence with Frank Romero, typescripts and final drafts, 1999-2000.
4 16 Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions, August 1993.
5 1 Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001) - Typescript drafts with notes and revisions.
5 2 Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions.
5 3 Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001) - Updated typescript draft with notes and revisions.
5 4 Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001) - Final typescript draft with notes and revisions.
5 5 Displeasures of the Table: Memoir as Caricature (2001) - Published reviews, 2001-2006.
5 6 Why/Why Not (2003) - Correspondence, 2001-2002.
5 7 Why/Why Not (2003) - Poem drafts.
5 8 Why/Why Not (2003) - Published and unpublished reviews, 2003.
5 9 Why/Why Not (2003) - Typescript draft, with notes and revisions, August 1996.
5 10 Why/Why Not (2003) - Typescript draft with revisions, December 1996.
5 11 Why/Why Not (2003) - Typescript draft, with notes and revisions, 2002.
6 1 Why/Why Not (2003) - Part of typescript draft, with notes and revisions, February 18, 2002.
6 2 FB-482-09 Why/Why Not (2003) - Galley proofs and book cover sample, 2002.
6 3 In a Landscape of Having to Repeat (2004) - Correspondence, 2003-2004.
6 4 In a Landscape of Having to Repeat (2004) - Typescripts and published reviews, 2005-2007.
6 5 In a Landscape of Having to Repeat (2004) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions.
6 6 In a Landscape of Having to Repeat (2004) - Final typescript draft, with notes and revisions, 2004.
6 7 Rotbahn (2005) - Typescript of translations by Ronk.
6 8 Vertigo (2007) - Correspondence with Coffeehouse Press regarding manuscript, 2006-2007.
6 9 Vertigo (2007) - Miscellaneous poem drafts, 2002.
6 10 Vertigo (2007) - Published review from Publisher's Weekly, September 2007.
6 11 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft, January 28, 2005.
6 12 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft, with notes and revisions, May 3 - May 22, 2005.
6 13 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft, with notes and revisions, May 3 - June 11, 2005.
6 14 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft, with notes and revisions, May 3 - June 18, 2005.
6 15 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions, May 3 - July 15, 2005.
6 16 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions, August 12, 2005.
6 17 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions, September 16, 2005.
7 1 Veritgo (2007) - Typescript draft with notes and revisions, September 17, 2005.
7 2 Vertigo (2007) - Typescript draft, January 24, 2006.
7 3 Vertigo (2007) - Galley proof with corrections, April 11, 2007.
7 4 Vertigo (2007) - Galley proofs with corrections, May 16, 2007.
7 5 Glass Grapes: Stories (2008) - Typescript drafts with notes and revisions.
7 6 Glass Grapes: Stories (2008) - Typescript drafts with notes and revisions.
7 7 Glass Grapes: Stories (2008) - Typescript drafts with notes and revisions.
7 8 Glass Grapes: Stories (2008) - Final typescript draft with notes and revisions.

EDITORIAL PROJECTS

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8 1 Littoral Books - Correspondence, February 1990 - May 2000.
8 2 FB-482-10 Littoral Books - Empire Life by George Albon, galley proof of book cover, 1998.
8 3 Littoral Books - Manuscript list and payment sales, 1991-1998.
8 4 Littoral Books - Manuscript submissions.
8 5 Littoral Books - Notes, agendas and meeting minutes, 1996-2000.
8 6 Littoral Books - Press releases and reviews, 1991-2000.
8 7 Littoral Books - Reading announcement sponsored by Littoral Books.
8 8 Littoral Books - Subscriber contact information.
8 9 New Review of Literature - Correspondence, March 2002 - October 2004.
8 10 New Review of Literature - Correspondence, February 2005 - March 2006.
8 11 New Review of Literature - Correspondence, July 2006 - April 2007.
8 12 New Review of Literature - List of contributors for various issues, 2006-2007.
8 13 New Review of Literature - Miscellaneous manuscript submissions.
9 1 New Review of Literature - Submission guidelines and production schedule, 2005 - 2007.

CRITICISMS AND REVIEWS

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9 2 Frank, Peter - "Muses, self-help graphics, master drawings from Stanford University," photocopy of published review, December 28, 1995.
9 3 Schaeffer, Standard - Impossible city: The poetic avante-garde in L.A., copy of publication, 1998.
9 4 FB-482-11 Waldre, D.J. - "Our new Jerusalems," copy of article from the Los Angeles Times Book Review, December 24, 2000.
9 5 Zachary, R.Y. - "Signs of new poetry in California," typescript draft.

READINGS AND WORKSHOPS

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9 6 Associated Writing Programs Conference - Correspondence and proposal, 1997.
9 7 First Annual Conference of the College of Neglected Science - Outline, notes and correspondence, 1992-1997.
9 8 LA Poetry Festival - Essay and draft written by Ronk, 1992.
9 9 La Terra Nova Festival - Correspondence, press releases and notes, 1990.
9 10 Los Angeles Writers on Site Program - Application and CV, 1998.
9 11 Page Mother's Conference - Correspondence, 1999.
9 12 Page Mother's Conference - Schedule and notes, 1999.
9 13 Place as Purpose Conference - Correspondence, 2001-2002.
9 14 Place as Purpose Conference - Conference schedule and participant information, 2002.
9 15 Place as Purpose Conference - Press releases and flyers, 2002.
9 16 Poetics of Memory Conference - Correspondence, 2005-2006.
9 17 Poetics of Memory Conference - Notes and conference outline, 2006.
9 18 Poetics of Memory Conference - Panelist essays and criticism, 1990-2006.
9 19 Reading Announcements - Flyers, 1991 - 2007.
9 20 Words About the River Conference - Correspondence and typescript drafts, November 1999.

MISCELLANEOUS MATERIALS

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9 21 LA Times - "Meeting of minds for local poets," photocopy of newsclipping regarding workshop sponsored by UCLA Extension.
9 22 QuadAngle: The newsletter for employees of Occidental College - "Thorne packed for opening convocation", September 26, 1990.
9 23 Teaching materials - Occidental College core and faculty programs, 1993 - 2000.


Finding aid generated: 2009-04-27