The Archive for New Poetry is a comprehensive research collection of American poetry and poetics reflecting and documenting alternative approaches to writing in the English language that have emerged since 1945. Although the Archive includes mainstream and academic poets, particularly those whose works are antecedent to post-war American experimental writing, most of the collection focuses on the "New American" poets: the Black Mountain poets, the Objectivist movement, the San Francisco Renaissance, the New York School, and the language writers.
The Archive's focus on documenting experimental work, including public performances and collaborative efforts, has led to extensive collecting beyond published poems. In addition to monographs, anthologies, and works on criticism and interpretation, the Archive has substantial holdings of literary manuscripts and correspondence, publishers' and editors' archives, broadsides, sound recordings, "little magazines" and ephemeral printings, artist's books, concrete poems, and serials both established and short-lived. Use of these materials is supported by a reference collection of directories, bibliographies, and other essential research tools.
The Archive was established in 1968 when Roy Harvey Pearce, professor of literature at UC San Diego, donated important first editions of post-war American poets to the UC San Diego Library. The collection now numbers over 35,000 volumes, 1,800 serial titles, over 700 poetry broadsides, extensive manuscript holdings, and over 1,500 audio recordings, all of which support intense research use by students, scholars and writers internationally. The Archive continues to grow, especially in the acquisition of small press publications and personal papers.
Among the unique materials in the Archive are sound recordings of New Writing Series readings held regularly at UC San Diego and recordings made by Paul Blackburn, Susan Howe, and others that document interviews, radio programs, and other activities. Collections of personal papers, including those of Paul Blackburn, George and Mary Oppen, Charles Reznikoff, Susan Howe, Jackson Mac Low, Jerome Rothenberg, Lyn Hejinian, James Schuyler, and Clayton Eshleman, to name a few, and editorial files such as those of Donald Allen and of the Sun & Moon Press, provide evidence of editorial and writing processes, of publishing and scholarship, and of personal connections among these writers. In doing so, the Archive also documents in broader context the poetic movements that, through their works, these writers, editors, and scholars have defined.