To the Evergreen Community:
I am delighted to give this collection of modern American poetry, broadsides, and ephemera – mostly dating from 1955 to 1975 – to the Evergreen State College. It occurred to me last year that it had been mine for long enough, so I set out to find it a new home. A college library seemed like the right place. I have enjoyed libraries all my life, and worked in one once. When I was a young man, I realized that a library was not only valuable for its many thousands of books and intelligent system of organization, but also had comfortable chairs and clean bathrooms, and was warm and stayed open late at night. It turned out I didn't have to look for long…
Evergreen was enthusiastic about the material from the start, and a few months later three gracious librarians drove to Port Townsend and took it away. "Our kids are going to love this," one of them said. May this collection find a welcome home in the Daniel J. Evans Library, to be enjoyed by "Greeners," faculty, and visitors alike in the years to come. I am very grateful to the library staff for so warmly receiving it.
“Why speak of the use of poetry? Poetry is what uses us.”
– Hayden Carruth
Port Townsend, Washington
The Norman Schaefer Collection includes a copy of Donald Allen's The New American Poetry: 1945-1960 (New York: London; Grove; Evergreen, 1960), a groundbreaking work that helped to both define and shape mid-century poetry. He is credited, for instance, with coining the phrase, San Francisco Renaissance.
The Beats influenced, overlapped and intermingled with the San Francisco and Black Mountain poets throughout the 1950's. The Schaefer Collection some iconic selections from the canons of William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, Gregory Corso, Allen Ginsberg, and Neal Cassady – whose work reinvents narrative, invokes Eastern religions, rejects material culture, depicts explicit sexuality, and explores experimentation with psychedelic drugs. From high art to pulp fiction, they collectively changed the landscape of American writing.
The Schaefer Collection includes many works by Ezra Pound, whose ideas about poetic composition are codified in Charles Olson's manifesto, "Projective Verse" (1950), a pamphlet that features large in William Carlos Williams' Autobiography (1951) and that dominated the kinetic creative process of The Black Mountain Poets, such as Larry Eigner, Robert Duncan, Ed Dorn, Denise Levertov, Jonathan Williams, Robert Creeley, and more — many of whom are well represented here.
Madeline Gleason and Kenneth Rexroth helped to connect a group of Emerging Berkeley poets, such as Robert Duncan, Jack Spicer, and Robin Blaser, whose work you will find Represented in the Norman Schaefer Collection, along with the most notable poets associated with the San Francisco Renaissance, including James Broughton, Helen Adam, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Richard Duerden, Philip Lamantia, Gary Snyder, and Lew Welch. The Collection brings together many more poets and works, including broadsides and journals, that represent the flowering and legacy of the West Coast movement.
Clifford Burke, Richard Hugo, Heodore Roethke, and Carolyn Kizer – all are strongly associated With the Northwest and well- represented in the Collection. Gary Snyder, Robert Sund, Sam Hamill, and Paul Hansen were intermittent denizens of fishing camps and retreats along the coastal rivers and forests of Washington, forming a loose association that became known as The Skagit Valley Poets.