Robert Bly, an outstanding person of letters in Minnesota, died at the age of 94 on Nov. 21. “He was by far the most consequential poet of the second half of the 20th century,” says James Lenfestey, poet, writer, and former Star Tribune editorial writer.
Formerly a student staff employee in the U of M's Performing Arts Archives, Joseph Moen brings prior research experience and a strong measure of enthusiasm to the work, as helps researchers uncover and use material deep in the archives.
While processing the Robert Bly collection I was drawn into his correspondence with Donald Hall. Their letters are sarcastic and funny and include charming nicknames for each other. When compared to the other letters of Bly’s other regular correspondents and many of the letters from fans, the letters from Don Hall are sometimes irreverent or biting.
Maryanna Manfred is known as a prolific editor, journalist, and contributor to the literary communities in Minnesota and South Dakota. She is the former wife of Frederick Manfred and mother to Marya Manfred, Frederick Manfred Jr, and Minnesota writer Freya Manfred. Her writing and correspondence can be viewed via the Upper Midwest Literary Archives in Elmer L. Andersen Library.
Letters written to and from Robert Bly speak volumes about Bly’s impact — not only as a writer but as a figure in the landscape of local and national literature. Though his poetry and essays are examples of how he presented himself to the public, his correspondence offers a more private perspective. These letters are available from our Upper Midwest Literary Archives.
Nine months ago, staff in the Upper Midwest Literary Archives set out to increase access to four key literary collections, including the papers of poets Bill Holm, Robert Bly, Margaret Hasse, and publisher Milkweed Editions. Our work so far has allowed us to explore our ideas in exciting ways.
In my previous article, I explored Minnesota poet Bill Holm’s use of boxelder bugs and pigs in his writing. Now, I turn my attention to two other elements that are key to understanding Holm’s work — Walt Whitman and the concept of “failure.”
When Bill Holm’s papers came to the Upper Midwest Literary Archives a few years ago, much of the collection was in disparate pieces. Archives staff, myself included, have completed numerous iterations of sorting this material into categories that best reflected Holm’s life and work. It has been nothing short of challenging to acquaint myself with a lifetime’s worth of Holm’s work. At any given time, I have a number of Holm’s books on my desk that have become my reference tools — both for biographical information and for identifying Holm’s writing.
Margaret Hasse is known for her candid poetry and down-to-earth point of view. But from 1973 to 1975, Hasse also was an artist-teacher for “New Focus: Arts & Corrections,” a workshop focused on bringing the arts into correctional programs. It was Hasse’s first job teaching creative writing and a particularly entertaining and uplifting part of the Upper Midwest Literary Archives at the University of Minnesota Libraries.
As part of National Poetry Month, the Upper Midwest Literary Archives is doing some extra celebrating as it kicks off its year-long grant project dedicated to exploring the archives of Minnesota poets. Our project, aptly titled "Prairie Poets and Press: Literary Lives of the Upper Midwest," will organize, describe, and reveal the contents of four important literary collections.
By Kathryn Hujda Assistant Curator, Upper Midwest Literary Archives From messy handwritten notes to concise editorial markings — from proof to print — poetry in the...
by Christine Avery, Archives Assistant and Kate Hujda, Assistant Archivist/Processor As spring slowly makes its way to Minnesota, the Manuscripts Division decided it was time to take down our...
Please come for a free lecture from the Upper Midwest Literary Archives! Guest Scholar Talk by Dr. Philip Coleman, Trinity College, Dublin Ireland "John Berryman: Scholarship...