Goldbarth's archive to be honored

2:50:34 PM CDT - Thursday, November 02, 2006

Contained in roughly 70 cardboard file boxes recently acquired by WSU special collections lies some insight into the creative workings of one of America's most respected contemporary poets.

This summer, the WSU Libraries' special collections department purchased a substantial archive of the papers of Albert Goldbarth, the Adele Davis Distinguished Professor of Humanities at WSU and a two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry.

The acquisition and Goldbarth's works will be celebrated in a special event at 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, when Goldbarth will read some of his poetry in the lower level of Ablah Library.

One of the outstanding features of the collection is that Goldbarth kept rough drafts and rewrites of his poems as they developed, illustrating the fashion in which his best work was created.

"It's a really rich collection because you have all the notebooks, ephemera and you can see the workings of a creative mind," through those drafts, said Lorraine Madway, special collections curator and university archivist. "It's wonderfully revealing."

Goldbarth is considered a prolific and outstanding contemporary poet. He won the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1991 and in 2002.

"It's a general archive that would include all of my literary-specific papers, and probably the core of that would be handwritten and typed notes for poems, first drafts going all the way back to juvenilia and up to a very substantial new selection of poems I'll be publishing next year," Goldbarth said in an interview this summer with The Shocker magazine. Also included in the collection are editorial correspondence, acceptance and rejection materials and even a three-ring binder notebook from when Goldbarth was in the sixth grade.

For Goldbarth, gathering the items for this collection was daunting.

"This material was in 10,000 places around my house. I'm not an organized person, really. I was weeding out the old notes on poems written on bar napkins and backs of receipts and trying to extricate them from old Chicago bus transfers and Burger King wrappers.

"It was more like archaeology than anything."

- Based on an article written by Michael Carmody for The Shocker magazine

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