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Stony Brook Poetry Archive

The Poetry Center Archive of video and audio recordings at Stony Brook University documents poetry readings and programs held on campus between 1967 and 1980. The filming of events and printing of "Poetry Tapes at Stony Brook: An Annotated Catalog" compiled by Joseph A. Lipari in 1980 was made possible in part through a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

A listing of all recordings in the archive is forthcoming.
A select sampling of video recordings has been digitized and can be viewed below.

A Conversation with Allen Ginsberg: May 11, 1978 
Irwin Allen Ginsberg  (b. 3 June 1926, d. 5 April 1997) was an American poet and one of the leading figures of the Beat Generation in the 1950s. He is best known for his epic poem "Howl", in which he celebrated his fellow "angel-headed hipsters" and harshly denounced what he saw as the destructive forces of capitalism and conformity in the United States. This event was held on May 11, 1978 at Stony Brook University as part of the Visiting Poet Series (no. 23).

Robert Lowell: 1977
Robert Traill Spence Lowell IV (b. 1 March 1917, d. 12 September 1977) was an American poet, considered to be one of the founders of the confessional poetry movement. He was appointed the sixth Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress where he served from 1947 until 1948. He won the Pulitzer Prize in both 1947 and 1974, the National Book Award in 1960, and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1977. This poetry reading was held in 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the Visiting Poet Series (no. 8).

Erica Jong:  February 22, 1977
Erica Jong (b. 26 March 1942) is an American author and teacher best known for her fiction and poetry. This poetry reading was held on February 22, 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the the Visiting Poet Series (no. 5). Click  here to read an announcement for it published in The Stony Brook Statesman (page 3).

Gregory Orr: 1977
Gregory Orr (b. 1947) is an American poet. He received a B.A. degree from Antioch College and an M.F.A. from Columbia University. He is a professor of English at the University of Virginia where he founded the MFA Program in Writing in 1975, and served from 1978 to 2003 as Poetry Editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review. He is also a columnist and editor of the magazine, Sacred Bearings: A Journal for Survivors. This poetry reading was held in 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the the Visiting Poet Series (no. 16).

Denise Levertov: A Poet Reads Her Works:  October 28, 1977 
Denise Levertov (b. 24 October 1923, d. 20 December 1997) was a British-born American poet. Levertov wrote and published 20 books of poetry, criticism, and translations. She also edited several anthologies. Among her many awards and honors, she received the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Frost Medal the Lenore Marshall Prize, the Lannan Award, aCatherine Luck Memorial Grant, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and a Guggenheim Fellowship. This poetry reading was held on October 28, 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the the Visiting Poet Series (no. 14). Click  here to read an article about it published in The Stony Brook Statesman (page 4A).

Kofi Awoonor: February 16 , 1969 
Kofi Awoonor (b. 13 March 1935, d. 21 September 2013) was a Ghanaian poet and author, whose work combines the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization. He earned his Ph.D. at Stony Brook University. This poetry reading was held on February 16, 1969 at Stony Brook University as part of the Visiting Poet Series (no. 17). Access  here to read an article about it published in The Stony Brook Statesman (page 9).

Tony Harrison: 1978
Tony Harrison (b. 30 April 1937) is an English poet and playwright. He is noted for controversial works such as the poemV and Fram, as well as his versions of ancient Greek tragedies, including theOresteia and Hecuba. He is noted for his outspoken views, particularly against the Iraq War. This poetry reading was held in 1978 at Stony Brook University as part of the British American Poetry Festival and the Visiting Poet Series (no. 8).

William Heyen, David Ignatow, Allen Planz, and Claire Nicholas White: 1977
This poetry reading was held in 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the the Visiting Poet Series (no. 7).

Gwendolyn Brooks
Gwendolyn Brooks (b. 7 June 1917, d. 3 December 2000) was appointed Poet Laureate of Illinois in 1968 and Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress in 1985.This poetry reading was held in 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the the Visiting Poet Series (no. 15).

Jane Kenyon, Lawrence Kearney, and Kathleen Spivak: 1978
This poetry reading was held in 1978 at Stony Brook University as part of the British American Poetry Festival and the Visiting Poet Series (no. 14). 

Galway Kinnell
Galway Kinnell (b. 1 February 1927, d. 28  October 2014) was an American poet. He was   Poet Laureate of Vermontfrom 1989 to 1993. An admitted follower of Walt Whitman, Kinnell rejects the idea of seeking fulfillment by escaping into the imaginary world. His best-loved and most anthologized poems are "St. Francis and the Sow" and "After Making Love We Hear Footsteps." This poetry reading was held on March 29, 1969 at Stony Brook University as part of the British American Poetry Festival and the Visiting Poet Series (no. 13).

Raymond R. Patterson: 1977
Raymond R. Patterson (d. 5 April 2001) was a poet, writer and professor emeritus of English at City College of the City University of New York. He was the author of ''26 Ways of Looking at a Black Man and Other Poems'' (1969) and ''Elemental Blues'' (1983) and librettos for two operas by Hale Smith, ''David Walker'' and ''Goree.'' Mr. Patterson joined the City College faculty in 1968 and was founder of its Langston Hughes Festival, which he directed from 1973 to 1993. (Source: New York Times, 12 April 2001).  This poetry reading was held in 1977 at Stony Brook University as part of the Visiting Poet Series (no. 11).

Carl Rakosi: 1979
Carl Rakosi (b. 6 November 1903, d. 25 June 2004) was the last surviving member of the original group of poets who were given the rubric Objectivist. He was still publishing and performing his poetry well into his 90s.This poetry reading was held in 1979 at Stony Brook University as part of the the Visiting Poet Series. Click  here to read the announcement about it published in The Stony Brook Statesman (page 2).

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