SUNY, Buffalo, Receives Grant to Preserve Poetry Recordings

by Staff

The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a grant worth a little more than two hundred thousand dollars to the Poetry Collection at SUNY, Buffalo, that will allow the Libraries department to digitize and catalogue its audio collection. Included in the collection are recordings of poetry readings, lectures, and interviews featuring poets such as John Ashbery, Robert Creeley, Allen Ginsberg, Denise Levertov, and Louis Zukovsky.

The archival materials, consisting of more than thirteen hundred cassette tapes and reel-to-reel audiotapes dating from 1962 to 2000, were recorded at university events or given to the library by poets or other individuals or groups. Along with the audio files, library scholars plan to index related ephemera and source material.

"Audio recordings promote the study of poetry's performance and provide a wide range of extra-textual information that is nonetheless crucial to understanding a poem's larger contexts of meaning, " said Michael Basinski, the collection's curator, in a press release. "They also document the social contexts and literary communities in which poetry takes place, and offer an effective resource personalizing the experience of poetry for students of all levels."

The Poetry Collection is dedicated to twentieth and twenty-first century poetry in English and includes over one hundred thousand volumes of poetry as well as literary magazines, photographs, manuscripts, and notebooks.