Information about our holdings

Barbara Guest Papers

Born in 1920, Barbara Guest is associated with the group of poets known as the first generation of the New York school of poetry, which includes Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, and James Schuyler. This group, active in the 1950’s, was heavily influenced by abstract expressionist and surrealist art. Guest continued to write innovative poetry and prose throughout the late twentieth century until her death in February 2006.

Guest is the author of books of poems, plays, prose, collaborations with artists, art criticism, and a critically acclaimed biography of the poet H.D. She received the Robert Frost Medal for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement from the Poetry Society of America, the Longwood Award, the Lawrence Lipton Award for Literature, the Columbia Book Award, and an NEA grant. 

The Beinecke’s collection of Barbara Guest papers consists of 38 boxes of material relating to the poet’s work and life and includes writing, artwork, photographs, audio tapes, and video cassettes. The collection includes correspondence from Daisy Aldan, John Ashbery, Max Eastman, Marianne Moore, Laura Riding, and drafts or manuscripts of Herself Defined, Seeking Air, The Countess from Minneapolis, and other works.

A detailed description of the papers can be found online: Barbara Guest Finding Aid Database


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