Maureen Owen Collection of Greenwich Village Poetry

August 23, 2006

The Maureen Owen Collection of Greenwich Village Poetry & Audio Poetry Archives at the Beinecke Library
The Yale Collection of American Literature at the Beinecke Library is pleased to announce the launch of its first digitized collection of poetry readings, the Maureen Owen Collection of Greenwich Village Poetry. The digitizing and processing of the Owen Collection, the result of broad collaboration between archivists, systems specialists, and curatorial staff, will serve as a model for providing access to audio poetry archives at the library.

A recent gift to the collection, the Owen Collection is a rich gathering of reel-to-reel tape and cassette recordings of poets reading their work at literary events held by the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery in New York City during the 1970s and 80s. The collection also includes recordings of the poet Susan Howe’s radio shows on WBAI Radio in New York from the same period, on which poets can be heard reading and discussing their work and that of other poets. Poets and writers represented in the Owen Collection include Russell Banks, Ted Berrigan, Elizabeth Bishop, Barbara Guest, George Oppen, Ron Padgett, Charles Rezkinoff, Adrienne Rich, Ed Sanders, Ron Silliman, Jack Spicer, and Virgil Thomson. Digital sound files of the recordings in the Owen collection are available directly through the collection finding aid; these files can be accessed from any Yale computer work station or from off-campus with Yale log in.

Audio poetry archives currently being processed for digital access include recordings of the Yale Collection of American Literature Readings Series at the Beinecke Library. In addition to readings by many important American poets, such as Robert Creeley, Adrienne Rich, Rita Dove, and Sherman Alexie, the collection includes recordings of the annual Yale Student Poets reading by Yale University graduate and undergraduate student poets.