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Archive for the ‘Poetry’ Category

T.S. Eliot in Buffalo, NY – 1933

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T. S. Eliot in 1934

On January 26, 1933, T.S. Eliot, poet and critic, was in Buffalo, N.Y. to appear before an audience for a Fenton Foundation lecture held under the auspices of the University of Buffalo in the Twentieth Century Club at 595 Delaware Avenue. (see “Meaningful, Sonic Poetry Termed Best” Buffalo Courier-Express, 27 January 1933)

Between 1932 and 1933, T.S. Eliot wrote and presented a series of lectures while touring U.S. universities. His topic while in Buffalo was Edward Lear and Modern Poetry.

Apparently Eliot was not happy with the Lear lecture. T.S. Eliot was once asked why it was absent in his “Collected Essays.” He replied, “I am flattered that you should retain any interest in the lecture I gave on Edward Lear, and am therefore sorry to say that I destroyed the script of this and of a number of occasional lectures which I delivered in the United States in 1932-33.”

For more information on poetry, visit the Poetry Collection, a part of the University at Buffalo Libraries Special Collections.


T. S. Eliot, poet and critic,
contrasts style of various

There are two types of poetry, one in which the words are used simply to give meaning, the other in which the words are used for their sonic effect, but in great poetry the words do both. T. S. Eliot, English poet and critic, told an audience last night in his Fenton Foundation lecture held under auspices of the University of Buffalo at the Twentieth Century Club.

Mr. Eliot’s subject was Edward Lear and Modern Poetry, and one of his themes was that modern “unintelligible” poetry derives from Lear as one of its sources. Lear, a contemporary of Lewis Carroll, the author of Alice in Wonderland, was a writer of light verse, in which there was more nonsense than sense, and in which the words were chosen not to convey ideas, but emotional effects—the emotion being of the whimsical sort.

Compares Carroll, Lear

Mr. Eliot drew this contrast between Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear: Carroll’s whimsy, with its detective story elements, its logical procedure, appeals to the adult element in children, whereas Lear’s poetry, which is more “poetic” and less, logical, appeals to the childish side of adults.

Quoting Walter Pater’s essay which makes the point that all the other arts only approach music which stands above them, Mr. Eliot made a defense for this sonic, musical, somewhat unintelligible poetry, which makes no pretense at sense, but pleases the ear, or creates an emotional effect.

Swinburne, another contemporary of Lear, also was held up for comparison to this effect: that Swinburne was an adolescent who pretended to be writing poetry with much meaning, though it was really meaningless, whereas Lehr didn’t even pretend to be making sense.

Following the lecture, Mr. Eliot, author of The Sacred Wood, and The Waste Land, read from his own poems.

Buffalo Courier-Express, January 27, 1933

Poetry Collection Co-Sponsoring Frost Documentary Screening at Hallwalls 1/29

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On Thursday, January 29 at 7:30 pm, Hallwalls Contemporary Arts Center will be screening Shirley Clarke’s Academy Award-winning film documentary “Robert Frost: A Lover’s Quarrel with the World” (1963, 52 minutes). General admission is $8, $6 students and seniors, $5 Hallwalls members, and all proceeds benefit Hallwalls, which is located at 341 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14202 (716-854-1694).

This latest installment in Hallwalls’ series of restored classics by Shirley Clarke (“The Connection,” “Ornette: Made in America,” and “Portrait of Jason”) is being co-sponsored by the Poetry Collection, which is home to both the Victor E. Reichert Robert Frost Collection as well as the Hallwalls Collection, documenting 40 years of Hallwalls’ history in slides, video and audio tapes, printed ephemera, and other materials.

Loan of Dylan Thomas Manuscripts to Wales Featured in AtBuffalo

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Top: UB Poetry Collection Curator Michael Basinski views UB’s photos of Dylan Thomas and his wife, Caitlin. Bottom: Associate Curator James Maynard tours the “Dylan” exhibition at the National Library of Wales with exhibitions officer Jaimie Thomas. Photographs by Lauren Newkirk Maynard.

The winter 2015 issue of AtBuffalo features a cover story on the Poetry Collection’s loan of manuscripts to Wales for the Dylan Thomas centenary and the curators’ experience visiting the joint exhibitions at the National Library and the Dylan Thomas Centre.

Ross Runfola Charles Bukowski Collection Open for Research

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bukThe Poetry Collection is happy to announce the opening for research of the Ross Runfola Charles Bukowski Collection, consisting primarily of typescript signed poems by Charles Bukowski. The collection also includes artwork by Charles Bukowski and Jack Micheline, two Black Sparrow Press broadsides of poems by Bukowski, posters advertising readings by Bukowski, video of Bukowski readings and documentary films, and a small file of correspondence from Bukowski to various recipients. The collection also contained books and periodicals, including the 1944 issue of Story magazine in which Bukowski’s first published work appeared.

The materials in this collection were part of a larger private collection assembled by Ross Runfola and were donated by Runfola in 2011. The finding aid for the collection is available here. For more information about the collection, please contact