Poetry holds a special place at the University of Chicago Library, particularly after Harriet Monroe presented us with her poetry library, papers and the editorial files of Poetry magazine in 1931. The collection continues to grow, with a particular focus on modern poetry from the Chicago area. Highlights include first editions and manuscripts of works by Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, William Butler Yeats, Marianne Moore and Michael Anania.
The scope of the Modern Poetry collection now encompasses poetry written in English from 1900 to the present, with writers ranging from W. H. Auden and Rupert Brooke to William Carlos Williams, Dylan Thomas, and Allen Ginsburg. Canadian, African, British, Australian, and American authors are represented along with translations of foreign poets who exerted particularly strong influence on writers in English. The collection includes translations of major poets' works into other languages. Literature of significant poetry movements such as the Imagists is complemented by the works of student poets, the publications of poetry societies, and finely printed editions.
Manuscript collections include the papers of Harriet Monroe, along with the records of Poetry:a Magazine of Verse, and more modern poets such as Michael Anania, Ron Offen, and Mark Perlberg, co-founder of the Poetry Center of Chicago. The Library’s holdings also feature the records of poetry publications, such as Verse, LVNG and Flood Editions.
We collect scarcely-held little magazines and chapbooks, with a focus on the obscure. Our Modern Poetry Little Magazine Collection spans most of the 20th century and includes issues from 374 different publications, mainly American.
At present, the Library's Modern Poetry book collection comprises well over 35,000 volumes, and the collection continues to grow by 1,000-1,200 volumes a year. Books and serials in the general and rare components of the Modern Poetry collection are accessible through the Library's online catalog. Manuscript collections are accessed by searching the FindingAid Database.