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The University of Iowa Libraries

Guide to the Tom Gatten Literary Letters

Collection Overview

Date Span: 1965-1996
Creator: Gatten, Tom
Extent: .50 linear feet.
Collection Number: MSC0748
Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Summary: Collection of letters from literary figures including Kofi Awoonor, Robert Bly, Michael Cimino, Galway Kinnell, Denise Levertov, and others.

Access: This collection is open for research.

Use: Copyright restrictions may apply; please consult Special Collections staff for further information.

Acquisition: This collection was a gift of Tom Gatten in 2003.

Preferred Citation: Tom Gatten Literary Letters, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City, Iowa.

Repository: University of Iowa Special Collections
Address: Special Collections Department
University of Iowa Libraries
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-5921
Curator: Greg Prickman

This collections consists of fifty-six letters and post cards written to Tom Gatten by noted persons in the literary field.

Browse by Series:

  • Box 1:
  • Alberti, Rafael. June 9 - 1971
    From Spanish surrealist poet and writer Rafael Alberti, granting permission to publish English translations and his Spanish poems
  • Ashbery, John. July 30 - 1965
    The poet and editor of Art and Literature, an international review published in Lausanne, writes about a story submitted to the review
  • Awoonor, Kofi. May 24 - 1978
    The poet, writer, and former ambassador of Ghana to Brazil, Cuba, and the UN; author of The Breast of the Earth, a survey of the history, culture, and literature of Africa south of the Sahara; This Earth My Brother; Ride Me Memory, etc., writes to inform of book completion
  • Awoonor, Kofi. February 25 - 1981
    Invitation to Africa
  • Awoonor, Kofi, June 15 - 1983
    As ambassador to Brazil. Personal letter
  • Awoonor, Kofi. March 10 - 1986
    Attending the Congress of P.E.N., thank-you letter for February 28, no problem with African character being from Ghana
  • Awoonor, Kofi. July 8 - 2002
    Looks forward to getting the novel The Kojo Hand
  • Awoonor, Kofi. August 12 - 2002
    Sorrow at hearing of the death of old friend Jack Thompson
  • Awoonor, Kofi. December 9 - 2002
    Receipt of novel, wife visiting in the US
  • Bly, Robert. January 15 - 1968
    The poet writes on receiving three poems. Comments about Stony Brook
  • Bly, Robert. February 18 - 1968
    Written on Sixties Press letterhead. Notes about some poems sent by Tom Gatten
  • Bly, Robert. September 1 - 1968
    On sending some translations to Hardie St. Martin for comments or consideration in an anthology he was considering or working on
  • Bly, Robert. May 5 - 1968
    On traveling in Europe. On Gatten's Alberti translations and other translators
  • Bly, Robert. Spring - 1965
    On translating Alberti
  • Bly, Robert. Fall - 1968
    Receipt note
  • Bly, Robert. Summer - 1970
    Note on Seventies Letterhead
  • Burke, Kenneth. April 30-May 8 - 1973
    Writer, literary critic, and poet. Sends "As I was Saying," reprinted from the Michigan Quarterly Review; an article answering Renee Wellek's essay in The Sewanee Review on Burke's Counter-Statement and other work
  • Burke, Kenneth. April 30-May 8 - 1973
    Humorous note
  • Chapin, Sandy. November 1 - 1975
    The poet, songwriter, and author of the song "Cat's Cradle" sends a letter resulting from a meeting with her and her husband Harry Chapin on a screenplay that he was writing
  • Cimino, Michael. January or June - 1964
    The writer, producer, and director of "Thunderbolt and Lightfoot," "The Deer Hunter" (academy award), "Heaven's Gate" writes about writing, the artistic vision, the writer having to be tough, and writes a poem as well
  • Cimino, Michael. September 17 - 1975
    Two newspaper clippings about the writer's films are folded in with the letter -- they are from a later date, but relevant to the writer
  • Cimino, Michael. August 6 - 1974
  • Cimino, Michael. March 28 - 1966
  • Ferlinghetti, Lawrence - 1965
    The beat poet sends a rejection note from City Lights Books
  • Gerber, Dan. August 8 - 1990
    The author of Grass Fires and many other works writes about his work, Jim Harrison's work, and his friends' drinking
  • Gerber, Dan. March 23 - 1989
    His work, Jim Harrison's work, and how they try to get away once a year to play Buzz and Todd from Rte 66
  • Gerber, Dan. December 12 - 1988
    A note about publishing
  • Gerber, Dan. October 25 - 1988
  • Gerber, Dan. January 22 - 1984
    A personal note accompanying a gift book of the writer
  • Gerber, Dan. December 17 - 1983
    Personal note, photocopies of the writer playing baseball, "Merry Christmas"
  • Gerber, Dan. April 3 - 1974
    A thank you note for the recipient's book of poems, a note about the death of the writer's father
  • Harper, Michael. September 6 - 1980
    The poet, anthologist and longtime professor of English at Brown University writes a personal note and comments on Amiri Baraka and Ralph Ellison
  • Harper, Michael. March 16 - 1970
    Thank-you letter to Tom and Sandy Gatten for hospitality for a stay during a poetry reading at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. Comments on travel
  • Harrison, Jim. February - 1974
    Notes for a "blurb" for book cover
  • Kinnell, Galway. April 1 - 1969
    The poet and translator has won numerous awards and prizes and writes about travel expenses for a poetry reading at Stony Brook, a softball game, and Bob Mezey
  • Kinnell, Galway. March 13 - 1966
    About some Alberti translations, translating in general in the U.S., and James Laughlin, publisher of New Directions
  • Laughlin, James. March 25 - 1966
    The publisher of New Directions sends a response to a publishing query, offering various names and giving useful advice way beyond the requirements of a response to an ordinary query letter from an unknown writer
  • Levertov, Denise. May 4 - 1966
    The poet writes about trying to place a review of Jim Harrison's Plain Song
  • Levertov, Denise. November 30 - 1965
    About trying to place a review of Jim Harrison's Plain Song
  • Mezey, Robert. February 7 - 1974
    The poet and anthologist and winner of Lamont Poetry Prize, The Poet's Prize, and other awards who was also a teacher at Fresno State University, University of Utah, and Claremont sends notes for a "blurb" for book cover
  • Mezey, Robert. June or July - 1968
    A typewritten poem, an acrostic spelling Thomas Gatten, inscribed and signed. Included is a copy of Bob Mezey's The Door Standing Open in which the poem appears.
  • Montague, John. May 15 - 1969
    The poet who wrote A Chosen Light and other books writes about a visit to Stony Brook for a poetry reading that was cancelled owing to anti-Vietnam War demonstrations on campus. Refers to Louis Simpson, the poet, who was teaching at Stony Brook, and George Quasha, a student poet at the time
  • Randall, Margaret. September 20 - 1967
    The poet, translator and editor of El Corno Emplumado in Mexico sends a letter accepting some translations for this publication
  • Reed, J.D. Fall or Spring - 1963, 1964
    The poet, novelist, writer, and senior editor for Sports Illustrated and Time magazine writes about writers and writing
  • Reed, J.D. April 5 - 1974
    About receiving Mapper of Mists and memories of times past, mostly in East Lansing
  • Smith, A.J.M. March 24 - 1974
    The distinguished Canadian poet, critic, and anthologist, e.g., Seven Centuries of Verse, English and American; Poet Laureate of Canada and Poet in Residence at Michigan State University sends a note on recipient's book of poems
  • Smith, A.J.M. February 10 - 1974
    Notes for a "blurb" for book cover
  • St. Martin, Hardy. March 8 - 1971
    The poet and translator sends a letter about contacting Rafael Alberti for permission to publish translations of his poems and publish the original Spanish poems as well
  • Stewart, John. November 18 - 1996
    The writer and anthropologist sends a letter on his accompanying gift of the paperback edition of his novel Last Cool Days
  • Stewart, John. June 18 - 1969
    A letter from Mexico concerning his recent marriage, travel plans, and his book in progress Last Cool Days
  • Stewart, John. October 17 - 1979
    Recent travels, hearing Sterling Brown read his poems, what stress does to the spirit
  • Stewart, John. July 10 - 1979
    About a visit to Connecticut and advice about what to do with an essay
  • Stewart, John. August 23 - 1976
    Summer travels. Discusses old friends in Fresno, Gene Bluestein and Phil Levine

This collection is indexed under the following subject terms.

English & American Literature
Writers Archive at Iowa
Novelists, Story Writers, & Poets