Tuesday, November 14, 2017


Dear Bob Arnold,
My name is Nina Mamikunian and I am the new Curator of the Archive for New Poetry at UCSD Library's Special Collections & Archives, following Rob Melton's retirement in 2016. I am very excited to carry on the work of the Archive for New Poetry, documenting and making available experimental work, including public performances and collaborative efforts.

To that end, I am pleased to announce the launch of our latest digital collection, the Paul Blackburn Audio Collection. These digitized recordings feature poetry readings, lectures, conversations, and correspondence recorded on reel-to-reel tape by Paul Blackburn from 1960 to 1971 in New York City.

Blackburn was a cornerstone of the New York Poetry scene: he organized and attended poetry readings at venues across the city, hosted his own radio program, “Contemporary Poetry,” on WBAI, and often recorded casual conversations about poetry with friends.  Blackburn’s recordings include some of the first readings performed at St. Mark’s Poetry Project, correspondence with Julio Cortázar and readings by such poets as Allen Ginsberg and Robert Creeley.

The first release of this collection includes over 100 recordings featuring over 100 poets, now available for streaming at lib.ucsd.edu/blackburn. Subsequent releases will bring the total number of recordings to over 200 available for online streaming and about 70 descriptions of recordings that can be made available onsite at UC San Diego Library’s Special Collections & Archives.  We anticipate having the entire digital collection complete by February 2018.

We would like to thank you for being a part of this project and giving the library permission to stream the readings online. The editor of Blackburn's posthumously published Collected Poems (1985), Edith Jarolim, has called this collection "the most comprehensive oral history of the New York poetry scene between the late 1950s and 1970." We are excited to be able to make this important collection available to a wider audience.

The collection is available at lib.ucsd.edu/blackburn. Additional information about the collection and its release is available at http://libraries.ucsd.edu/blogs/blog/paul-blackburn-audio-collection-now-online/ .

Thank you again for your contribution to the Paul Blackburn Audio Collection. This project would not have been possible without it!