University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

En Passant Archive

1970 - 1983


Manuscript Collection Number: 414
Accessioned: Gift of James Costello, 2000
Extent: 1.3 linear ft.
Content: Letters, postcards, greeting cards, publications, tear- sheets, poetry manuscripts, photographs, flyers, advertisements, and news clippings
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: May 2001 by Gerald Cloud

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Special Collections, University of Delaware Library
Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

American attorney, poet, and editor James A. Costello was born in Utica, New York, on August 10, 1937. He attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse and Albany Law School. Costello moved to Wilmington, Delaware, in 1970 when he began working as a patent attorney for E.I. du Pont de Nemours Company. In 1975 he founded En Passant Poetry (1975 – 1982), a literary magazine devoted to poetry, poetry in translation, book reviews, and graphics. Costello is also a published poet and the author of The Underbelly Poems (1981).


Costello, James. The Under Belly Poems. Wilmington, DE: En Passant Poetry, 1981.

Mullinax, Gary. “Patently, he’s poet.” Wilmington Morning News, Oct 5, 1981.

— — “Former Utican’s Book of Poetry Published.” Utica Observer-Dispatch, Jul 12, 1981.

Scope and Content Note

The En Passant Archive, spanning the dates 1970 – 1983, is the archive of the little poetry magazine En Passant, edited by James Costello in Wilmington, Delaware. The 1.3 linear feet of material in the collection consists of letters from contributors, administrative correspondence, little magazines, including twelve issues of En Passant, and the manuscripts of most of the thirteen issues of the magazine published between 1975 and 1983.

The archive is divided into three series: the first is primarily correspondence from contributors, editors of other little magazines, and subscribers. The correspondence series is arranged chronologically by year, and divided into two smaller groups: correspondence from contributors and administrative matters. There is also one folder containing the personal papers and correspondence of James Costello, and a folder of miscellaneous newsletters and flyers related to poetry. The second series in the archive includes the manuscripts of nine of the thirteen published issues of En Passant. The third series contains publications related to En Passant and James Costello’s own poetry.

The En Passant Archive contains a comprehensive selection of items typically associated with administration of a little magazine. The majority of the items in the archive are letters from the contributors whose works were published in En Passant. Although examples of Costello’s written comments are rare, the correspondence does reflect the editorial exchange that passed between Costello and the poets who sought publication in his magazine. Many of the letters are replies to the detailed feedback Costello appears to have provided his contributors — some thanked him, while others voiced disagreement. After Costello accepted a poem for publication he often received letters of appreciation from the contributor. These letters typically include the biographical data that eventually appeared on En Passant’s contributor’s notes page. There is also a significant percentage of on-going correspondence between Costello and several En Passant contributors. One of the most frequent correspondents, Nathan Cervo, a poet and professor of English at Franklin Pierce College, discussed poetry, little magazines, and the difficulties of publishing poetry.

The administrative correspondence, which forms a much smaller group of items, deals mostly with business matters such as subscriptions, grants, and advertising.

The manuscripts in the second series are nearly all original typescripts as submitted by the contributors, most of which have autograph changes and corrections made in Costello’s hand. All of the nine issues represented are collated in their published page order and contain various typesetting instructions for the printer. The editorial process of the magazine is further revealed when examining the manuscripts alongside the contributor’s correspondence. Many of the contributors’ letters address the changes Costello has suggested and it is possible to trace the progression of several poems.

The personal papers of James Costello include letters from editors and associates, photos, reviews, and other items related to Costello’s published poetry.

The publications series includes twelve of the thirteen published issues of En Passant (a complete set of the little magazine is available in Special Collections), several little magazines that published Costello’s poetry, and two small books of Nathan Cervo’s poetry.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

          Series I. Correspondence 

1         1970 – 1975
     F1   Contributors
     F2   Administrative
     F3   Contributors
     F4   Administrative
     F5   Contributors
     F6   Administrative
     F7   Contributors
     F8   Administrative
     F9   Contributors
     F10  Administrative
     F11  Contributors
     F12  Administrative
     F13  Contributors
     F14  Administrative
     F15  Contributors
     F16  Administrative
     F17  Contributors
     F18  Administrative
     F19  Costello Personal papers
     F20  Newsletters, Flyers, etc.

          Series II. Manuscripts

1    F21  1976, Issue 4 Contributors:
          Betsy Adams
          Miguel Arteche
          Guy R. Beining
          Nathan Cervo
          James A. Costello
          Robert Dante
          Franz Douskey
          Stuart Downs
          Michael Evans
          Carol S. Hamilton
          Robert Hillebrand
          Allen Hoey
          Gary Hotham
          Karen Kervorkian
          Adele Mays
          Errol Miller
          Naul Ojeda
          Lynne Carol Rose
          George H. Rothacker
          Susan F. Schaeffer
          Craig Weeden
          Carl Woods
          Carolyne Wright
          Christine Zawadiwsky

     F22  1977, Issue 5 Contributors:
          Doug Abrams
          Nathan Cervo
          Joan Colby
          James A. Costello
          Christopher Hewitt
          Terry Kennedy
          Karen Kervorkian
          Charles K. Lassiter
          Amy Matthews
          Russ McKinney
          Michael McMahon
          Jim Parlett
          Alfonsina Storni
          Kathryn Van Spanckeren
          Carl Woods
          Carolyne Wright

     F23  1977, Issue 6 Contributors:
          Nathan Cervo
          Susan Deal
          Barry Dempster
          Robert Gibb
          Rachel Hadas
          Dorothy Lee
          Robert Meszaros
          Naul Ojeda
          Stephanos Xenos

     F24  1979, Issue 8 Contributors:
          Richard Behm
          Joseph Bruchac
          Nathan Cervo
          James Costello
          Rabert Dante
          Tommie Davidson
          Susan Deal
          Barry Dempster
          Laurence Donavon
          Thomas Dyer
          Patricia Ellis
          Gayle Harvey
          Jay Jacoby
          Michael McMahon
          Robert Meszaros
          Ricardo Pau-Liosa
          John Repp
          Hilary Russell
          Luise Van Keuren

    F25   1979, Issue 9                     
          Contributors:                     Gary Metras
          Betsy Adams                       Eric Nelson
          Nathan Cervo                      Perry Oldham
          Barry Dempster                    Molly Peacock
          Robert Desnos                     Martin Robbins
          Gary Fincke                       George Rothacker
          Michal Fineman                    Paul Smyth
          Pat Therese Francis               Wayne Westlake
          Thomas House                      Norma Westwood
          David James                       Vincent Zigas
          Frederico Garcia Lorca            
          Marianne Loyd

     F26  1980, Issue 10 Contributors:
          Emily Borenstein
          Nathan Cervo
          Kevin Clark
          Ron De Maris
          Laurence Donavon
          Sonya Dorman
          Devon Duggan
          William Elliott
          George Green
          Anne Hohenstein
          Vincente Huidobro
          Hakusha Kitahara
          Steven Nimtz
          Naomi Nye
          Peggy Parris
          Jay Paul
          Molly Peacock
          Carmine Sarracino
          Barbara Lefcowitz
          Elizabeth McKim
          Richard Michelson
          Nona Nimnicht
          Mary Oliver

    F27   1980, Issue 11                    
          Contributors:                     Mary Porter
          William Aberg                     Tom Smith
          Eros Alesi                        Paul Smyth
          Stephen Burke                     Vaughn Stadtmiller
          Nathan Cervo                      Arlene Stone
          David Citino
          Joan Colby
          Donald Cook
          James Costello
          Susan Deal
          Christina Dodwell
          Marisa Gatti-Taylor
          Robert Gibb
          Nixeon Handy
          Christopher Hewitt
          Erik Muller
          Jan Pallister
     F28  1981, Issue 12 Contributors:
          Guy Beining
          Linda Bierds
          Nathan Cervo
          James Costello
          Robert Dante
          Susan Deal
          Lamine Diakhaté
          Gary Fincke
          Gale Flynn
          Eleni Fourtouni
          Robert Gibb
          Thomas Lavazzi
          Wihelm Lehmann
          Betty Lowry
          Robert Meszaros
          Gary Metras
          Rodney Nelson
          Mark Nepo
          Naul Ojeda
          Jan Pallister
          Ricardo Pau-Llosa
          Roger Pfingston
          Tom Smith
          Paul Smyth

     F29  1982, Issue 13 Contributors:
          Nathan Cervo
          Joan Colby
          Ron De Maris
          Léon-Paul Fargue
          Diane Glancy
          Francis Golffing
          Judith Goodenough
          Narman Hane
          Robert King
          Marie Klenk
          Mark Nepo
          Peggy Parris
          Simon Perchik
          Celia Strome
          Mary Tisera
          Don Welch
          James Zola

          Series III. Publications 
2    F30  En Passant
          Issues 1-2
     F31  En Passant
          Issues 3-4
     F32  En Passant
          Issues 5-6
     F33  En Passant
          Issues 7, 9
     F34  En Passant
          Issues 10-11
     F35  En Passant
          Issues 12-13
     F36  Little Magazines (containing work by Costello)
          The Free Lance, 18.1-2 (1977)
          Icarus, 4.3 (1976)
          The Stone, 4.1 (1971)
          The Small Pond, 19.2 (1982), contains review of
          Costello’s The Under Belly Poems.
     F37  The Under Belly Poems, (1981)
          Book of poems by James Costello, inscribed by the
     F38  One Finger Exercises, (1978)
          Breath, (1984)
          Books of poems by Nathan Cervo.

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