University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

W. D. Snodgrass
Correspondence with
Daniela Gioseffi

1977 - 1984


Manuscript Collection Number: 272
Accessioned: Purchase, 1986
Extent: 33 items (.1 linear ft.)
Content: Correspondence, poem, and article
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: June 1993 by Anita A. Wellner

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(302) 831-2229

Table of Contents

Biographical Note

W. D. Snodgrass

Poet W. D. Snodgrass was born William De Witt Snodgrass on January 5, 1926, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. He attended Geneva College (1943-1944 and 1946-1947) prior to graduating from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in 1949, M.A. in 1951, and M.F.A. in 1953. He also holds an honorary Doctor of Letters from Allegheny College.

W. D. Snodgrass’s first book, a collection of poetry titled Heart’s Needle (New York: Knopf, 1959) was awarded the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Since that publication Snodgrass has produced over thirty books of poetry, translations, and criticism.

In addition to Heart’s Needle, the poet’s other published collections of poetry include After Experience (1968), The Führer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress (1977), Remains (1970), and The Death of Cock Robin (1989). Among his other publications are the translations Gallows Songs by Christian Morgenstern (1967), Six Troubadour Songs (1977), and Traditional Hungarian Songs (1978); as well as the volume of criticism, In Radical Pursuit: Critical Essays and Lectures (1975). A major retrospective collection of Snodgrass’s poetry, Selected Poems, 1957-1987, was published by Soho Press in 1987.

Snodgrass has also contributed poetry, essays, reviews, and translations to many major journals, newspapers, and anthologies. His work appears in such anthologies as Reading Modern Poetry (1955), New Poets of England and America (1957), New World Writing (1957), and Theodore Roethke: Essays on the Poetry (1965).

His cycle of poems, The Führer Bunker, was adapted as a play and performed off-Broadway at American Place Theatre on May 26, 1981.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, the poet has been honored with such awards as the Hudson Review Fellowship (1958), the Longview Award (1959), the Poetry Society of America Special Citation (1960), the Guinness Award (1961), the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award (1968), and the Centennial Medal of Romania (1977). Snodgrass was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1972, and was made a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets in 1973.

Following faculty assignments at Cornell University (1955- 1957), University of Rochester (1957-1958), Wayne State University (1959-1967), Syracuse University (1968-1977), and Old Dominion University (1978-1979); W. D. Snodgrass was professor of Writing and Contemporary Poetry at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1994.

Daniela Gioseffi

Poet and novelist Daniela Gioseffi was born February 12, 1941, in Orange, New Jersey. She was educated at Montclair State College, receiving her B.A. in 1963, and at Catholic University of America, receiving a M.F.A. in 1965.

Gioseffi’s career has included working as a professional actress in stock resident and touring companies, in addition to writing and performing multi-media programs of poetry and music. Her critically acclaimed multi-media presentation, “The Birth Dance of Earth,” first produced in New York in 1972, was based on poetry and music which she composed. Other writings by Gioseffi produced for the stage include “The Golden Daffodil Dwarf and Other Works” (1973) and “Fathers and Sons,” a play based on Ivan Turgenev’s novel (1973).

In addition to multi-media productions, Gioseffi has written short stories, poetry, a novel, and works of nonfiction. Her published works include The Great American Belly Dance (novel, 1977), Eggs in the Lake (poems, 1979), and Earth Dancing: Mother Nature’s Oldest Rite (nonfiction, 1980).

Her poetry and short stories are also represented in a number of anthologies as well as appearing in Nation, Chelsea, Ambit, Quadrant, Dialog, Choice, Paris Review, Antaeus, New York Quarterly, Minnesota Review, Ms., and Modern Poetry Studies.


Evory, Ann (ed.). Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 3. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981. p. 230.

_____________. Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 6. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. pp., 481-483.

Murray, Timothy. “W. D. Snodgrass: An Exhibition.” 1990.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of correspondence between W. D. Snodgrass and Daniela Gioseffi between 1978 and 1984. Consisting of Snodgrass’s original letters and the drafts or copies of Gioseffi’s responses, the correspondence explores their personal relationship, as well as discusses their mutual interest in Middle Eastern music and instruments. As poets they also discuss their poetry and how their poetry readings could be combined with musical instruments. The letters mention Snodgrass’s work on the poems for The Führer Bunker, which he was reworking for the stage. The letters also discuss Snodgrass’s move from Norfolk, Virginia, to the University of Delaware and his life at his summer residence in Erieville, New York. The drafts of Gioseffi’s letters convey her writing, personal life, and poetry readings.

In addition to the 31 letters there is a copy of Snodgrass’s translation of the poem, “Cessés Mortels de Soupirer,” written by Pierre Guédron, and a copy of the journal, Point of Contact, which contains an article titled “W. D. Snodgrass Translates Four Spanish Songs.”

Related Collections:

Ms 273 W. D. Snodgrass Letters and Manuscripts to Jerome Mazzaro

Ms 274 W. D. Snodgrass Collection

Arrangement Note

The correspondence comprises Series I. and is arranged in chronological order. Series II. consists of the copy of Point of Contact.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

     Series I.  Correspondence, 1978 May 30-1984 Jul 1

F1   1978 May 30-1979 Apr 1
     Four Snodgrass letters and four Gioseffi drafts.

F2   1979 Apr 8-May 31
     Four Snodgrass letters and five Gioseffi drafts.

F3   1979 Jun 1-Nov 13
     Six Snodgrass letters and four Gioseffi drafts.  Enclosed in
     the June 11 letter is a copy of Snodgrass’s translation of
     the poem, “Cessés Mortels de Soupirer,” by Pierre Guédron.

F4   1979 Dec 21-1984 Jul 1
     Four Snodgrass letters.

     Series II.  Point of Contact, 1977 Jul
     Copy of the July 1977 issue of Point of Contact which
     contains the article, “W. D. Snodgrass Translates Four
     Spanish Songs.”

F5   Point of Contact, 1977 Jul
     Inscribed by Snodgrass to Daniela Gioseffi on page 12.

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