University of Delaware Library

Special Collections Department

W. D. Snodgrass
Letters and Manuscripts to
Jerome Mazzaro

1961 - 1977


Manuscript Collection Number: 273
Accessioned: Purchase, 1988
Extent: 12 items (.1 linear ft.)
Content: Letters, poems, and a play
Access: The collection is open for research.
Processed: May 1993 by Anita A. Wellner

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Newark, Delaware 19717-5267
(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.

Jerome Mazzaro

Literary scholar, editor, and poet Jerome Mazzaro was born November 25, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan. His education included degrees from Wayne State University (A.B., 1954 and Ph.D., 1963) and the University of Iowa (M.A., 1956).

After working as a technical and procedures writer for General Motors Corporation from 1955 to 1956, Mazzaro was an instructor in English at the University of Detroit (1958-1961) and Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York College at Cortland (1962-1964). In 1964 he became Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

His writing includes numerous volumes of literary scholarship, with an emphasis on the work of Robert Lowell, Dante, and William Carlos Williams. Some of these works include The Achievement of Robert Lowell: 1939-1959 (1960), The Poetic Themes of Robert Lowell (1965), William Carlos Williams: The Later Poetry (1973), Postmodern American Poetry (1980), and The Figure of Dante (1981).

In addition to his contributions to academic scholarship, Mazzaro has written a book of verse titled Changing the Windows (1966) and edited a number of literary journals. He edited Fresco from 1960-1961 and Modern Poetry Studies from 1970-1979. He was assistant editor for North American Review (1963-1965) and Noetics (1964-1965), as well as contributing to Salmagundi, American Poetry Review, and Helios (1977-1979).


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

Metzger, Linda (ed.). Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 13. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1984. pp. 353-354.

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

Scope and Content Note

This small collection of eight letters and three manuscripts, written by W.D. Snodgrass and sent to Jerome Mazzaro, spans the years 1961-1977. The collection also includes one carbon of a letter from Mazzaro to Snodgrass.

Written from Dearborn, Michigan, and later from Erieville, New York, Snodgrass’s letters discuss various teaching jobs for Mazzaro and himself; the journal Fresco, which Mazzaro edited; an article on Milton Kessler for Mazzaro; and Snodgrass’s speaking engagements and writing projects, including The Führer Bunker.

In addition to the letters, the collection includes three manuscripts written by Snodgrass and sent to Mazzaro. The two poems, “A Flat One” (collected in 1957 in After Experience) and “The Meat Boy” (published as The Boy Made of Meat in 1983), differ significantly from their published versions.

The third manuscript is a play titled “The Living End” which Snodgrass wrote in collaboration with Dorothy Gemuend. The play deals with black and white students at a Washington, D.C., beautician’s school in 1958. This play has never been published or produced.

Related Collections:

Ms 272 W. D. Snodgrass Correspondence with Daniela Gioseffi

Ms 274 W. D. Snodgrass Collection

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in two series. Series I. “Letters” is arranged in chronologically order. Series II. “Manuscripts Written by Snodgrass” is arranged in alphabetical order by title.

Contents List

Box -- Folder -- Contents

     Series I.  Letters, 1961 Jun 1 - 1977 Jun 18

F1   1961 Jun-1964 Jan
     Four Snodgrass letters and one Mazzaro carbon.

F2   1971 Jul-1977 Jun
     Four Snodgrass letters.

     Series II.  Manuscripts Written by Snodgrass, [n.d.]

F3   “A Flat One,” [n.d.]
     Two-page mimeograph poem with autograph notes on the verso
     made by Mazzaro.  The notes are dated 4/29/54 and concern a
     Dryden seminar.

F4   “The Living End,” [n.d.]
     Mimeograph copy of an 88-page play written by Snodgrass in
     collaboration with Dorothy Gemuend.  Clean copy.

F5   “The Meat Boy,” [n.d.]
     Five-page mimeograph poem by Snodgrass which was published
     in 1983 as The Boy Made of Meat.

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