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Michael McClure-Fred Martin correspondence

Call Number: MS 315


Over 20 letters, postcards, and typed poems from Beat poet and playwright Michael McClure to Fred Martin, his editor at New Directions, together with carbons of Martin's outgoing correspondence. The collection also includes a small amount of printed matter, some of which is annotated or inscribed by McClure.


  • Creation: 1973 - 1983


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Michael McClure

Michael McClure is best known as one of the leading poets of the Beat generation and as a playwright, novelist, and essayist.

Born in Marysville, Kansas, on October 20, 1932, McClure was raised in Seattle, Washington, later returning to Kansas to finish high school and attend the University of Wichita (now Wichita State University). He furthered his education at the University of Arizona and at San Francisco State College in 1954, where he studied with poet Robert Duncan.

McClure was part of the famous Six Gallery Reading in 1955, with Phillip Lamantia, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and Phillip Whalen. This event increased momentum and social awareness of the beat period. McClure published his first book of poetry, Passage, in 1956, and he continues to publish poetry with common themes of Buddhism and the natural world.


0.25 Linear Feet (1 document case + 1 oversize folder)

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

The collection consists of 8 autograph postcards and 18 letters with enclosed items sent by Michael McClure to Fred Martin, his editor at the publisher New Directions. It also contains one letter written by Joanna McClure, Michael's wife, to Fred Martin and 12 carbon copies of letters written by Fred Martin to Michael McClure.

In his letters, McClure reports on readings he gives; provides status updates on current productions of his work and on works-in-progress; discusses new writers and musicians he admires; and comments on reviews of his work. McClure's letters also record in detail his outdoor activities and the nature around him.

Miscellaneous printed materials include a copy of Hail to Thee who Play, an invitation to McClure's daughter Katherine Jane McCullen's wedding, newspaper clippings, and a program for McClure's play Josephine.

Physical Location

MS 315

Physical Location

MS R15

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchase, Glenn Horowitz Bookseller, 2013.

Separated Materials

State University of New York at Buffalo. Poetry/Rare Books Collection. Michael McClure: The Charles Olson Memorial Lectures. New York: Buffalo, 1980. Located at Spencer Research Library at C22968.

Guide to the McClure-Martin Correspondence Collection
Michael McClure-Fred Martin correspondence
Finding aid prepared by eml, 2014; revised by mhr, 2015; revised by mwh, 2016.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Michael McClure-Fred Martin correspondence, MS 315, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansass.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States