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Carl Rakosi Papers
MSS 0355  
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Collection Details
 
Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Access
  • Acquisition Information
  • Preferred Citation
  • Publication Rights
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content of Collection
  • Indexing Terms

  • Descriptive Summary

    Creator: Rakosi, Carl, 1903-
    Title: Carl Rakosi Papers,
    Date (inclusive): 1903-2004
    Extent: 6.50 linear feet (17 archives boxes and 1 oversize folder)
    Abstract: Papers of Carl Rakosi, American "Objectivist" poet and social worker, who professionally practiced psychotherapy under the name Callman Rawley. Rakosi was known for his association with the Objectivist movement as well as Jewish writers of the twentieth century. The writings in this collection primarily represent Rakosi's recent (1988-2004) literary activities; however, the numerous other contributions of his 100-year lifespan are also represented. The collection contains correspondence, prose, poems, book reviews, and extensive interviews with Rakosi, while also including journal articles, case histories and notes that document his work as a psychotherapist, during the decades when he withdrew from the publishing world. Included are typescripts and photocopies of poems for THE COLLECTED POEMS OF CARL RAKOSI and page proofs for THE OLD POET'S TALE (1999). The collection represents the part he played as a young poet in the Objectivist movement, with copies of correspondence with other Objectivist poets such as Louis Zukofsky, as well as essays written by Rakosi much later on the impact of that literary moment, such as the short essay called "The Objectivist Connection" that explains the origin of the term "Objectivist." The collection contains worksheets for poems, audio and videocassette recordings of readings and interviews, and drafts of printed interviews.
    Repository: University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
    La Jolla, California 92093-0175
    Collection number: MSS 0355
    Language of Material: Collection materials in English

    Access

    Materials contained in Box 5, Folders 9-11 are restricted until the year 2070 according to federal and state laws.

    Acquisition Information

    Not Available

    Preferred Citation

    Carl Rakosi Papers, MSS 0355. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD.

    Publication Rights

    Publication rights are held by the creator of the collection.

    Biography

    Carl Rakosi was born on November 6, 1903, in Berlin, Germany, and came to the United States with his father and stepmother in 1910. He received his B.A. (1924) and M.A. (1926) from the University of Wisconsin, and completed his Masters of Social Work at the University of Pennsylvania in 1940. He married Leah Jaffe in 1939.
    During the thirties, Rakosi was a member of a group of poets called "The Objectivists," which included Louis Zukofsky, Charles Reznikoff, and George Oppen. Between 1939 and 1965, he stopped writing in order to devote himself to social work and psychotherapy. It was not until 1965, at the urging of Andrew Crozier, that Rakosi started to write again.
    Rakosi practiced social work and psychotherapy as Callman Rawley, his legally adopted professional name. Between 1945 and his retirement in 1968, Rakosi was Executive Director of the Jewish Family and Children's Service in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He also conducted a private practice in psychotherapy between 1955 and 1971.
    As an important Objectivist poet, Rakosi's style of writing can be summarized by Stanley Cooperman's comment:
    what Rakosi has, delightfully, is an ability to translate
    emotion into objects, tastes, smells: and these, in turn,
    are completely familiar- except that the familarity occurs
    in unexpected juxtapositions of sound and theme...
    Rakosi's work is at once irreverent and serious; highly
    intellectual and simplistic.
    His published works include SELECTED POEMS (1941), AMULET (1967), ERE-VOICE (1971), EX CRANIUM, NIGHT (1975), MY EXPERIENCE IN PARNASSUS (1977), SPIRITUS I (1983), and COLLECTED POEMS (1986), THE EARTH SUITE (1997), and THE OLD POET'S TALE (1999). Besides his literary work, including poetry, essays and book reviews, Rakosi also published articles and reviews on social work and psychology.
    Rakosi continues to be involved in the publishing of his collected works, and to correspond with younger writers interested in his and other Objectivists' work.
    In 2003, His 100th Birthday celebration was marked by several poets--including Anselm Hollo, Lyn Hejinian, George Evans and others--reading from their own work, at Rakosi's request. Until his death on June 24, 2004, Rakosi continued to develop new poems and to correspond with younger writers interested in his and other Objectivists' work.

    Scope and Content of Collection

    Accession Processed in 1996
    The Carl Rakosi Papers document Rakosi's recent activities as a poet and writer, as well as his professional career as a psychotherapist and social worker. The collection, which dates between 1903 and 1995 (bulk dates, 1988-1995), is arranged in four series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS BY RAKOSI, and 4) WRITINGS BY OTHERS.
    SERIES 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series contains Rakosi's birth certificate, official academic transcripts and grade reports, naturalization papers, poetry flyers, newspaper clippings, and his professional profile and list of publications as a psychotherapist. Also included are numerous transcribed interviews with Rakosi.
    SERIES 2: CORRESPONDENCE
    The CORRESPONDENCE series is arranged alphabetically by correspondent and reflects Rakosi's literary and professional career. In most cases, Rakosi made carbon copies of his replies. Notable correspondents include Jean-Paul Auxemery, who translated many of Rakosi's poems into French, Cid Corman, Andrew Crozier, Kathi George, and Michael Heller. Also represented are exchanges with the editors of numerous poetry magazines. Finally, Rakosi's early life is reflected in the letters of his first girlfriend, Mary Biggs, and his mother, Flora Steiner.
    SERIES 3: WRITINGS BY RAKOSI
    The WRITINGS BY RAKOSI series is arranged in four subseries: A) Lectures, B) Prose, C) Poetry, and D) Social Work and Psychotherapy. The "Lectures" subseries contains notes for two lectures on poetry. The "Prose" subseries contains several essays on "Objectivist" poets, including Charles Reznikoff and George Oppen. Of particular interest is a short essay called "The Objectivist Connection" that explains the origin of the term "Objectivist." Also included is the first draft and source materials for Rakosi's unpublished autobiography.
    The "Poetry" subseries includes typescripts and photocopies of poems for THE COLLECTED POEMS OF CARL RAKOSI and an annotated proof for POEMS, 1923-1941; drafts of miscellaneous poems in various stages of development; and some of Rakosi's contributions to Jewish liturgy.
    The "Social Work and Psychotherapy" subseries comprises Callman Rawley's journal articles and book reviews, as well as notes and analysis on patient interviews.
    SERIES 4: WRITINGS OF OTHERS
    The WRITINGS OF OTHERS series contains manuscripts of collected poetry sent to Rakosi and is arranged alphabetically by author. Also included are three critical essays on Rakosi's literary work.
    RELATED COLLECTIONS:
    Additional Carl Rakosi materials are located in the David Ignatow Papers (MSS 2), United Artists Archive (MSS 12), George Oppen Papers (MSS 16), Clayton Eshleman Papers (MSS 21), Sun and Moon Archive (MSS 221), and Charley George Papers (MSS 387).
    Significant portions of Rakosi's papers are also located at the University of Texas, Austin, the Houghton Library at Harvard University, and the University of Wisconsin, Madison (see correspondence in case file).
    Accessions Processed in 2003
    The accessions processed in 2003 contain recent correspondence, worksheets for poems, tapes of readings and interviews with Rakosi, and drafts of printed interviews. It also supplements the previous accession, with important early correspondence from the 1930s and materials related to Rakosi's readings and lectures from approximately 1973-1999. The materials are arranged in five series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, 3) WRITINGS BY RAKOSI, 4) RECORDINGS, and 5) ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES.
    SERIES 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
    This series is arranged in two subseries: A) Interviews and Writings about Rakosi and B) Miscellaneous Materials.
    A) The Interviews and Writings about Rakosi subseries contains drafts and printed copies of interviews and writings about Rakosi, including some which are focused on the larger groups with which Rakosi is often associated such as the Objectivists and Jewish writers of the twentieth century. This subseries is arranged alphabetically by the author's (or interviewer's) last name.
    B) The Miscellaneous Materials subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains materials related to Rakosi's education and business, including transcripts, business cards, C.V.'s and other miscellaneous materials. It also includes two large folders of materials related to his wife, Leah Rakosi.
    SERIES 2: CORRESPONDENCE
    The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically, reflects Rakosi's continued interest and involvement in the literary scene, including correspondence with various editors, organizations and younger authors, as well as copies of correspondence with Allen Ginsberg, George Oppen and Louis Zukofsky. Also included is significant correspondence with persons who are not necessarily part of the literary world but who are nonetheless important to Rakosi's life and career. This group includes various persons from his earlier career as a social worker, as well as certain family members with whom he has regularly corresponded over many years.
    SERIES 3: WRITINGS BY RAKOSI
    This series is arranged in three subseries: A) Prose, B) Poetry, and C) Readings and Lectures.
    A) The Prose subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains blurbs and introductions for Rakosi's and others' books, short essays and published letters to editors. Perhaps most interesting is the folder containing correspondence between Margery Latimer (1899-1932, a.k.a. Margery Latimer Toomer, wife of Jean Toomer) and Blanche Matthias, and other research materials used for Rakosi's COLLECTED PROSE.
    B) The Poetry subseries contains some materials related to published works, as well as a significant amount of working papers (drafts and manuscripts of poems).
    C) The Readings and Lectures subseries contains Rakosi's notes and lists of poems for readings and lectures given from approximately 1973-1999. It also includes some flyers and announcements for these events. The subseries is arranged chronologically, with undated materials at the end.
    SERIES 4: RECORDINGS
    The RECORDINGS series contains audio and videocassette tapes, as well as compact discs, documenting Rakosi's readings and interviews 1995-1999. The series is arranged alphabetically.
    SERIES 5: ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES
    The ORIGINALS OF PRESERVATION PHOTOCOPIES series contains the originals of brittle or high acid content documents that have been photocopied.
    Accession Processed in 2005
    The accession processed in 2005 contains recent correspondence, substantial folders of source material and drafts of poems in progress, materials related to Rakosi's 100th birthday celebration, and memorials to the now deceased poet. It also supplements the previous accession, with excerpts from important early correspondence from the 1930s, including Louis Zukofsky, and continued correspondence with fellow writers, as well as family members. His correspondence with Tom Devaney contains the transcripts of a significant interview done with Rakosi in 2001. The materials are arranged in three series: 1) BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS, 2) CORRESPONDENCE, and 3) WRITINGS BY RAKOSI.
    SERIES 1: BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS
    The BIOGRAPHICAL MATERIALS series, arranged alphabetically, contains materials related to Rakosi's 100th Birthday Celebration (including music composed for a selection of his poetry), a lifetime achievement award, business cards, C.V.'s, and other materials.
    SERIES 2: CORRESPONDENCE
    The CORRESPONDENCE series, arranged alphabetically, reflects Rakosi's interest and involvement in the literary scene, including correspondence with various editors, organizations and younger authors, as well as copies of correspondence with George Oppen and Louis Zukofsky. Also included is significant correspondence with both fellow writers and family members with whom he regularly corresponded over many years. This series includes a large folder of miscellaneous letters from admirers of Rakosi's work, dating from 1970-2003.
    SERIES 3: WRITINGS BY RAKOSI
    This series is arranged in three subseries: A) Prose, B) Poetry, and C) Miscellaneous.
    A) The Prose subseries, arranged alphabetically, contains a draft of his Letter to the Editor of Poetry Flash on the Conference on the American Objectivists held at Royaumont, France, in September 1989. Additionally, this subseries contains drafts of tributes and articles Rakosi wrote about George Oppen.
    B) The Poetry subseries contains unfinished working drafts of several poems, including a draft of his earlier poem "Americana."
    C) The Miscellaneous subseries contains a significant amount of working papers, drafts and manuscripts of poems and source materials, including works Rakosi titled "Journal" and "Journal #2." Many of these folders include undated fragments and drafts which relate to Rakosi's earlier writings.

    Indexing Terms

    The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.

    Subjects

    Rakosi, Carl, 1903- --Archives
    Rakosi, Carl, 1903-
    Oppen, George
    Reznikoff, Charles, 1894-1976
    American poetry -- 20th century

    Contributors

    Aux'emery, Jean-Paul, -- correspondent
    Biggs, Mary, -- correspondent
    Codrescu, Andrei, 1946- -- correspondent
    Corman, Cid, -- correspondent
    Dawson, Fielding, 1930- -- correspondent
    DuPlessis, Rachel Blau, -- correspondent
    George, Kathi, -- correspondent
    Hamburger, Michael, -- correspondent
    Heller, Michael, 1937- -- correspondent
    Kessler, Milton, -- correspondent
    Prynne, J. H., 1936- -- correspondent
    Steiner, Flora, -- correspondent
    Young, Karl, -- correspondent
    Rakosi, Carl, 1903- -- Collected poems
    Rakosi, Carl, 1903- -- Droles de journal
    Rakosi, Carl, 1903- -- Poems 1923-1941