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National Poetry Festival files

Identifier: GV017-13


The National Poetry Festival, organized by Grand Valley faculty Robert Vas Dias as a program of the Thomas Jefferson College, was a 10-day experience of art, poetry, and engagement with artistic personalities. Workshops, discussions, readings, related performances and exhibits were held during the summer on the Allendale campus in 1971, 1973, and 1975. In attendance at the first Festival were poets Paul Blackburn, Gregory Corso, David Henderson, Toby Olson, John Logan, Robert Kelly, Al Young, Allen Planz, Donald Hall, George Quasha, Robert Bly, Robert Creely, Sonja Sanchez, anselm Hollo, Tom Weatherly, Diane Wakoski, Joel Oppenheimer, Ted Berrigan, Jerome Rothenbert, Dudley, Randall, Robert Vas Dias, and Philip Whalen.

The second Festival brought together three of the four Objectivist poets for the first time in one place (George Oppen, Carl Rokosi, and Charles Reznikoff). Kenneth Rexroth, a related poet, also attended. A second generation of poets influenced by the Objectivists included Robert Duncan, Theodore Enslin, and Allen Ginsberg; a third group influenced by the second group included Diane di Prima, Victor Hernandez Cruz, Edward Dorn, George Economou, David Meltzer, and Rochelle Owens.

The third and last Festival included Robert Bly, Robert Creeley, Galway Kinnell, and James Wright. Younger generation poets included Carol Berge, Kathleen Fraser, William Heyen, Ira Sadoff, and Diane Wakoski. A second group of younger new vanguard poets and third-world writers included Mei-Mei Berssenbruggi, Nikki Giavanni, Jesica Hagedown, Lawson Inada, June Jordan, Etheridge Knight, Alex Kuo, Alison Mills Howard Norman, Simon Ortiz, Ishmael Reed, Leslie Silko, James Welch, and Shawn Wong. This collection documents the events of the 3 festivals. Materials include broadsides, audio tapes, photographs, posters, and organizational files.


  • 1971-1975


Access to Materials

Collection is open for research use. Materials may be accessed by request at Special Collections and University Archives in Seidman House. Materials do not circulate.

Publication Rights

For information on copyright or permissions for this collection, contact Grand Valley State University Special Collections.


1.0 Linear feet (1 box)

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Related Materials

Student Activities files; Thomas Jefferson College administrative files.
National Poetry Festival
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Repository Details

Part of the Grand Valley State University Special Collections and University Archives Repository

Seidman House
1 Campus Drive
Allendale MI 49401 United States