UB Poetry Collection Will Help Illuminate International Literary Conference

Goal is to help reestablish central role played by Robert Graves in 20th-century literature

Release Date: September 2, 2008 This content is archived.


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Michael Basinski, curator of the Poetry Collection, will discuss UB's holdings of the works of Robert Graves at an international conference held in the poet's honor.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Michael Basinski, Ph.D., of Buffalo, curator of the Poetry Collection at the University at Buffalo, will discuss the university's significant Robert Graves holdings at the ninth annual international Robert Graves Conference to be held at St. John's College, Oxford University, Sept. 9-13.

Basinski will give a talk on Sept. 10 titled "Robert Graves Online" and present a paper on early Graves' manuscripts on Sept. 12 in a session titled '"A Painful Process: Robert Graves at Work." He will also participate in a roundtable discussion, "Accessing Robert Graves," on Sept. 10 with Michael Riordan, archivist of St. John's College, in which they will discuss a proposal for a Web-based location register for Graves' manuscripts and letters.

Graves, an English poet, classical translator and author of such historical novels as "I Claudius," "Claudius the God," "The Golden Fleece" and "Count Belisarius," also is known for his landmark anti-war memoir, "Goodbye to All of That;" "Lawrence and the Arabs," his biography of T.E. Lawrence, and for "The White Goddess," his often-referenced historical study of poetic inspiration.

The author considered himself a poet above all else, however, and UB has the largest collection of Graves' poetry in the world, as well as the original typescript of the first edition of "The White Goddess" and a corrected first edition copy of the book. It totals 275 publications by and about Graves, excluding anthologies, periodical appearances and broadsides.

More on UB's Graves Collection is available at http://ublib.buffalo.edu/libraries/units/pl/collections/graves/index.html

Although Graves' role in 20th-century literature has often been marginalized, conference organizers say their intention is to re-establish the central role he played by examining the defining characteristics of his poetry, his influence on other poets and writers and the relation of his work to crucial issues in the 20th century.

"In doing so," they maintain, "(the conference) will question conflicts inferred by canonical definitions of such terms as as 'innovative,' 'traditional,' 'avant-garde' and 'conservative.'"

A donation by Mildred Lockwood Lacey in 1960 permitted the UB Poetry Collection to acquire the manuscripts of all Graves' books of poetry and some works in prose published from 1911 until 1955. This archive augmented and extended the collection of British first editions already in the Poetry Collection.

The conference, "Innovation and Tradition: Robert Graves in the Twentieth Century," was organized by the Robert Graves Society, St. John's College and the Robert Graves Trust.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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