Scope and Contents and History Note
In 1964 Lawrence S. Thompson of the University of Kentucky Library put together "a little exhibit" soliciting manuscripts from over 600 poets and getting excellent results, judging from the list of poets who responded. The collection was brought to Vanderbilt by Deanna Marcum, a Vanderbilt Librarian, and given to Special Collections in 1975. The collection was reduced from eight linear feet to the present size (.84 linear feet) with the assistance of members of the Vanderbilt English Department.
The following information is taken from a note in the collection dated December 5, 1980:
"The Kentucky Poetry Project was an attempt to put together an exhibit of manuscripts of modern poets. Mr. Lawrence S. Thompson, Director of the Libraries at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, was responsible for the project. He had good success, and many poets responded to his request for a manuscript. As far as we can tell, he did actually display many of the poems he received. For some unknown reason, the project was brought to Vanderbilt and left in the care of the Head of Special Collections. The project was then reduced from eight linear feet to a small Hollinger box of three inches (.21 linear feet). The Vanderbilt English department helped the Special Collections staff weed the collections of manuscripts. The samples which were kept were those by poets of some prominence."
The present collection is (.84 linear feet). 135 poets and their work are represented
in individual folders. There is also the original letter from Lawrence Thompson
requesting manuscripts and the list of the over 600 poets who were initially
asked to participate.
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Last modified: April 10, 2008
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