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W. D. Snodgrass letters and manuscripts to Jerome Mazzaro

Identifier: MSS 0273

Scope and Content Note

This small collection of eight letters and three manuscripts, written by W.D. Snodgrass and sent to Jerome Mazzaro, spans the years 1961-1977. The collection also includes one carbon of a letter from Mazzaro to Snodgrass.

Written from Dearborn, Michigan, and later from Erieville, New York, Snodgrass's letters discuss various teaching jobs for Mazzaro and himself; the journal Fresco, which Mazzaro edited; an article on Milton Kessler for Mazzaro; and Snodgrass's speaking engagements and writing projects, including The Führer Bunker.

In addition to the letters, the collection includes three manuscripts written by Snodgrass and sent to Mazzaro. The two poems, "A Flat One" (collected in 1957 in After Experience) and "The Meat Boy" (published as The Boy Made of Meat in 1983), differ significantly from their published versions.

The third manuscript is a play titled "The Living End" which Snodgrass wrote in collaboration with Dorothy Gemuend. The play deals with black and white students at a Washington, D.C., beautician's school in 1958. This play has never been published or produced.


  • Creation: 1961-1977


Language of Materials

Materials entirely in English.

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Terms Governing Use and Reproduction

Use of materials from this collection beyond the exceptions provided for in the Fair Use and Educational Use clauses of the U.S. Copyright Law may violate federal law. Permission to publish or reproduce is required from the copyright holder. Please contact Special Collections, University of Delaware Library,

W. D. Snodgrass

Poet W. D. Snodgrass was born William De Witt Snodgrass on January 5, 1926, in Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania. He attended Geneva College (1943-1944 and 1946-1947) prior to graduating from the University of Iowa with a B.A. in 1949, M.A. in 1951, and M.F.A. in 1953. He also holds an honorary Doctor of Letters from Allegheny College.

W. D. Snodgrass's first book, a collection of poetry titled Heart's Needle (New York: Knopf, 1959) was awarded the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. Since that publication Snodgrass has produced over thirty books of poetry, translations, and criticism.

In addition to Heart's Needle, the poet's other published collections of poetry include After Experience (1968), The Führer Bunker: A Cycle of Poems in Progress (1977), Remains (1970), and The Death of Cock Robin (1989). Among his other publications are the translations Gallows Songs by Christian Morgenstern (1967), Six Troubadour Songs (1977), and Traditional Hungarian Songs (1978); as well as the volume of criticism, In Radical Pursuit: Critical Essays and Lectures (1975). A major retrospective collection of Snodgrass's poetry, Selected Poems, 1957–1987, was published by Soho Press in 1987.

Snodgrass has also contributed poetry, essays, reviews, and translations to many major journals, newspapers, and anthologies. His work appears in such anthologies as Reading Modern Poetry (1955), New Poets of England and America (1957), New World Writing (1957), and Theodore Roethke: Essays on the Poetry (1965). His cycle of poems, The Führer Bunker, was adapted as a play and performed off–Broadway at American Place Theatre on May 26, 1981.

In addition to the Pulitzer Prize, the poet has been honored with such awards as the Hudson Review Fellowship (1958), the Longview Award (1959), the Poetry Society of America Special Citation (1960), the Guinness Award (1961), the Ingram Merrill Foundation Award (1968), and the Centennial Medal of Romania (1977). Snodgrass was elected to the National Institute of Arts and Letters in 1972, and was made a Fellow of the Academy of American Poets in 1973.

Following faculty assignments at Cornell University (1955-1957), University of Rochester (1957-1958), Wayne State University (1959-1967), Syracuse University (1968-1977), and Old Dominion University (1978-1979); W. D. Snodgrass was professor of Writing and Contemporary Poetry at the University of Delaware from 1979 to 1994.

Jerome Mazzaro

Literary scholar, editor, and poet Jerome Mazzaro was born November 25, 1934, in Detroit, Michigan. His education included degrees from Wayne State University (A.B., 1954 and Ph.D., 1963) and the University of Iowa (M.A., 1956).

After working as a technical and procedures writer for General Motors Corporation from 1955 to 1956, Mazzaro was an instructor in English at the University of Detroit (1958-1961) and Assistant Professor of English at the State University of New York College at Cortland (1962-1964). In 1964 he became Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the State University of New York at Buffalo.

His writing includes numerous volumes of literary scholarship, with an emphasis on the work of Robert Lowell, Dante, and William Carlos Williams. Some of these works include The Achievement of Robert Lowell: 1939–1959 (1960), The Poetic Themes of Robert Lowell (1965), William Carlos Williams: The Later Poetry (1973), Postmodern American Poetry (1980), and The Figure of Dante (1981).

In addition to his contributions to academic scholarship, Mazzaro has written a book of verse titled Changing the Windows (1966) and edited a number of literary journals. He edited Fresco from 1960-1961 and Modern Poetry Studies from 1970-1979. He was assistant editor for North American Review (1963-1965) and Noetics (1964-1965), as well as contributing to Salmagundi, American Poetry Review, and Helios (1977-1979).

Evory, Ann. Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 6. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. pp. 481-483.Metzger, Linda (ed.). Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 13. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1984. pp. 353-354.Murray, Timothy. "W. D. Snodgrass: An Exhibition." 1990.


.3 linear foot (12 items)


This collection contains correspondence and literary manuscripts exchanged between twentieth century American poet and scholar W. D. Snodgrass and twentieth century American writer and scholar Jerome Mazzaro.


The collection is arranged in two series. Series I. "Letters" is arranged in chronologically order. Series II. "Manuscripts Written by Snodgrass" is arranged in alphabetical order by title.


Purchase, 1988.

Related Materials in this Repository

MSS 0272, W. D. Snodgrass correspondence with Daniela Gioseffi

MSS 0274, W. D. Snodgrass collection

Shelving Summary

  1. Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscript boxes (1 inch)


Processed by Anita A. Wellner, May 1993. Encoded by Natalie Baur, February 2010. Further encoding by Lauren Connly, November 2015, and Tiffany Saulter, May 2016.

Finding aid for W. D. Snodgrass letters and manuscripts to Jerome Mazzaro
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
2010 February 24
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University of Delaware Library Special Collections Repository

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Newark DE 19717-5267 USA