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Brian Coffey letter to Dee


Held at: University of Delaware Library Special Collections [Contact Us]181 South College Avenue, Newark, DE 19717-5267

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Overview and metadata sections

Avant-garde Irish poet Brian Coffey (1905-1995) was highly influenced by French surrealism and produced works that drew from his interests in philosophy and religion, particularly Catholicism. Coffey ran his own press, Advent Books, in the 1960s and 1970s.

As early as 1924, Coffey began writing poetry. Under the pseudonym, Coeuvre, Coffey published his first poems in the University College, Dublin's

The National Student.

During these early years, Coffey met fellow aspiring poet Denis Devlin, who would become a lifelong friend. While in Paris in the 1930s, Coffey studied with French philosopher Jacques Maritain and became acquainted with Irish literary expatriates, Thomas MacGreevy and Samuel Beckett, both of whom encouraged his writing. Coffey’s best known work is

Missouri Sequence.

In 1966, Coffey attended printing classes and established his own press, Advent Books, which began publishing limited editions of poetry with a special emphasis on typography and jacket design. Brian Coffey died on April 14, 1995, at his home in Southampton, England.

"Brian Coffey." Dictionary of Irish Literature. Revised and Expanded Edition. Ed. Robert Hogan. Westport, Conn: Greenwood Press, 1996. "Introductory Essay."The Irish University Review, Special Brian Coffey Issue, 5:1 (Spring 1975): 9-29.

Irish poet Brian Coffey handwrote this letter to an unidentified person named "Dee" to accompany an issue of

The Lace Curtain, which published an extract from Concerning Making.

Coffey's letter regarded the difficulties which "Dee" had mentioned in a letter that Coffey had received that morning. Coffey counseled "Dee" that he could "appeal for good manners" from his "ill-motivated" attackers but "Dee" need not respond to their charges. The content of the letter suggested an academic setting and mentioned American literary critic and biographer Richard Ellman, who was teaching at Oxford in 1978. Coffey also referred to the accompanying copy of

The Lace Curtain.

Box 64, F0934: Shelved in SPEC MSS 0099 manuscript boxes.

Purchase, December 2012.

Processed and encoded by Anita Wellner, April 2013. Further encoded by George Apodaca, October 2015.

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2013 April 29
Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions

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,

Collection Inventory

Brian Coffey letter to Dee, 1978 October 20.
Box 64 Folder F0934
Scope and Contents

Also includes a copy of the Autumn 1978 (No. 6) issue of

The Lace Curtain , which published an extract from Concerning Making . Physical Description

1 item (3 p.)

Print, Suggest