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W. D. Snodgrass correspondence with Daniela Gioseffi


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

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Delaware Library Special Collections. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

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.

Poet and novelist Daniela Gioseffi was born February 12, 1941, in Orange, New Jersey. She was educated at Montclair State College, receiving her B.A. in 1963, and at Catholic University of America, receiving a M.F.A. in 1965.

Gioseffi's career has included working as a professional actress in stock resident and touring companies, in addition to writing and performing multi-media programs of poetry and music. Her critically acclaimed multi-media presentation, "The Birth Dance of Earth," first produced in New York in 1972, was based on poetry and music which she composed. Other writings by Gioseffi produced for the stage include "The Golden Daffodil Dwarf and Other Works" (1973) and "Fathers and Sons," a play based on Ivan Turgenev's novel (1973).

In addition to multi-media productions, Gioseffi has written short stories, poetry, a novel, and works of nonfiction. Her published works include

The Great American Belly Dance (novel, 1977), Eggs in the Lake (poems, 1979), and Earth Dancing: Mother Nature's Oldest Rite (nonfiction, 1980).

Her poetry and short stories are also represented in a number of anthologies as well as appearing in

Nation, Chelsea, Ambit, Quadrant, Dialog, Choice, Paris Review, Antaeus, New York Quarterly, Minnesota Review, Ms., and Modern Poetry Studies. Evory, Ann (ed.). Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 3. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981. p. 230.Evory, Ann (ed.). Contemporary Authors. New Revision Series, Volume 6. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1982. pp., 481-483.Murray, Timothy. "W. D. Snodgrass: An Exhibition." 1990.

This collection consists of correspondence between American writers W. D. Snodgrass and Daniela Gioseffi between 1978 and 1984 concerning personal interests, music, and poetry, particularly Snodgrass's

The Führer Bunker. Consisting of Snodgrass's original letters and the drafts or copies of Gioseffi's responses, the correspondence explores their personal relationship, as well as discusses their mutual interest in Middle Eastern music and instruments. As poets they also discuss their poetry and how their poetry readings could be combined with musical instruments. The letters mention Snodgrass's work on the poems for The Führer Bunker, which he was reworking for the stage. The letters also discuss Snodgrass's move from Norfolk, Virginia, to the University of Delaware and his life at his summer residence in Erieville, New York. The drafts of Gioseffi's letters convey her writing, personal life, and poetry readings.

In addition to the 31 letters there is a copy of Snodgrass's translation of the poem, "Cessés Mortels de Soupirer," written by Pierre Guédron, and a copy of the journal,

Point of Contact, which contains an article titled "W. D. Snodgrass Translates Four Spanish Songs."

The correspondence comprises Series I. and is arranged in chronological order. Series II. consists of the copy of

Point of Contact.

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

Purchase, 1986.

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

University of Delaware Library Special Collections
Finding Aid Author
University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
Finding Aid Date
2010 February 23
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

1978 May 30-1979 Apr 1.
Folder F1
Scope and Contents

Four Snodgrass letters and four Gioseffi drafts.

1979 Apr 8-May 31.
Folder F2
Scope and Contents

Four Snodgrass letters and five Gioseffi drafts.

1979 Jun 1-Nov 13.
Folder F3
Scope and Contents

Six Snodgrass letters and four Gioseffi drafts. Enclosed in the June 11 letter is a copy of Snodgrass’s translation of the poem, “Cessés Mortels de Soupirer,” by Pierre Guédron.

1979 Dec 21-1984 Jul 1.
Folder F4
Scope and Contents

Four Snodgrass letters.

Scope and Contents

Copy of the July 1977 issue of Point of Contact which contains the article, “W. D. Snodgrass Translates Four Spanish Songs.”

Point of Contact, 1977 Jul.
Folder F5
Scope and Contents

Inscribed by Snodgrass to Daniela Gioseffi on page 12.

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