Larry Kearney papers
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
Larry Kearney (born 1943) is an American poet and author who has published numerous poetry collections, prose, and nonfiction works. Kearney is associated with a circle of San Francisco poets and writers he befriended in the 1960s that included Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, Joanne Kyger, and Richard Brautigan.
Kearney was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1943. He attended Brooklyn Technical High School and Harpur College. While in New York, Kearney developed an interest in poets centered in North Beach, San Francisco, especially Jack Spicer and Robert Duncan. Kearney moved to San Francisco in 1964 and connected with Spicer, Duncan, Joanne Kyger, and Richard Brautigan, among others.
Kearney began publishing poems in the privately-printedOpen Space magazine, a free publication that circulated in the San Francisco poetry community. He published his first book, Fifteen Poems, in 1964 under the White Rabbit Press imprint which was largely devoted to publishing works by writers in Spicer's circle. Kearney's early published prose writing includes the children's book Only a Little Planet (1970) and the novel Five (1972). Around 1976, Kearney began publishing under the name Larry Kearney to avoid confusion with poet Lawrence Kearney (born 1948).
Kearney wroteStreaming, a book of lyric poetry, in 1987 and collaborated with Jack Erdmann to write the memoirs Whiskey's Children (1997) and A Bar on Every Corner (2001). In addition to White Rabbit, Kearney has published through his own press, Worm in the Rain Publications, as well as Smithereens Press, Spuyten Duyvil, Listening Chamber, and others. He has produced over twelve books of poetry and has written numerous unpublished works including screenplays and noir novels under the pseudonym Ben Gunn.
Kearney has read and lectured at various institutions including The Poetry Project at St. Marks Church (New York), The Kootenay Writing Society (Vancouver), Intersection (San Francisco), the New College of California (San Francisco), San Francisco State University, and the University of San Francisco.
Spuyten Duyvil| Fish Gotta Swim. Accessed December 3, 2021. http://www.spuytenduyvil.net/fish-gotta-swim.html Ellingham, Lewis, and Kevin Killian. "Ducks for grownups: Jack Spicer, Larry Kearney, Jamie MacInnis 1964." Chicago Review, vol. 43, no. 4, 1997.
The Larry Kearney papers comprise the author's typescript and manuscript drafts of poems, playscripts, prose, and autobiographical works, both published and unpublished. The collection also includes letters and postcards to Kearney and a small amount of his personal items and ephemera. The collection is arranged into two series, I. Writing projects and II. Personal.
Series I., Writing projects, comprises Kearney's typescript and manuscript drafts of poems, plays, prose, and nonfiction works, arranged alphabetically by title. Included are partial typescripts for the novelsHearts Like Smoke and Martha that Kearney wrote under the pseudonym Ben Gunn. The series contains a draft of Kearney's Lost in the Stars playscript as well as a playscript for Whiskey's Children, adapted from his memoir written in collaboration with Jack Erdmann. Also included are typescript drafts of Kearney's "Burned Poems," poems printed on paper intentionally burned around the edges.
In addition to his writing drafts, the series contains galley proofs forEarthquake and Everything Goes but the Poem, as well as 1962 and 1964 editions of Clarendon, Harpur College's literary magazine, that include Kearney's early poems.
Series II., Personal, comprises letters and postcards sent to Kearney from his friends and acquaintances. Notable correspondents include Terry Bell, an artist/illustrator that worked with Kearney, and poets/writers Bill Berkson, Lucia Berlin, Tom Clark, Robert Creeley, Richard Duerden, Leslie Scalapino, and John Thorpe. The series also includes a notebook of Kearney's, one photograph of poet Joanne Kyger and writer John Thorpe, and a piece of event ephemera related to a poetry reading by Kearney and poet Leslie Scalapino.
Box 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
Box 2: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons
Box 3: Shelved in SPEC MSS record center cartons (6 inches)
Box 4: Shelved in SPEC MSS manuscripts boxes (1 inch)
Oversize folder 1: Shelved in SPEC MSS oversize mapcases
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Gift, Peter B. Howard, 2010. Purchase, 2008, 2016.
Processed and encoded by Dustin Frohlich, September-December, 2021.
- Erdmann, Jack
- Kyger, Joanne
- Scalapino, Leslie
- Berkson, Bill
- Berlin, Lucia
- Clark, Tom, 1941-2018
- Creeley, Robert, 1926-2005
- Duerden, Richard
- Thorpe, John
- American poetry--20th century
- American poetry--21st century
- Poets, American--20th century
- Poets, American--21st century
- Poets, American--20th century--Correspondence
- Authors, American--20th century
- Authors, American--20th century--Correspondence
- University of Delaware Library Special Collections
- Finding Aid Author
- University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
- Finding Aid Date
- 2021 December 12
- 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 Department, University of Delaware Library, https://library.udel.edu/static/purl.php?askspec
Listening Chamber, 2010.
Independently published, 2012.
Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, 2015.
Worm in the Rain Publications, 2008
Smithereens Press, 1986.
Transmission Press, 2006.
Spuyten Duyvil Publishing, 2020.
Worm in the Rain Publications, circa 2001.
Worm in the Rain Publications, circa 2000.
Worm in the Rain Publications, circa 1999.
Scalapino's reading script from poems in her collection,The Forest is in the Euphrates River.