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Contemporary Literature Collection
Simon Fraser University, W.A.C. Bennett Library

Poetry, Modern; Poetry--Collections; Small presses--Collections

In 1965, the English Department received a grant along with a commission to compile a bibliography of avant-garde magazines. As well, the department began building a special collection of little magazines, pamphlets, chapbooks, and ephemera on poetry from the period between 1945 and 1965. The Contemporary Literature Collection grew from this nucleus. Grants have been received from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to help build the collection.

The collection includes North American and British post-war experimental and avant-garde poetry. It contains works by selected poets, and criticism of their writings; works by lesser known poets committed to experimental methods; anthologies; little magazines; manuscripts; correspondence and other unpublished materials, and ephemera. The collection has items from 1909 to the present. The geographic emphasis is North American but there are a few British poets in the collection. The Black Mountain movement, the San Francisco Renaissance, the Beats, the New York School, and the Tish groups are well represented, as are seminal writers, Pound, Williams, Olson, Stein and H.D. Manuscript holdings include correspondence of Ezra Pound; the complete archives of Frank Davey, Gerry Gilbert, Michael McClure, bp Nicol, Open Letter, Talon books, and Fred Wah. Most new material is received from Small Press Distribution (SPD). Other titles, not supplied by SPD, are acquired as they become available.

English predominates with some translations of major authors.

19,000 monographs; 1,600 serial titles; 185 current serials; 1,000 audio tapes; 50 video tapes; 800 broadsides; 135 linear metres of literary papers.

Bibliographic Access
The collection is catalogued in the general library online catalogue. A card catalogue in the Special Collections and Rare Books is also maintained. LC and NLC subject headings are used, and the classification scheme is LC. The SPCL online manuscript catalogue consists of over 7,000 entries covering 35,000 items of the literary papers. Both the library's online catalogue and the SPCL online manuscript catalogue are available on the Internet.

Physical Access
The collection is in SFU Special Collections, which is open to the public. For further information visit:

Interlibrary Loan: Limited - only between Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia, and the University of Victoria.

Reprography: Yes.

Reference Assistance: Yes.

Publications Describing Collection
A brochure is available.