A Vexing Issue
Bill Knott is a glass-half-full kind of guy. Hell, he’s a glass-with-a-finger-of-ammonia-and-vinegar-in-the-bottom kind of guy, as this post shows. But he raises a legitimate and vexing issue. What happens to the papers of artists who are not connected? The ones who aren’t affiliated with a university, or who don’t have a family that recognizes the value of their work. (Consider Frank Samperi: if not for his daughter, Claudia Samperi-Warren, and her diligence in promoting his life’s work, what would become of his memory? Not to mention his papers….) I’ve never met Bill, but I’ve admired his poetry since I discovered him in 1969. The idea that such an original poet would have nowhere to park his papers for posterity is disturbing. What about the Special Collections Research Center at The University of Chicago Library, where Paul Carroll’s papers reside? Carroll published Knott’s first book, The Naomi Poems, Book One: Corpse and Beans in his prestigious Big Table series; surely their papers belong in the same archive….