David Bromige Papers, ca, 1960-2005 (MSS 6)

Extent: 0.25 Linear feet (1 archives box)

The correspondence of poet, playwright, and educator David Bromige (1933-2009).

David Mansfield Bromige, who resided in the Bay Area, is often associated with the Black Mountain School via the Vancouver nexus of poets centered around the magazine Tish.

He was born to Harold and Ada Bromige on 22 October 1933 in London, England, where his father was a director of documentary films. Until he settled in the Bay Area in the early '70s, Bromige led a peripatetic life: he travelled, held various jobs, and received an education in Europe, Canada, and the United States.

After attending prep school at Haberdashers' Aske's School for Boys in London, Bromige worked from 1950 to 1953 as a cowman on dairy farms in England, Sweden, and Canada. During the '50s he also supported himself as an attendant in mental hospitals in Canada and as an elementary school teacher in England and Vancouver, British Columbia. In the early 1960s he served as a freelance critic for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in Vancouver.

It was during his years in Vancouver that Bromige began gaining a reputation for his writing. In 1961 he won the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Playwriting Prize for "The Cobalt Poet," and in 1962 he won the KVOS TV Playwriting Prize for "Save What You Can." In 1961 Bromige divorced his wife of four years, actress Ann Livingston, and married Joan Peacock, with whom he had a son, Christopher.

Bromige received his B.A. from the University of British Columbia in 1962. That same year he began working toward his Master's Degree at the University of California, Berkeley. Two years later he received his degree from Berkeley and returned to the University of British Columbia, where he worked as an instructor in English for a short time. Bromige then returned to Berkeley where he continued his studies and taught from 1964 to 1970. In 1965 he published his first book, The Gathering, and he wrote his Ph.D. dissertation on the poetry of Robert Creeley and Robert Duncan - Duncan having been particularly influential to Bromige's own work. In 1970 Bromige married the writer Sherril Jaffe, and he began teaching English at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California - a position he held until his retirement in 1993.

Much of Bromige's influence on contemporary poetry has been the result of his association with various journals. He was poetry editor of the Northwest Review (1963-64), and editor of Raven (1960-62), R.C. Lion (1966-67), and Open Reading (1972-76).

Starting with his earliest work, Bromige's poetry has been centered on the page, not in the "real" world. He describes his writing as an exploration process, saying, "I am interested in poetry as speech arising from dumb desire and passion and arousing further word clusters until constellations emerge I had previously no knowledge were within me."

Bromige's publications include: The Gathering (Sumbooks, 1965), Please, Like Me (Black Sparrow Press, 1968), The Ends of the Earth (Black Sparrow Press, 1968), The Quivering Roadway (Archangel Press, 1969), In His Image (Twybyl Press, 1970), Threads (Black Sparrow Press, 1970), The Fact So of Itself (1971), They Are Eyes (Panjandrum Press, 1972), Birds of the West (Coach House Press, 1973), Ten Years in the Making: Selected Poems, Songs, and Stories, 1961-1970 (Vancouver Community Press, 1973), Tight Corners and What's Around Them (Black Sparrow Press, 1974), Spells and Blessings (Talon Press, 1974), Out of My Hands (Black Sparrow Press, 1974), Credences of Winter, (Black Sparrow Press, 1976), My Poetry (The Figures, 1980), Red Hats (Tonsure Press, 1986), and Desire: Selected Poems (Black Sparrow Press, 1988). Bromige died in Sebastopol, California in 2009.

The David Bromige Correspondence includes exchanges with such noted American writers as Ted Berrigan, Robert Bly, Richard Brautigan, Robert Creeley, Robert Duncan, Clayton Eshleman, Denise Levertov, George Oppen, and Gary Snyder. The collection is arranged alphabetically by correspondent. The materials cover the period from approximately 1962 to 1972 and include copies of written materials and often detailed exchanges concerning publishing and readings.

A major addition to this collection is in process as of 2023.

This collection has additional unprocessed materials not described in this finding aid. See the UC San Diego Library catalog record to view the acquisition dates and extent of unprocessed additions.

Container List


Box 1 Folder 1
Berrigan, Ted

3 TScs, including the poems "Bolingbroke," "Ikonostasis," "Sunlight in Jungle-Land," and "Dick Gallup (Birthday)."

Box 1 Folder 2
Bly, Robert, 1971

1 ALs

Box 1 Folder 3
Brautigan, Richard, 1966

1 TSa, "The Pretty Office" (1966)

Box 1 Folder 4
Corman, Cid, 1963

2 TLs

Box 1 Folder 5
Creeley, Robert, 1963-1972

3 ALs, 6 TLs, 2 TLc, 1 TPC, 2 APC, TSc ("The Finger"); xerox announcement of Creeley reading.

Box 1 Folder 6
Duncan, Robert, 1962-1970

8 ALs, 2 APCs; copy of Central County Clarion, 12 May 1970, showing picture of Duncan reading; 19 TS, 1 TSc ("Concert Reading Version of Adam's Way prologue," including narrative bridge).

Box 1 Folder 7
Eshleman, Clayton, 1968-1972

6 ALs, 16 TLs, 7 APCs, 9 TSs, 39 TSc

Box 1 Folder 8
Levertov, Denise, 1965-1970

3 ALs, 4 APCs, 39 TSc, including xeroxed selections from "Entr'acte," and "Europe after 10 years, England after 20 years, Summer of 1970."

Box 1 Folder 9
Oppen, George

1 ANs, 1 TNs

Box 1 Folder 10
Snyder, Gary, 1966

3 TS, including the poems "The Six Hells of the Engine Room," "The Wipers Secret," and "RECTIFY in Accord with the THOUGHT of Chairman MAO."

Box 1 Folder 11
Wakoski, Diane, 1963-1972

6 TLs, 1 APCS