David Smith Collection of Diane Wakoski Materials, 1950-2007 (MSS 687)

Restrictions: Original media formats are restricted. Viewing/listening copies may be available for researchers.

Extent: 1.8 Linear feet (4 archives boxes, 1 card file box)

The David Smith Collection of Diane Wakoski Materials is comprised mainly of Smith's unpublished manuscript on Wakoski's writings. The collection spans from 1950, when Smith and Wakoski began corresponding, to 2007.

Born in 1923, David Smith served in the Marine Corps from 1942-1946. He went on to earn his BA from Pomona College (1944) and his MA (1950) and PhD (1960) from Claremont Graduate School. Smith joined the faculty at Caltech, where he taught for more than three decades. It was there that Smith met Diane Wakoski, as Wakoski served as the poet in resident at Caltech. During the course of their acquaintance, David Smith & his wife Annette corresponded with Wakoski, exchanging her work and information for a book Smith was writing on Wakoski. David Smith started to write an extensive analysis of Diane Wakoski's work before he passed away in 1990. Smith analyzed and compared Wakoski's poems to her life experiences, through compiling correspondence and interviews he and others had with her. The manuscript was unpublished at the time of Smith's death.

The David Smith Collection of Diane Wakoski Materials consists mainly of writings and manuscripts by Smith and his collection of material on and by Diane Wakoski. It also includes some correspondence. Arranged in four series: 1) CORRESPONDENCE, 2) WRITINGS BY SMITH, 3) DIANE WAKOSKI, and 4) FILM AND SOUND RECORDINGS.

Container List


Scope and Content of Series

Series 1) CORRESPONDENCE. Primarily letters exchanged between the Smiths and Wakoski, arranged in two subseries: A) Letters from Wakoski to David and Annette Smith, and B) Letters from Wakoski to Clayton and Caryl Eshleman.

A) Letters from Wakoski to David and Annette Smith are arranged chronologically from 1950 to 2007. They are letters describing moves Wakoski was making or answers to inquiries from Smith regarding his manuscript. Wakoski continues to correspond with Annette Smith after David's death in 1990, discussing daily life, heath, and current events.

B) Letters from Wakoski to Clayton and Caryl Eshleman is comprised of photocopies of letters to Clayton and Caryl Eshleman. Letters are arranged in chronological order from 1973 through 1988 and include personal correspondence as well as professional publishing information.

Letters from Wakoski to David and Annette Smith

Box 1 Folder 1-30
1950 - 2005
Box 2 Folder 1-2
2006 - 2007
Box 2 Folder 3

Letters from Wakoski to Clayton and Caryl Eshleman

Box 2 Folder 4-10
1972 - 1978
Box 2 Folder 11
Box 2 Folder 12


Scope and Content of Series

Series 2) WRITINGS BY SMITH: Contains chiefly Smith's manuscript on Wakoski, but includes other short works, including reviews and commentaries on the writings of other authors. Smith had done extensive research regarding the psychology of Wakoski's works and compiled his findings. It is arranged in two subseries: A) Unpublished Manuscript on Wakoski, and B) Other Works.

Manuscript of Diane Wakoski

Box 2 Folder 13
Box 2 Folder 14-19
Chapters I - VI
Box 2 Folder 20-21
Notes on "Motorcycle Betrayer"
Box 3 Folder 1
Research into the psychology of Wakoski's Poems
Box 3 Folder 2
Research notes
Box 3 Folder 3
Research notes - "Diane and Politics"
Box 3 Folder 4
Research plans and notes
Box 3 Folder 5
Untitled typescript of book chapter

Other Works

Box 3 Folder 6
Smith, David - "Both Sides Now"
Box 3 Folder 7
Smith, David - Presentation to the Faculty Fellows of the Intercollegiate Program of Graduate Studies Seminar..
Box 3 Folder 8
Bibliography - "American Travelers"
Box 3 Folder 9
Notes on James Fenimore Cooper - Typewritten manuscript and handwritten notes
Box 3 Folder 10
Reviews of Wakoski, by Smith
Box 3 Folder 11
Interview with Diane Wakoski, by Smith - Transcript, 1974
Box 3 Folder 12
Commentary by David Smith on Wakoski's George Washington Poems
Box 3 Folder 13
Smith, David - "Obsession is Reason Enough", 1978


Scope and Content of Series

Series 3) DIANE WAKOSKI: Smith's materials on Wakoski, and other information she may have sent him. It is arranged in three subseries: A) Biographical Material, B) Published Works and C) Miscellaneous.

Biographical Material

Box 3 Folder 14
Advisory Board, The New York Quarterly, Winter, 1970
Box 3 Folder 15

Published Works

Box 3 Folder 16
Inside the Blood Factory (1968)
Box 3 Folder 17
The Motorcycle Betrayal Poems (1971)
Box 3 Folder 18
Smudging (1972)
Box 3 Folder 19
Dancing on the Grave of a Son of a Bitch (1973)
Box 3 Folder 20
Trilogy: Coins and Coffins... (1974)
Box 3 Folder 21
Virtuoso Literature for Two and Four Hands (1975)
Box 3 Folder 22
Waiting for the King of Spain (1976)
Box 3 Folder 23
Cap of Darkness (1980)
Box 3 Folder 24
Poems from "Sestina"
Box 3 Folder 25
"Diamond Story," "Mountain Road," and "Story History," in Chelsea , 1962
Box 3 Folder 26
"The Starving Vicuna," "Mill," "Largely because of Coincidence and Partly because of Chance I have Taken up a..." etc. - In Four Young Lady Poets , 1962
Box 3 Folder 27
"Software Report," in The Hardware Poets Occasional #3, June 1964
Box 3 Folder 28
"The Magi," The Pumpkin Pie, and "Gardenias", 1971 - 1972, 1981
Box 3 Folder 29
The Fable of the Lion and the Scorpion , 1975
Box 3 Folder 30
"Greed..." in Contemporary Literature , Autumn 1975
Box 4 Folder 1
"Searching for the Canto Fermo," The Missouri Review, Spring, 1978
Box 4 Folder 2
"The Marine Story," in The Burning World , 1986
Box 4 Folder 3
"The Day of the Autobiographical Frog," Ante
Box 4 Folder 4
"The Old Impossibilities," Ante No. 3
Box 4 Folder 5
Wakoski, Diane, drafts of poems


Box 4 Folder 6
Goya, Alan, "Galloping Goya: Diane Wakoski Interview," Whitman College Pioneer
Box 4 Folder 7
Interview with Diane Wakoski, last part of side 2 - Transcript
Box 4 Folder 8
Reviews of Diane Wakoski's works
Box 4 Folder 9
Wagner, Linda W., "Personism: Some Notes on the He and She of it"


Scope and Content of Series

Series 4) FILM AND SOUND RECORDINGS: Contains a film entitled "George Washington Sleeps Here," as well as an interview with Wakoski regarding Inside the Blood Factory, recorded on nine audiocassette tapes.

Box 4 Folder 10
Film - "George Washington Sleeps Here"