Elmslie, Kenward

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An American poet, writer and lyricist associated with the New York School, Kenward Elmslie was born in New York City in 1929. The grandson of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer, Elmslie graduated from Harvard in 1950 with a B.A. in literature and began his writing career as a lyricist and librettist for theatre and musicals, including The Sweet Bye and Bye (1966) and The Glass Harp (1972). He published stories, short plays and poetry in small magazines and collections; collaborated with graphic artists including Joe Brainard, Donna Dennis and Ken Tisa; and served as editor and publisher of Z Press.

From the description of Papers, 1901-2000. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 44633892

BIOGRAPHY

Kenward Gray Elmslie was born in New York City on April 27, 1929, to William Gray Elmslie, a British businessman, and Constance Pulitzer, daughter of newspaper magnate Joseph Pulitzer. His early childhood was spent in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and he attended preparatory schools in Virginia, Ohio and Massachusetts. He was graduated from Harvard in 1950 with a B.A. in literature and began his writing career as a lyricist and librettist in collaboration with several composers. His published work for the musical theatreincludes THE SWEET BYE AND BYE (1966) and LIZZIE BORDEN (1966), music by Jack Beeson; MISS JULIE (1965), music by Ned Rorem, and three works with composer Thomas Pasatieri, THE SEAGULL (1974), WASHINGTON SQUARE (1976), and THREE SISTERS (1986). He also wrote both the book and lyrics for a musical, THE GRASS HARP (1972) based on Truman Capote's novel.

In 1954 Elmslie began to publish his stories, short plays and verse in little magazines and gather them into collections: PAVILIONS (1961), POWER PLANT POEMS (1967), ALBUM (1969), CIRCUS NERVES (1971), MOTOR DISTURBANCE (1971), ORCHID STORIES (1973), TROPICALISM (1975), TOPIARY TREK (1977), MOVING RIGHT ALONG (1980), SUNG SEX (1990), CHAMP DUST (1994), BARE BONES (1995), ROUTINE DISRUPTIONS (1998). He also began to collaborate with graphic artists, especially with Joe Brainard on THE BABY BOOK (1965), THE CHAMP (1968), THE 1967 GAMEBOOK CALENDAR (1967), and SHINY RIDE (1972); with Donna Dennis on 26 BARS; and with Ken Tisa on BIMBO DIRT (1982) and PALAIS BIMBO SNAPSHOTS (1982).

In 1973 Elmslie became the editor of the Poetry Project's literary magazine, Z, and continued through issue ZZZZZZ in 1978. He was also editor and publisher of Z Press, publishing work by John Ashbery, Bill Berkson, Jean Boulte, Joe Brainard, Ian Finlay, Steve Gianakos, Joanne Kyger, Harry Matthews, Ron Padgett, James Schulyer, Anne Waldman and Marjorie Walish, among others.

Elmslie belonged to the American Guild of Authors and Composers, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) and the Dramatists' Guild. His "Power Plant Sestina" (1967) received an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. ROUTINE DISRUPTIONS (1971) received the Frank O'Hara Award.

For a chronology of Elmslie's life, full bibliographic information for his work and an extensive interview, see William C. Bamberger, KENWARD ELMSLIE: A BIBLIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE. Bamberger Books, 1993.

From the guide to the Kenward Elmslie Papers, 1901-2000, (Mandeville Special Collections Library, UCSD)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Joe Brainard Letters, 1957-1994 Mandeville Special Collections Library
creatorOf ELMSLIE, KENWARD. Franklin Furnace artist file : miscellaneous uncataloged material. Museum of Modern Art (MOMA)
creatorOf Elmslie, Kenward. Papers, 1901-2000. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Schuyler, James. Papers, 1947-1991. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library) poetry readings, 1931- (ongoing). Woodberry Poetry Room, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn First Poems of American Poets. First Poems of American Poets records, 1969-1970. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Alternative Press (Detroit, Michigan). The Alternative Press records, 1961-1998 (bulk 1970-1995). University of Michigan
referencedIn Schimmel, Stuart B.,. Collection of miscellaneous literary letters, manuscript, and a document, 1735-1986. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
creatorOf Richardson, Claibe. Yellow drum : a musical play / book and lyrics by Kenward Elmslie ; music by Claibe Richardson ; based on the novel by Truman Capote. New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn John Wieners Papers., 1958-1986. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Miscellaneous screen, stage, and radio scripts, ca. 1859-2007. Harvard Theater Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard College Library, Harvard University
referencedIn Owens, Rochelle. Papers, 1900-1997. Columbia University in the City of New York, Columbia University Libraries
referencedIn United Artists (New York, N.Y.) Records, 1977-1983 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
referencedIn Padgett, Ron, 1942-. Ron Padgett papers, 1929-2008. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Ivry, Benjamin,. Benjamin Ivry collection of correspondence on Pavel Tchelitchew, 1981-1982. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Anne Waldman Papers (1945-2012, bulk 1965-2000) University of Michigan
creatorOf Richardson, Claibe. The grass harp : a musical play / music by Claibe Richardson ; book & lyrics by Kenward Elmslie ; based on the novel by Truman Capote, 1972. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf United Artists (New York, N.Y.). Records, ca. 1977-1983. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
referencedIn Margaret Leech additional papers, ca. 1899-1994. Houghton Library
referencedIn Ron Padgett papers, 1929-2008 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Gary Snyder Papers, 1910-2003;, (1945-2002 bulk) University of California, Davis. General Library. . Dept. of Special Collections
creatorOf Alternative Press (Detroit, Michigan). [The Alternative Press collection], 1969-1992. Wayne State University
referencedIn Berkson, Bill. Bill Berkson papers, ca. 1960-1988. University of Connecticut, Homer Babbidge Library
referencedIn Patty Mucha Papers, Bulk, 1969-1979, 1954-2011 Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn James Schuyler Papers, 1947-1991 University of California, San Diego. Geisel Library. Mandeville Special Collections Library.
creatorOf Kinross, Patrick Balfour, Baron, 1904-. Papers of Patrick Balfour, Baron Kinross, 1922-1976. Huntington Library, Art Collections & Botanical Gardens
creatorOf Porter, Fairfield. Fairfield Porter papers, 1888-2001, bulk 1924-1975. Archives of American Art
referencedIn Borders Book Store (Birmingham, Mich.). Portraits of writers, 1988-1994. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Elmslie, Kenward, 1929-. Shirley Temple surrounded by lions : poem, [n.d.]. Brown University Archives, John Hay Library
referencedIn Parnassus: poetry in review records, 1971-1996 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Ruth and Augustus Goetz papers, 1930-1966 The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.
referencedIn Rochelle Owens Papers, 1900-1997 Columbia University. Rare Book an Manuscript Library
referencedIn Larry Fagin Papers., n.d., 1958-1977. Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Center.
referencedIn Poetry mss., 1954-2002 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
referencedIn Fairfield Porter papers, 1888-2001 (bulk 1924-1975) Archives of American Art
referencedIn Eye and Ear Theater Archive, 1979-1996 (Bulk ) Fales Library & Special Collections
referencedIn Archives of Ant's forefoot, 1967-1977. University of Pittsburgh
creatorOf Aldan, Daisy. Papers, 1946-1966. Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
creatorOf Elmslie, Kenward. Kenward Elmslie papers, ca. 1968-1998. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Brainard, Joe, 1942-1994. Joe Brainard letters, 1957-1994. University of California, San Diego, UC San Diego Library; UCSD Library
creatorOf Kenward Elmslie Papers, 1901-2000 Mandeville Special Collections Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Aldan, Daisy. person
associatedWith Alternative Press (Detroit, Michigan) corporateBody
associatedWith Ashbery, John, person
associatedWith Berkson, Bill, person
associatedWith Berrigan, Ted, person
associatedWith Borders Book Store (Birmingham, Mich.) corporateBody
associatedWith Brainard, Joe, 1942- person
associatedWith Chernoff, Maxine, 1952- person
associatedWith Clark, Tom, 1941- person
associatedWith Corbett, Bill, 1942- person
associatedWith Di Prima, Diane, person
correspondedWith Fagin, Larry. person
associatedWith First Poems of American Poets. corporateBody
associatedWith Fraser, Kathleen, 1937- person
associatedWith Gizzi, Peter, person
associatedWith Goetz, Ruth person
associatedWith Ivry, Benjamin, person
associatedWith Kinross, Patrick Balfour, Baron, 1904-. person
associatedWith Koch, Kenneth, 1925-2002, person
associatedWith Kyger, Joanne, person
associatedWith Lauterbach, Ann, 1942- person
associatedWith Leech, Margaret, 1893-1974 person
associatedWith Mayer, Bernadette, person
associatedWith Messerli, Douglas, 1947- person
associatedWith Modern Poetry Association corporateBody
associatedWith Owens, Rochelle. person
associatedWith Padgett, Ron, person
associatedWith Padgett, Ron, 1942- person
correspondedWith Parnassus: poetry in review corporateBody
associatedWith Porter, Fairfield. person
associatedWith Richardson, Claibe. person
associatedWith Schimmel, Stuart B., person
correspondedWith Schuyler, James person
associatedWith Schuyler, James, person
associatedWith Snyder, Gary person
associatedWith United Artists (New York, N.Y.) corporateBody
associatedWith Waldman, Anne, 1945- person
correspondedWith Wieners, John. person
associatedWith Woodberry Poetry Room (Harvard College Library). corporateBody
associatedWith Z Press corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Subject
American poetry--20th century
Occupation
Lyricists
Activity

Person

Birth 1929-04-27

Information

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SNAC ID: 7722988