FROM THE BROTHERTON SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Tony Harrison’s remarkable archive is a comprehensive collection of notebooks, letters, photographs and papers documenting his work as a poet. Evidencing abundant connections with the University of Leeds (where Harrison studied from 1955-60 and where the archive is now held) it includes copies of his first published work in Poetry & Audience
, correspondence relating to his brief editorship of Stand in the 1960s, and letters showing how friendships formed at Leeds, with Jon Silkin, Wole Soyinka, Geoffrey Hill and James Simmons among others, would go on to shape his and their work.
A series of over 250 notebooks are arguably the highlight of the collection. Harrison settled on one particular type of notebook (A5, lined paper, blue boards and red cloth spine) in the mid-1970s, and has stuck with it ever since. The notebooks serve multiple purposes for Harrison, and reveal a multifaceted creative process, and a typical technique in which successive drafts are pasted over others, creating almost archaeological layers. The notebooks are also used as scrapbooks, and have a strong visual dimension: photographs, postcards, press cuttings and wine labels appear alongside drafts – perhaps research or inspiration, or simply what Harrison was drinking as he wrote.
A catalogue of Tony Harrison’s Literary Archive is available online at: https://library.leeds.ac.uk/special-collections-search.
Notebook BC MS20c Harrison/03/SCH/01 © Tony Harrison
Notebook BC MS20c Harrison/03/SCH/01 © ...
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