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UM News
October 05, 2010


The Patricia Goedicke and Leonard Wallace Robinson Papers are now available for public research at The University of Montana’s Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library.

The collection, in the library’s Archives and Special Collections, provides insight into the literary and academic careers of Goedicke and Robinson through the manuscripts of their work, correspondence and professional papers. It expands the breadth and depth of the University’s local literary collections, which include the Dorothy M. Johnson Papers and a collection of Richard Hugo’s notebooks.

An exhibit featuring materials from the Goedicke and Robinson papers will be on display in the library’s Theta Rho Room through March 1, 2011.

“This is a fantastic addition to the literary collections at UM, providing researchers materials that document a unique cross section of American writers and critics, and students an opportunity to study the process of two remarkable writers,” said project archivist Steve Bingo.

Goedicke (1931-2006) taught creative writing at UM from 1981 to 2003 and was an influential member of the University’s Creative Writing Program following the passing of Richard Hugo in 1982.

She wrote 13 books of poetry, including “The Tongues We Speak,” a New York Times Book Review notable book for 1990, and “As Earth Begins to End,” which was named one of Booklist’s top 10 books for 2000.

Robinson (1912-1999) wrote two novels and two books of poetry. He also served as editor of Collier’s magazine from 1956 to 1957 and as executive editor for Rinehart, Holt and Winston. In 1989 Robinson taught the Graduate Fiction Writing Workshop at UM, where David Allan Cates, in the winter 2010 issue of the Montanan, recalls how Robinson’s advice to him as a young writer renewed his wavering confidence.

“Patricia and Leonard brought rare talent and passion to their writing, their friendships and their marriage,” said novelist and UM Professor Deirdre McNamer. “It is purely wonderful to know that their words, their lives, will be accessible to so many via this archival project.”

Goedicke was meticulous in documenting her work, as evidenced by the numerous drafts and notebooks in the collection.

“While Goedicke’s poetry tends to leap boldly from idea to idea, her drafts and notebooks illustrate how regimented and focused she was in her practice,” Bingo said.

The collection also includes an extensive set of manuscripts for Robinson’s novel “The Man Who Loved Beauty” and a manuscript of a collection of his short stories that appeared in publications such as Harper’s and The New Yorker.

Notable correspondence in the collection includes those with literary figures such as Rosellen Brown, Erica Jong, Carolyn Kizer, Robert Lax, Deirdre McNamer, Howard Moss and Helen Vendler, as well as a letter from Robert Frost dating back to Goedicke’s college years.

Lois Welch, who taught literature courses at UM, calls the collection “a double treasure trove of information about the lives and works of two wonderful writers.”

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Contact: Steve Bingo, adjunct archivist, Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library, 406-243-2053,