Anvil Press Poetry:
A Preliminary Inventory of Its Records at the Harry Ransom Center
Founded in 1968 by Peter Jay and John Aczel in Oxford, Anvil Press began as an extension of the poetry magazine New Measure which ran for 10 issues from 1965-1969. This collection of Anvil Press Poetry editorial and production files consists of correspondence, poetry manuscripts and typescripts, proofs, galleys, financial records, artwork, publicity leaflets, catalogs, and other publishing material for the period 1965-1987. In addition, an almost complete set of books published by Anvil, received with the records, have been transferred to the HRHRC book collection. Many of these are signed and numbered editions.
Peter Jay provided a detailed box list and notes regarding the collection; however, at the time of purchase, the material was reboxed for shipping and much of the original organization was lost. Jay's filing system has been reconstructed whenever feasible, but production material for Anvil Press Poetry is arranged in a single alphabet with box numbers from Jay's list noted on the folders. Jay's list and notes are filed in Box 1, along with a copy of this preliminary inventory.
The records are arranged in five series: New Measure, 1965-1969; Anvil Press Poetry Production Material, 1968-1986; Correspondence, 1967-1987; Financial Records; and Peter Jay's Works and Translations.
Series I includes correspondence and production material for New Measure, which featured prominent as well as little-known writers, and new poems as well as translations. The correspondence files also contain holograph manuscripts and typescripts of poems which Jay housed in concertina files dating from 1965 to 1968.
The bulk of the collection is found in Series II which comprises Anvil Press Poetry production material from 1968-1986. It is divided into two subseries: Published Works and Unpublished Material. The published works are arranged alphabetically by poet's names, including Gavin Bantock, designer Asa Benveniste, John Birtwhistle, Johannes Bobrowski, Ronald Bottrall, Joseph Brodsky, Tony Connor, Marcus Cumberlege, Dick Davis, John Digby, Odysseus Elytis, Gavin Ewart, Harry Guest, Michael Hamburger, David Holbrook, Peter Levi, Christopher Logue, John Matthias, Vasco Popa, Peter Porter, F. T. Prince, Sally Purcell, Salvatore Quasimodo, Peter Russell, Michael Schmidt, W. G. Shepherd, Stephen Spender, Paul Verlaine and Peter Whigham. This material is arranged in publication order: production file, typescripts and revisions, setting copy, paste-ups, proofs, running sheets, jackets, and covers. Included in these titles is the Poetica Series, nineteen works mostly in translation, representing all ages and cultures from Persius to Nietzsche.
The unpublished material in Subseries B is also arranged by author. It contains manuscripts which Anvil considered but chose not to publish, along with unsolicited typescripts.
Series III contains Anvil correspondence files arranged in two subseries: Chronological and Alphabetical. The chronological arrangement reflects Jay's use of concertina files. The overlapping dates correspond with Anvil's split year publishing cycles. Correspondents, in addition to poets mentioned previously, include Al Alvarez, W. H. Auden, George Barker, Francis Berry, Maurice Bowra, Basil Bunting, Richard Burns, Charles Causely, Nevill Coghill, Lawrence Durrell, William Empson, Roy Fisher, John Fuller, Louise Glück, Geoffrey Grigson, Thom Gunn, Quintin Hogg, Michael Horovitz, Ted Hughes, Clive James, Donald Justice, Edward Kissam, Philip Larken, George Macbeth, Matthew Mead, Marianne Moore, Charles Osborne, Brian Patten, Janos Pilnszky, Craig Raine, Kathleen Raine, Herbert Read, Vernon Scannell, and R. S. Thomas. In addition to the concertina files, Jay maintained separate files for certain authors for the period 1979-1986. These files comprise the alphabetical subseries.
The business papers in Series IV include records for New Measure as well as Anvil Press. Included are invoices, correspondence, tax records, cancelled checks, ledgers, VAT records, check stubs, bank statements, and cash receipts. Also present are Anvil sales catalogs and business records related to the series Modern Poetry in Translation.
Peter Jay's non-Anvil publications and translations are found in Series V. His writings and translations for Anvil are listed in the published works section of Series II. Particularly well-represented in this last series is The Greek Anthology, edited by Jay. Along with production material, correspondence related to the publication of this book is present. Also included in this series is a file on Poetry International, a festival for which Jay was an assistant director in 1969-72.
Open for research. Part or all of this collection is housed off-site and may require up to three business days' notice for access in the Ransom Center's Reading and Viewing Room. Please contact the Center before requesting this material: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reg. No. 11913
Liz Murray, 1997