A Preliminary Inventory of His Papers in the Manuscript Collection at the Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center
This collection of works of American writer and poet Harry Roskolenko includes typescripts of poetry, autobiographies, two novels, a "screen story," and a dramatic verse play. Reflecting his writing and publishing in both the United States and Australia, the collection spans 1941 to 1968 and is arranged alphabetically in a single Works series.
Poetry comprises the largest segment of works with over 850 poems in various stages of revision, written from approximately 1941 to 1957. There are drafts of published and unpublished poems, as well as photocopies of published poems from the 1950s. A typescript for the collection of poems, The Blood Tree (1950), is accompanied by Roskolenko's letter to editor Robert Glauber stating that this “much revised manuscript” contains thirteen new poems--"the Paris Poems"--while "I have taken out about ten poems."
Manuscripts for two of Roskolenko's three published autobiographies are present, When I Was Last on Cherry Street (1965), and The Terrorized: 1945-1950 (1968). The folder that housed the miscellaneous pieces of the Cherry Street autobiography reads, “Great reviews but not great sales.” This work, like others, chronicled his early years on New York City's Lower East Side.
The collection contains both galleys and revised typescripts of the novel Black Is a Man, about racism, published in 1953; and Lan-Lan, his novel about Cambodia between 1925 and 1931, published by New American Library in 1962.
Also present are an original screen story, "Command Performance," and a dramatic verse play about T. S. Eliot titled "Journey of the Five (Of Whom Three Were One)." The typescript of "Journey of the Five" is heavily revised and includes a note on the title page that states, “Read at Oxford. T. S. Eliot was present...."
Open for research
Purchase, 1969 (Reg. no. 5063)
Caitlin Murray, 2006