Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Kizer, C. mss., 1825-2004, consist primarily of the papers of poet Carolyn Ashley Kizer, 1925- . Carolyn Kizer was born in Spokane, Washington, the daughter of activist lawyer Benjamin Hamilton and biologist/professor Mabel Ashley Kizer. After receiving her B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied comparative mythologies with Joseph Campbell, et al. in 1945, she did a year of graduate work at Columbia University followed by another year at the University of Washington. In the 1950s, after three children and a divorce from first husband Stimson Bullitt, she turned to poetry and studied at the University of Washington with Theodore Roethke and his students David Wagoner, Richard Hugo, James Wright, among others. In 1959 she cofounded Poetry Northwest and served as its first editor until 1965. Kizer spent a year in Pakistan as literary specialist for the U.S. State Department, 1964-1965, and from 1966-1970 served as the first director of literary programs for the newly created National Endowment for the Arts. In 1975 she married her second husband, distinguished architect and historian John Marshall Woodbridge.

Kizer has taught poetry, literature and translation courses in universities throughout the country, been poet-in-residence at the University of North Carolina and Ohio University, and been a participant in international poetry festivals in London, Yugoslavia, Pakistan, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, Ireland and Scotland. Her publications include nearly a dozen books of poetry and contributions to many anthologies and periodicals. She has translated Urdu, Chinese and Japanese poetry and edited collections of other poets. She is a four-time winner of the Governor's Prize from the state of Washington for 1965, 1985, 1995 and 1998. Honors also include the Masefield Prize from the Poetry Society of America in 1983, the Theodore Roethke prize in 1988, several honorary doctorates, and in 1985 the Pulitzer Prize for her book Yin: New Poems.

The collection is arranged into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Writings by Others; IV. Teaching materials; V. Photographs; VI. Memorabilia; VII. Printed. Family papers are present throughout the collection, including papers of her father Benjamin, 1878-1978, and her mother Mabel, 1880-1955. An inventory of the collection is available.

Purchase. 2005

Collection size: 25,000 items

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.