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Poetic Beauty

By Kristen J. Nyitray, Contributing Editor
Photos courtesy of Special Collections

In this issue, “Rare Treasures” highlights diverse poetry collections from Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) in honor of National Poetry Month for April. SCUA stewards the university’s collections of rare books, manuscripts, historical maps, and archives. The largest repository of its type east of New York City, students, scholars, and community members engage daily with these invaluable collections. For more information, visit

newspaper clipping of allen ginsberg
“Poets Immortalized By Video Taping,” Statesman, September 12, 1979, p. 5.

Poetry Center Archive
Stony Brook University has a long tradition of hosting readings of revered, emerging, and student poets. The Poetry Center Archive includes video and audio recordings that document poetry readings and programs held on the Stony Brook campus between 1967 and 1980. The first location of the center was the Melville Library, and it was created in 1976 as a place for research and study of poetry, and to bring renowned poets to Stony Brook for the benefit of the campus and community. Digitization of several early poetry readings that pre-date the center were filmed and can now be watched freely online. Among the poets featured in this archive are Allen Ginsberg, Robert Lowell, Kofi Awanoor and Gwendolyn Brooks. Click here to visit the Poetry Center Archive.

William Butler Yeats
William Butler Yeats photographed by Anne Boughton, 1903.

William Butler Yeats Collection
William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) was a prominent Irish poet and playwright, as well as a leader in the Irish Literary and Theatre Movements. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923. Spanning the years 1775 to 1973, the collection, originally reproduced on 34 reels of 16mm microfilm, includes manuscripts, correspondence, documents, printed materials, memorabilia, music, drawings, sketches, still pictures and portraits of Yeats, his family and his friends. Of particular interest to scholars are the unpublished works of Yeats, his many drafts and revisions of both published and unpublished works, and the correspondence files. The largest segment (approximately two-thirds) of the total collection consists of correspondence, often including drafts of works and accentuated with sketches. These letters present unusual insights into Yeats’ and the correspondents’ personal views of history, philosophy and society.

Jorge Carrera Andrade
Jorge Carrera Andrade

Jorge Carrera Andrade Collection

Poet, essayist and diplomat Jorge Carrera Andrade (1902-1978) was born in Quito, Ecuador. In 1922, he published his first book of poetry, Estanque inefable. An eminent and influential 20th century Latin American author, his career path was unique and included serving as a diplomat in Ecuador’s foreign service, Senator of the Republic of Ecuador, and ambassador to France. In 1970­ and 1972, he taught at Stony Brook University in the Department of Romance Languages. At times he lived in exile, and he chronicled his life experiences in correspondence, autobiographical writings, and poetry. The materials in Special Collections are primarily written in the Spanish language and were produced between 1923 and 1970. Contents include: autobiographical materials; typescripts; corrected holographs; personal and business letters; postcards; telegrams; newspaper and literary journal reviews; news notes; publishers and press notices; and advertisements.


Kristen J. Nyitray is Associate Librarian, Director of Special Collections and University Archives, and University Archivist at Stony Brook University. A Certified Archivist (Academy of Certified Archivists), she is recipient of the Chancellor’s Award (SUNY) and the President’s Award (SBU) for Excellence in Librarianship. Her current research and writing focuses on Long Island Indigenous history, local and public history, and cultural heritage. Among her publications are the books Stony Brook: State University of New York and Long Island Beaches.