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Leeds University Library is very pleased to have acquired the first part of the Archive of distinguished Leeds poet and playwright Tony Harrison. This rich and wide-ranging collection currently incorporates documents relating to his poetry and dramatic works from the early stages of his career (ca. 1955) up to 1991. At the core of the collection are 73 bound notebooks relating to particular projects usually resulting in plays, published works, film and opera, including The Loiners, The Misanthrope, From the School of Eloquence, The Trackers of Oxyrhyncus and others. There are a further 13 notebooks entitled "Poems". Each of the notebooks contains working drafts and notes, laid-in holograph manuscripts and revised typescripts, in additions to notes and thoughts, drawings, quotations, postcards, photographs, press cuttings, wine labels and correspondence. These are complemented by working papers, scripts, photographs, proofs, theatre programmes and other ephemera; and a further 39 commonplace books and journals.
A reception to mark the completion of the Leeds Poetry 1950-1980 project, and to celebrate the history of poetry at the University of Leeds, was held on 19 May 2008. The event was attended by over 50 poets and academics, and included speeches and presentations by members of the project team and an exhibition of items from the Leeds Poetry collections. The highlight of the evening was a reading by a number of poets and writers with personal links to the poetry collections, including Jon Glover, Judi Benson, Lorna Tracy, Jeffrey Wainwright, Rodney Pybus and Paul Mills.
From 16 June to 25 July, the exhibition 'Whitechapel at War: Isaac Rosenberg and his Circle', will be on display at the University's Audrey and Stanley Burton Gallery. Items from the Leeds Poetry collections have been contributed to a complementary display of selected books and materials from Leeds University Library's Special Collections in the Gallery's Education Room. These focus on Jon Silkin and Geoffrey Hill's interest in Isaac Rosenberg and other poets of the First World War.