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Bruce Boone papers

Identifier: PCMS-0126

Scope and Contents

The Bruce Boone papers consists of records created, accumulated, and used by Bruce Boone between the years of 1940 and 2014. Included within the collection are materials related to his career as a poet and writer, his education, family history, friends, and life in San Francisco, CA and Portland, OR. Record types in the collection include typed and handwritten manuscripts, correspondence, manuscripts by contemporaries, photographs, audio recordings, objects, artwork, and born-digital material. Efforts were taken to clean pages and flatten folded items for safe storage and access.

Also included are materials from James Holley, his partner from the early 1990s until his death in 2009. Holley’s materials include manuscripts, correspondence, and personal papers. The collection was accompanied by selections of Holley’s original artwork. The pieces are monumental, sculptural found-object collages that range in size. The have been donated to the poetry collection for preservation purposes.


  • 1940 - 2014


Conditions Governing Access

The Bruce Boone papers, 1940-2014, are open to researchers. Portions of this collection have been minimally processed. Privacy protected information (including but not limited to certain educational, medical, financial, criminal, attorney-client, and/or personnel records) may be revealed during use of archival collections, particularly in collections that are unprocessed or have been minimally processed. Researchers agree to make no notes or other recordation of privacy protected information if found within the archival collections, and further agree not to publish, publicize, or disclose such information to any other party for any purpose if found within the archival collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright of papers in the collection may be held by their authors, or the authors' heirs or assigns. Researchers must obtain the written permission of the holder(s) of copyright and the Poetry Collection before requesting photocopies and/or publishing quotations from materials in the collection. Once permission is obtained, most papers may be copied in accordance with the library's usual procedures unless otherwise specified.

Biographical / Historical

Bruce Boone (b. 1940) was born and raised in Portland, OR. He attended Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, CA, double majoring in Philosophy and English. Following Saint Mary’s he became a Catholic postulant, but moved away from this pursuit just a year and a half in. After a return to California’s bay area, he attended Berkeley College, earning a PhD. in English in 19761. Boone’s dissertation, Gay Language as Political Praxis: The Poetry of Frank O’Hara centered on positioning Frank O’Hara’s verse as part of a larger movement and analyzing the depth of his poetry without turning a blind eye to his sexuality, which many critics of the time did. Early in 1970, Boone connected with Robert Gluck, establishing a friendship on their mutual love for Frank O’Hara’s poetry. Together, they—along with a group of other writers in their literary circle—founded a movement they termed New Narrative2. Writers in this group included (but were not limited to) Kathy Acker, Steve Abbott, Dennis Cooper, Dodie Bellamy, Kevin Killian, Michael Amnasan, and Camille Roy. The movement was largely focused on creating a new experimental formalism marked by a tone of honesty and confessionalism that pointedly draws threads between identity and social and political issues. Two important early publications were Gluck’s Family Poems (Black Star Series, 1979) and Boone’s My Walk with Bob (Black Star Series, 1979). Made up of dialogues and reflections from walks around San Francisco, Boone’s novella proved to be immensely influential with his contemporaries from Small Press Traffic and attendees of Bob Gluck’s workshops, who were all looking for a new modes of communicating and connecting through writing and art. With Century of Clouds (Hoddypoll Press, 1980), published in 1980, Boone centers his narrative on the Marxist Literary Group’s Summer Institute on Culture and Society in St. Cloud, Minnesota. Boone attended the summer institute, which featured speakers such as Fredric Jameson and Terry Eagleton. While the story of Century of Clouds jumps off from this setting and milieu, it blossoms out into much further reaching and personal territory, touching on themes of community, connection, sex, feminism, identity politics, and spirituality. With his characteristic humor and candor, Boone’s cyclical, discursive writing profoundly finds strands between seemingly disparate events and ideas, continuously rebuking the readers expectations.

The 1970s and 1980s were a prolific period for Bruce Boone. He published poems and essays in numerous journals and publications, including American Book Review, Fuse, L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E, and Poetics Journal. He published the chapbooks Karate Flower (Hoddypoll Press, 1973) and The Truth About Ted (exempli gratia, 1984). Other works from around this time include a poetry collaboration with Bob Gluck titled La Fontaine (Blackstar Editions, 1981), the self-published pamphlet Toward a Gay Theory for the 80s, and the stories David, His Charm (Storytellers 1986) and A Visit with Roy (Tamarisk, 1983).

In 1988, Boone embarked upon translating works from French to English, beginning with Georges Bataille’s Guilty (Lapis Press, 1988). Throughout the nineties and into the early-2000s he translated another work by Bataille, On Nietsche (Paragon House, 1998), works by Pascal Quignard, including On Wooden Tablets: Apronenia Avitia (Burning Deck, 2001) and Albucius (Lapis Press, 1993), and Pacific Wall (Lapis Press, 1990) by Jean Francois Lyotard.

In the early 1990s, Boone met James Holley and the two became partners up until 2009 when Holley passed away. Holley was an inventive writer, musician and artist in his own right. The two lived together in San Francisco and had immense impacts on each other’s work. Following Holley’s death, Boone began a wordpress blog titled “A Stele for Jamie”. The blog is a diaristic account, commemorating their relationship and confronting the profound grief associated with the loss of a partner. The blog begins in August of 2010 with a poem titled “Jamie” and ends in August 2011 with a post simply titled “The End”. The blog is heart wrenching in its openness and honesty and exemplifies the energy and urgency that typifies Boone’s writing.

With increased interest in the work of New Narrative writers in the early 2000s, came recognition for Boone’s work. Nightboat Books reprinted Century of Clouds (Nightboat Books, 2009) and in 2020 they published a large collection of previously published and unpublished poems, essays, reviews, interviews, and other works, edited by Rob Halpern titled Bruce Boone Dismembered (Nightboat Books, 2020). The book highlights Boone’s versatile talent and the scale of his interests, always considering community and introspection together. Interviews with Boone and writings about New Narrative continue to position him at the center of the literary movement, cementing his reputation as an influential and integral modern day literary figure.


1. Sneathen, E. (n.d.). Bruce Boone, author at Open Space. Open Space. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from

2. Kennedy, E. (2020, April 6). Bruce Boone. BOMB Magazine.


47.17 Linear Feet

2.65 Gigabytes (259 files, 5 folders)

Language of Materials



Bruce Boone is a poet, writer, translator, and activist living and working in San Francisco, CA. The Bruce Boone papers span the years 1940-2014 and contain Boone’s manuscripts, correspondence, personal records, writings by contemporaries, and original artwork. The collection contains paper, analog, and born-digital records.


The collection is arranged into eight series based on record type. The materials in the collection arrived at the poetry collection with largely no discernable order, with varying degrees of organization, and, in effect, many of the materials have been refiled and rearranged for storage and access purposes. However, some materials arrived organized into boxes and folders. In these instances, the original order has been maintained and noted. Unless otherwise noted, items with folders were re-foldered, but not rearranged. In many cases the folder titles have come directly from the titles Bruce Boone gave them. Any works with no folder and missing or ambiguous titles have been supplied a folder title by the processor. Works with no obvious title have been supplied titles, indicated by brackets.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials in this collections were donated by Bruce Boone in 2014.

Separated Materials

The following materials have been integrated into the Poetry Collection and may be found in the catalog:

  1. Scream of the Midnight Owl by Randy Smallwood
  2. Full Circle: A Poetry Anthology
  3. Tales of Sagittarius by James Mitchell
  4. Tooth Fairy by Brandon Brown
  5. A Steamy Session at the Savoy of Sweet Tomorrow and Other Poems for the Revolution by Fred Pietarinen
  6. New Yipes Reader No. 8 edited by Bruce Boone
  7. Solanas Supplement to Dwan No. 2
  8. Chelsea 76
  9. Ottotole Number 2, Winter 1986/87
  10. Soup No. 1
  11. The Swans Rag Issue 3
  12. Records by Bob Rivera
  13. Karate Flower by Bruce Boone
  14. Inverness by Agnes Wolohan Smuda
  15. Left Write! Edited by Steve Abbott
  16. New Yipes Reader No. 6 edited by Geraldine Kim
  17. RFD No. 10

Processing Information

Processed by Kolbe Resnick in 2022. Finding aid encoded by Kolbe Resnick, 2022. Materials were received in varying degrees of organization. Where possible the original order has been maintained, exceptions to this have been noted.

Digital files created by Bruce Boone were transferred to the Poetry Collection on storage media including floppy disks, CD, and DVD. Where possible, digital content saved on storage media was migrated from the storage media, normalized to standard preservation and access formats, and transferred to a stable preservation environment following the University Libraries' Digital Preservation guidelines. Some folder titles were altered and file arrangement reorganized to assist researchers in locating and identifying digital content. File names were altered to include the collection name at the beginning of the original file name. Empty folders were deleted. For a list of original file names, refer to the file manifests of each folder.


Finding aid for the Bruce Boone papers.
Finding aid prepared by Kolbe Resnick
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the The Poetry Collection Repository

420 Capen Hall
Buffalo New York 14260-1674 US
716-645-3714 (Fax)