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Aaron Shurin Collection

Identifier: PCMS-0086

Scope and Contents

The Aaron Shurin Collection, 1955-2012 contains correspondence, early manuscripts and unpublished poems, manuscripts for published work, books and chapbooks, periodical publications, documents relating to New College and Shurin's academic work, ephemera, other writers' manuscripts, notebooks, workbooks and journals, as well as a selection of early gay periodicals collected by Shurin.


  • 1955-2012


Conditions Governing Access

The Aaron Shurin Collection, 1955-2012 is open for research.

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 Note

Aaron Shurin is an American poet, essayist, critic, and professor. Born in 1947 in Manhattan, Shurin spent his teenage years in Los Angeles. In 1964, he began attending the University of California at Berkeley where he studied with Denise Levertov, who piqued his interest in poetry.

He returned to the East Coast for a brief period, where he helped found the Good Gay Poets press in Boston, Massachusetts. He returned to California in 1974, settling in San Francisco and becoming actively involved in the poetic and political gay community. In 1980, Shurin enrolled in the New College of California's poetics program, where he studied with by Robert Duncan and Diane Di Prima. Shurin was the first graduate of the college's poetics program, receiving an M.A. in Poetics in 1982.

Shurin has taught at many colleges and universities throughout San Francisco including New College, City College, San Francisco State College, and the University of San Francisco, where he directed the MFA writing program for a number of years.

In addition to appearing in numerous periodicals, Shurin has published more than a dozen books of poetry, including Woman on Fire (1975), The Night Sun (1976), The Graces (1983),The Paradise of Forms: Selected Poems (1999), and Involuntary Lyrics (2005). Additionally, he has published prose and essays, including Unbound: A Book of AIDS (2000).

A prolific poet and scholar, Shurin has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the San Francisco Arts Commission, and the California Arts Council, among others.


15 Linear Feet (35 manuscript boxes, 2 half manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



Aaron Shurin is a poet, scholar, and essayist. He is the author of more than a dozen books, a professor emeritus at the University of San Francisco, and recipient of several fellowships and awards including the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Men's Memoir/Biography. Shurin earned a BA at the University of California, Berkeley, where he studied with poet Denise Levertov, and an MA in poetics at the New College of California. His published poetry include Paradise of Forms (1999), Involuntary Lyrics (2005), and Citizen (2012). His prose work includes volumes of essays and criticism including Unbound: a Book of AIDS (1997) and The Skin of Meaning: Collected Literary Essays and Talks (2016). The Aaron Shurin Collection, 1955-2012 consists of correspondence, manuscripts, notebooks and journals, and coursework related to his time at New College of California, where he studied with Robert Duncan.


This collection is arranged in 6 series:


II. Manuscripts

III. New College

IV. Notebooks and Journals

V. Ephemera and Printed Material

VI. Early Gay Periodicals and Community Periodicals

The bulk of material is arranged in series according to its acquisition into the collection.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The Aaron Shurin Collection, 1955-2012 was purchased from Aaron Shurin by the Poetry Collection in 2013.


No further accruals are expected to this collection.

Processing Information

Processed by Sarah Akers.


Finding Aid for the Aaron Shurin Collection
Finding aid prepared by Sarah Akers.
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Best Practices
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the The Poetry Collection Repository

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