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Fire Exit Collection

Identifier: PCMS-0046

Scope and Contents

Fire Exit (1967-1975), edited and published by William Corbett, contains editorial correspondence, submissions, and manuscripts from 1955-1992; production material for issues 1-4; and William Corbett's personal notebooks, ephemera, and manuscripts including multiple drafts of On Blue Note, City Nature, and Don't Think: Look. Fanny Howe and Ruth Whitman were co-editors of the first two issues. Poets represented in the collection include Michael Palmer, Fanny Howe, Susan Howe, Robert Creeley, Clark Coolidge, Mary Adams, Basil Bunting, Kenward Elmslie, Theodore Enslin, Barbara Guest, Lee Harwood, Lyn Hejinian, Gerard Malanga, Bernadette Mayer, Anne Waldman, Lewis Warsh, C.D. Wright, and John Yau.


  • 1955-1992
  • Majority of material found within 1967-1992


Language of Materials


Language of Materials

Collection material in English.

Terms of Access

The Fire Exit Collection is open for research.


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.

Historical Note

William Corbett (1942-), long-time resident of Boston's South End, is an educator, poet, critic, editor, and publisher. Corbett has taught at many institutions in Boston including Harvard and Maryland Institute of Technology and was an active member of Boston's literary scene before relocating to New York City, bringing poets associated with the New York School to the Boston-Cambridge area for readings. Along with editing Fire Exit (1968-1974), Corbett was also coeditor of The Boston Eagle (1973-1974), and is the editor of Pressed Wafer (1999-).


16.25 Linear Feet (38 manuscript boxes, 2 half manuscript boxes)


This collection contains material related to the magazine Fire Exit (1967-1975), edited and published by William Corbett for four numbered issues and related broadsides, including correspondence and submissions from 1955-1992; production material for issues 1-4; and William Corbett's personal manuscripts, notebooks, and ephemera.


The Fire Exit Collection is arranged in 3 series:

  1. I. Fire Exit, production
  2. II. Fire Exit, editorial correspondence and submissions
  3. III. William Corbett, personal


Acquisition Information

The Fire Exit Collection was purchased from George Minkoff on behalf of William Corbett in 1993.

Accruals and Additions

No further accruals are expected at this time.

Separated Materials

The following material has been integrated into the Poetry Collection. Items bearing notes and inscriptions have been photocopied and facsimiles have been placed in the manuscript collection.

  1. Poem card: "One day after another" by Robert Creeley, bearing note from Joe Brainard to William Corbett
  2. Cover Arts New York, vol. 1, no. 2
  3. Poem card:" Heavy" by Robert Creeley, bearing note to William Corbett
  4. "A Hundred Posters," issues 1-4, 6-9, 11-15, 17, 21, 23, 25, 28, 31-37, edited by Alan Davies
  5. Artist book: "A Pedagogick Poem from Bone Poor Two" by Billy Little
  6. poem card: "Paris, Frances" by Ted Berrigan bearing note from Raymond Foye to Bill Corbett
  7. Christmas card: "Christ Mass/Epiphany 1991" by Michael Franco, inscribed
  8. poem card: "The Matter of Britain, for Ric Caddel" by Harry Gilonis, bearing note addressed to [Corbett]
  9. broadside moved to catalogue: Hook and Cross by Paul Hannigan, 1964.
  10. " Redo" by Lyn Hejinian
  11. poem card: "Silver" by Gary Apotheker, bearing note from Lyn Hejinian to William Corbett
  12. "A Palinode" by Bill Little (Zonko), inscribed
  13. "Tens," no. 5, April 1974
  14. Christmas card by George Schneeman and Ron Padgett, 1973
  15. broadside review by David Bromige of Blake's Newton by Michael Palmer and illustrated by Bobbie Creeley
  16. Infolio 1990-10-01 -- 1991-06-12 (12 issues)
  17. broadside:" Letter From Stony Creek" by Stephen Sandy, inscribed
  18. broadside: "A zoo in winter" by Stephen Sandy inscribed
  19. broadside: "Spring Clear" by Stephen Sandy
  20. "Nurse's Hipflask," vol. 1, no. 1, 2, 4, 5.
  21. poetry card:" After Li Shang-Yin" by John Yau
  22. poem card: "Morning" by Andi Gates
  23. poem card: "After Miro" by Barbara Guest

Processing Information

Collection processed by Elliot McNally and Kamaria Busby.


Finding Aid for the Fire Exit Collection PCMS-0046
Finding aid prepared by Elliot McNally.
Description rules
Finding Aid Prepared Using Local Best Practices
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
The processing of this collection was made possible through generous funding from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, administered through the Council on Library and Information Resources' "Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives" Project.

Repository Details

Part of the The Poetry Collection Repository

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