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|Abstract||Charleen Whisnant Swansea (b. 1933) graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1956 with an M.A. in Modern Poetry. In summer 1956, she married the architect Murray Whisnant. She taught English at UNC for one year before moving back to Charlotte, where she taught at Queens College until 1964. In 1964, Swansea founded Red Clay Reader, an annual magazine that published the work of southern authors and artists. She edited the magazine until 1970. She then founded Red Clay Publishers to publish books by women writers. The collection includes correspondence and other materials, some relating to Swansea's relationship with poet Ezra Pound. Letters, most written in 1955, chiefly concern daily activities, mutual acquaintances, and, to a lesser extent, literary matters. In 1946, Ezra Pound was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for treason and was committed to Saint Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C., where he remained for 12 years. Other items include ideograms in Chinese characters made by Pound for Swansea, writings by Swansea and others, printed material about Pound, and other items. Also included are editorial and other correspondence, editorial notes, business records, publicity material, manuscripts and art work submitted for publication, mailing lists, and other items, 1963-1976, relating to the Red Clay Reader. Some of the authors represented in these materials appear as online catalog headings. Photographs include a few of Ezra Pound and several relating to the Red Clay Reader. The Addition of April 2008 includes Swansea's unpublished memoirs; a book authored by Swansea titled Mindworks: How to Become a More Creative and Critical Thinker (South Carolina ETV, 1990); a videotape of a speech given by Swansea at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.; and a DVD collection of documentaries by Ross McElwee in which Swansea appears.|
The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.
Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.
Charleen Swansea, eldest child of Henry and Elvilee Swanzey, was born in Charlotte, N.C., on 27 May 1933. She worked through high school selling false teeth manufactured by her father. She was graduated from Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., in 1954 with a B.A. in Latin and English. In the winter of 1954, Swansea began corresponding with poet Ezra Pound, then at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, D.C. Pound had been declared unfit to stand trial for treason resulting from his support of Italian Fascism. Pound and Swansea corresponded frequently in 1955 and continued writing until around 1960.
Swansea graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, in 1956 with an M.A. in Modern Poetry. In summer 1956, she married the architect Murray Whisnant. Swansea became an instructor of English at UNC for one year before moving back to Charlotte, where she taught at Queens College until 1964.
After being fired from Queens College in a dispute over her nonconformist attitude (and possibly her position on race issues), Swansea founded Red Clay Reader , an annual magazine that published the work of southern authors and artists. She edited the magazine until 1970, when the publication was overwhelmed by the number of submissions it received. She then founded Red Clay Publishers to publish books by women writers.
Swansea was poetry editor for Southern Voices from 1973 to 1975. She published Poetry Power in 1973 and Word Magic in 1974. She served as poet in residence and director of poetry for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Public Schools in 1977.Back to Top
The Ezra Pound papers include correspondence between Pound and Swansea and other material about Pound that Swansea collected. The Red Clay Reader series includes business correspondence and other publication material, as well as manuscripts and copies of the magazine's seven issues. Pictures chiefly relate to the Red Clay Reader series; a few are from the Pound series. The Red Clay Publishers includes correspondence and mailing lists for the press. The Addition of April 2008 includes Swansea's unpublished memoirs; a book authored by Swansea titled Mindworks: How to Become a More Creative and Critical Thinker (South Carolina ETV, 1990); a videotape of a speech given by Swansea at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C., and a DVD collection of documentaries by Ross McElwee in which Swansea appears.Back to Top
Correspondence, primarily from 1955, between Swansea and poet Ezra Pound, as well as printed material that Swansea collected about him. Letters chiefly concern daily activities, mutual acquaintances, and, to a lesser extent, literary matters. The printed material, most of which was given to Swansea by Alice Stevens, a Chapel Hill resident and admirer of Pound, includes ideograms and writings.
In 1946, Ezra Pound was declared mentally unfit to stand trial for treason, and was committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Washington, D.C. Pound remained at St. Elizabeth's for twelve years. During those years, he developed relationships with a number of admiring young artists and writers. In December 1954, Swansea, sent Pound a Christmas card to which he responded. Pound and Swansea corresponded frequently in 1955; there are occasional letters until 1960.
About 115 letters and postcards from Ezra Pound, all originals, typed or handwritten, and about 60 from Swansea, some of which are originals returned by Pound or copies made by Swansea.
About 85 of the letters from Pound were written in 1955. Subjects include Swansea's personal affairs and her academic and literary efforts, which included a thesis on e. e. cummings; plans for editing a poetry anthology and the Carolina Quarterly ; translations of Catallus; and the artistic efforts, legal problems, and affairs of other young admirers of Pound in Washington. Pound referred briefly to other writers in some letters and occasionally mentioned his own work. There is frequent general advice to Swansea as a struggling young writer and literature teacher and occasional remarks about the art of translation and about Pound's contention that he was misunderstood by critics. Other topics briefly noted include contemporary poetry in the United States, American youth of the mid-1950s, and Buckminster Fuller.
The remaining 30 letters from Pound were written between 1956 and 1960. Pound continued to comment on Swansea's personal affairs and literary involvement. He occasionally made brief reference to his attitude toward Fascism and more frequently referred to responses of white southerners to civil rights activities. There are also references to American history and the Beat poets.
Other correspondence includes nine letters, one from Raymond Preston and another from Chao Tze-Chaing, and postcards addressed to Pound and given by him to Swansea. Three postcards, possibly from 1953, may have been retained because of the art works pictured on them. Also included are 15 letters to Swansea from others or copies of letters from Swansea to others, including Sheri Martinelli, one of Pound's associates in Washington. There is also one letter from Dylan Thomas's wife, Caitlin Thomas, after Swansea phoned her to suggest a name for her first child.
Ideograms in Chinese characters made by Ezra Pound for Swansea, writings by Swansea and others, printed material about Pound, material about Pound given to Swansea by Alice Stevens, and other items. Writings include a chapter from an autobiographical novel by Swansea about her first meeting with Pound at St. Elizabeth's Hospital. Other writings include an article by Pound entitled "Symposium--I. Consegna," a poem by Marianne Moore, and other works apparently by young associates of Pound.
Printed material includes items sent to Swansea by Pound or collected by Swansea. Included are articles about Pound written in English, Italian, and French; Chinese pamphlets; copies of Strike magazine and the bi-weekly Current; an article about segregationist John Kasper; announcements of publications of Pound's work; and other items. The Alice Stevens material includes a postcard from "Pounds Sr." (Rapallo, 1933); a page of notes, presumably made or copied by Swansea, about the Pounds' apartment, which Stevens apparently visited in 1931; and newspaper and magazine clippings about Pound and his work.
Other material includes a poster announcing a presentation on Pound by Swansea, a press release announcing Pound's selection as fellow of the Academy of American poets, and other items.
For photographs of Pound see series 4.
Editorial and other correspondence, editorial notes, business records, publicity material, manuscripts and art work submitted for publication, and other material of the Red Clay Reader, edited by Charleen Swansea, 1964-1970.
The Red Clay Reader, an annual hard-bound collection of writings, photographs, and artwork, was published for seven years by the Southern Review Corporation in Charlotte, N.C. The idea for this publication originally grew out of a creative writing class taught by Swansea at Queens College in Charlotte in the early 1960s. Frustrated by the lack of an outlet for creative writing in the South, Swansea led a group of individuals, including Duke professor William Blackburn, University of North Carolina professor Phillips Russell, her husband architect Murray Whisnant, lawyer Mark Berstein, columnist Harriet Doar, Marion Cannon, and Kenneth Shupp, in forming the Southern Review Corporation, named for the Southern Review , an earlier literary journal. After discovering that the earlier journal had been revived, the group decided to keep the corporation's name, but to call their journal Red Clay Reader.
The Red Clay Reader served as a forum for southern writers. Unlike many other little magazines, the Red Clay Reader paid writers and artists for their contributions. Grants from the Cannon Family Foundation, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Coordinating Council of Little Magazines helped to ease financial difficulties, and sales and patron subscriptions promoted by Swansea kept the magazine afloat for seven years. Publication ceased with its seventh issue in 1970 because of the large volume of manuscripts that were submitted. Swansea went on to publish individual volumes of poetry and fiction by women writers through Red Clay Publishers.
Correspondence almost exclusively between actual or potential contributors and the editor. There are also a few letters to and from non-contributors who shared Swansea's literary and creative interests. Included are a few copies of letters from the editor.
Most of the correspondence deals with writers' progress, acceptances and rejections, future projects, and specific works that had been submitted. Included are letters from Doris Betts, John Carr, Fred Chappell, Laurence Ferlinghetti, Norman Mailer, Joyce Carol Oates, Lillian Smith, Alice Walker, and numerous other southern writers.
Other editorial material, promotion and publicity material, and business records from the Red Clay Reader. Editorial material includes Swansea's notes about the history of the magazine; poetry editor Amon Liner's notes about poems that had been submitted; rejection letter forms; and worksheets marking the progress of typesetting and lay-out of several issues.
Promotion and publicity material includes lecture notes, letters about lectures; letters written to review contacts, promotional circulars and letters, invitations to annual publication parties, and clippings about the Red Clay Reader. Additional clippings are included in scrapbooks in Subseries 2.5, and promotional photographs are filed in series 4.
Business records includes financial materials, business correspondence, and distribution files. The early organizational material includes notes about meetings, letters from lawyer Mark Bernstein about incorporation and tax-exempt status, and information about the formation of the Southern Review Corporation. Financial material includes ledgers, a few bank statements, check stubs, bills and receipts, and notes about the Red Clay Reader budget and grants. Distribution material includes patron lists and mailing lists of various organizations from which the editor drew names of prospective buyers. (Distribution files are located in subseries 2.3.)
Distribution files for the Red Clay Reader organized in four card boxes.
Typed versions of articles, stories, and poems, almost all of which appeared in the Red Clay Reader. Arrangement is by issue number and by category within each issue. All manuscripts that were published are marked for the typesetter; many are marked with editorial changes as well. Manuscripts not published in the magazine include poems originally attached to editorial correspondence, other poetry and fiction not returned to writers, and a few unidentified poems and stories.
Note that manuscripts from the Red Clay Reader IV are missing because they were lost by the printer. A few other manuscript versions of material published in the magazine are also missing.
One copy each of the seven issues of the Red Clay Reader and two scrapbooks of reviews and newspaper clippings about the magazine, its contributors, or editor.
Graphics, including photographs and artwork, and about 300 printing negatives from the Red Clay Reader. Artwork includes drawings and photographs that appeared in the magazine or were part of groups of pieces submitted.
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Correspondence and mailing lists from the Red Clay Publishers.
Chiefly photographs of contributors to and publicity photographs for the Red Clay Reader. Also included are a few photographs of Ezra Pound, paintings by Sheri Martinelli, and one picture postcard.
Swansea's unpublished memoirs, a book authored by Swansea titled Mindworks: How to Become a More Creative and Critical Thinker (South Carolina ETV, 1990), a videotape of a speech given by Swansea at Meredith College, and a DVD collection of documentaries by Ross McElwee in which Swansea appears.
Video recording of a speech given by Swansea at the 2001 Founders' Day Convocation at Meredith College in Raleigh, N.C.
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Collection of documentaries in which Swansea appears, including "Charleen," "Sherman's March," "Bright Leaves," and "Time Indefinite."
Processed by: Suzanne Ruffing , July 1996
Encoded by: Lynn Holdzkom, June 2008
Finding aid updated in June 2008 by Jessica Sedgwick because of addition.Back to Top