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James Bertolino Collection

Manuscript Collection No. 16

Overview | Biography | Scope and Content


6.3 cu. ft. in 15 boxes. 1968-1981

Provenance: The Ohio University received the James Bertolino Collection as the result of its purchase from James Bertolino in February 1981. Tobbi Taylor processed the collection between January and April 1982.

Property Rights: The Ohio University Library owns the property rights to this collection.

Copyrights: Mr. Bertolino has retained such copyrights and/or literary rights as he possesses in these papers. Consideration of these and all other copyrights and possible literary rights is the responsibility of the researcher and publisher.

Access: The collection is open under the rules and regulations of the Ohio University Library.

Photoduplication: Ohio University will entertain requests to photocopy reasonable amounts of material from the collection for the convenience of individual researchers.

Citation: Researchers are requested to cite collection name, collection number, and Ohio University Library in all footnotes and bibliographical references.

Related Materials: Most of the works by James Bertolino, including The Descent, are available in the Ohio University's Archives & Special Collections Department.

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James Bertolino was born in Pence, Wisconsin on October 4, 1942. In November 1966, Bertolino married Lois Behling.

Bertolino attended Wisconsin State University at Stevens Point, the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the Wisconsin State University at Oskosh. Later he attended and taught at Washington State University and Cornell University where he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree.

Bertolino's teaching appointments include a teaching assistantship at Washington State University 1970-71, a teaching assistantship at Cornell University 1971-73, and a position as Lecturer at Cornell University 1973-74. He is presently an Associate Professor of English at the University of Cincinnati.

Bertolino's literary activity is both varied and great. He was a founder and consultant for the Cincinnati Area Poetry Project (supported by an Ohio Arts Council Project Grant) 1977-78. He was a member of the Literature Advisory Panel of the Ohio Arts Council 1979-80, and a member of the Judging Committee for the Elliston Book Award 1979-80.

Bertolino has also received numerous literary awards and fellowships. In 1979, he was the recipient of an Ohio Arts Council individual artist grant. He won a William Howard Taft Foundation summer fellowship in 1976. In 1975, Bertolino was a finalist in the competition for the Cincinnati Corbett Award (individual artist category). He won the Discovery Award from the Poetry Center in New York, in the year 1972, and the Hart Crane Memorial Foundation Award for three poems which appeared in the magazine Foxfire.

The poetry of James Bertolino has appeared in a number of journals, including Lillabulero, Northwest Review, Granite, Epoch, and Abraxas. His published books, pamphlets, and chapbooks are many and represent many small presses. Day of Change and Drool were published in 1968; Ceremony: A Poem, Mr. Nobody, and Stone-Marrow were published in 1969; Becoming Human was published in 1970; Edging Through and Employed were published in 1972; Soft Rock was published in 1973; and The Gestures, Making Space for our Living, Terminal Placebos, and The Interim Handout were all published in 1975; The Alleged Conception appeared in 1976 and Are You Tough Enough for the Eighties? in 1979.

In addition to writing poetry, Bertolino is an editor. He has edited the Cincinnati Poetry Review, Eureka Review, Rapport, Epoch, and Abraxas. Bertolino is an enthusiastic advocate of the small press.

Additional material of biographical interest may be found in Box 4, Folder 14, of the James Bertolino Collection, Ohio University Library.

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The James Bertolino Collection is contained in fifteen boxes. Approximately two thousand letters and a thousand poems written from 1968 to 1980 are contained in the collection.

The collection also contains letters and correspondence written by Bertolino to other poets discussing poetry and friends. Correspondence among the following poets and friends of Bertolino are included in the collection: John Ashberry, Doug Blazek, Robert Bly, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Creeley, Clayton Eshleman, Donald Hall, Michael Harper, Anselm Hollo, David Ignatow, William Matthews, Howard McCord, Tom McGrath, Robert Mezey, Josephine Miles, Bill Ransom, Ishmael Reed, Harvey Shapiro, William Stafford, Lewis Turco, and Michael Waters.

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