Poet William Heyen and Hannelore Heyen, his wife, will discuss their extensive collection of writings by 20th-century poets and novelists at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 26, when those books and papers are officially installed in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections at the University of Rochester.
The Heyen collection is now housed in the University's handsome new Hyam Plutzik Library for Contemporary Writing. Poet Hyam Plutzik was the University's Deane Professor of Poetry and Rhetoric at the time of his death in 1962. The prominent Plutzik Memorial Poetry Series was named in his memory shortly after his death and is regarded as one of the oldest literary programs in the nation. Professor Plutzik's family has provided leadership support for the development of this new literary arts center based in Rush Rhees Library.
The Heyen collection of approximately 10,000 items is considered to be one of the finest assemblages of inscribed first editions, manuscripts, and correspondence from major American writers during the past 30 years. With these documents at their disposal, students, faculty, writers, and visiting scholars can delve into the materials and use them as a magnet for creating and supporting contemporary writing.
Representing such writers as Joyce Carol Oates, Richard Wilbur, Robert Penn Warren, William Stafford, Gwendolyn Brooks, Raymond Carver, Rita Dove, May Sarton, and Archibald MacLeish, the collection was acquired by the University in January 1998.
For the March 26 program, which is open to the public, the Heyens will speak in the Welles-Brown Room of the library. At 3 p.m., a reception will be held in the Department of Rare Books and Special Collections. Selected works from the William and Hannelore Heyen Collection also will be on display within the department and its Alan F. Hilfiker Gallery from March 26 to May 20.
On April 17, a special afternoon and evening program will mark the dedication ceremony for the Hyam Plutzik Library for Contemporary Writing and its associated Jarold Ramsey Study. As part of those festivities, poet Gerald Stern will read at 7 p.m. in the library's Welles-Brown Room in the continuation of the Plutzik Memorial Poetry Series' 38th season.