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Michael Cuddihy Papers and Ironwood Press records, 1932-2000 (bulk 1949-1988)

MS 358

Collection Summary

Creator: Cuddihy, Michael
Collection Name:Michael Cuddihy Papers and Ironwood Press records,
Inclusive Dates: 1932-2000
Bulk Dates: (bulk 1949-1988)
Physical Description:11.25 linear ft.
Abstract:This collection consists of the personal papers, correspondence, drafts of his unpublished manuscript entitled Man on a Seesaw, photographs and poems of Michael Cuddihy 1932-2000. The records of the Ironwood Press and Ironwood magazine consists of contributor’s draft manuscripts of poetry, correspondence, chapbooks and select office files.
Collection Number:MS 358
Repository: University of Arizona Libraries, Special Collections
University of Arizona
PO Box 210055
Tucson, AZ 85721-0055
Phone: 520-621-6423
Fax: 520-621-9733

Biographical Note

Michael Cuddihy was born in 1932 in New York City. His family was steeped in literature and publishing; his grandfather and father headed the publishing firm Funk and Wagnalls.

Cuddihy was 19 and a student at Notre Dame University when he was stricken with respiratory polio on Labor Day 1951. For nine months, he lived in an iron lung, after which he shifted to a rocking bed. Eventually, he used a wheelchair and was able to walk with assistance. .

Cuddihy resumed his education in the fall of 1953 at Columbia University. In 1956 he moved to Tucson, Arizona, and continued his studies at the University of Arizona. Cuddihy graduated in 1959 with a B.A. degree in History. Throughout the 1960s, Cuddihy worked as a translator and attended graduate classes in American and European history at the University of Arizona. In 1966 he dropped out of graduate school to devote himself to his translating work and published an English version of Jacques Maritain’s The Peasant of Garonne (1967). While in Tucson, Cuddihy discovered his love for poetry, and wrote: “I was hungry for personal experience, anxious to get close to my feelings. Poetry might be a way. I began writings, spending hours with poetry, or alone in the desert or along dry riverbeds listening...” He began reading poetry journals and submitting work to journals; six poems were accepted by Kayak, a magazine known to publish new poets.

In 1971, Cuddihy attended a summer workshop at Cornell given by his second cousin’s husband, poet William Mathews, and it was there the idea for his poetry magazine Ironwood was born. The name for the magazine was chosen both for the symbolic and physical qualities of the ironwood tree. In Try Ironwood he wrote that while reading over his poems, he ”… came to realize, rooted as he was in a wheelchair, how deeply he felt drawn to trees, themselves deeply rooted yet reaching well into the sky.” It seemed an apt metaphor for a poet. Ironwood magazine was published from 1972-1988, and the Ironwood Press published 14 chapbooks.

In 1979, Cuddihy married Mary Cusick, the sister of his college roommate at Norte Dame University. Mary, a poet, had flown to Tucson to assist with the magazine and became the business manager for Ironwood. Mary and Michael spent their summers in northern California where they were able to mingle with poets, and developed close relationships with George and Mary Oppen and Czelaw Milosz, among others. In 1983, Cuddihy was one of the founders of the ongoing Tucson Poetry Festival. On July 13, 2000 Michael Cuddihy died at his home in Tucson from complications of pneumonia.

Historical Note

Ironwood magazine was founded in Tucson, Arizona, in 1972 by Michael Cuddihy. It was projected as a bi-annual collection of poetry with occasional reviews and essays, although the number of prose works increased as the magazine became more established.IronwoodI magazine quickly became known in the poetry world and attracted such names as Diane Wakoski, Philip Booth and Alberto Rios, and received numerous state and federal grants. Many of the poems that were printed in Ironwood magazine were unsolicited. Poets eagerly submitted work for the final issue of Ironwood(no. 32/33, Spring/Fall 1988). Michael Cuddihy was proud of his accomplishments and the influence of his magazine in the literary world.

Ironwood published a number of special issues devoted to the work of a single poet. Issues of note highlighted the works of George Oppen (no. 5 and no. 26), James Wright (no.10), Czelaw Milosz (no.18, which was published prior to his winning the Nobel Prize), and Tomas Transtromer (no.13). Ironwood (no. 5), the first special issue, included seven of George Oppen’s poems, including the long poem "The Book of Job", and an interview with him by David Gitin. These were complemented by a memoir from Oppen’s wife, Mary, and appreciations by Charles Tomilinson, Diane Wakoski, Bruce Andrews, Rachel Blau DuPlessis and Theodore Enslin. Memoirs and essays from Oppen’s fellow “objectivists,” Carl Rakosi and Charles Reznikoff, rounded out the issue.

The diverse range of Ironwood’s special issues focused on aspects of poetry or literary criticism, including (no. 7/8), with a section on Ten Young Tucson Poets; (no. 17), Chinese Poetry Symposium; (no. 20) Language Poets; and (no. 24) Poetics. Ironwood (no. 17), titled "Chinese Poetry and the American Imagination" featured essays and criticism by Robert Bly, Gary Snyder, Jonathan Chavez, Stanly Kunitz, James Wright, Kenneth Rexroth and others in a "symposium” format along with translations of selected Chinese poets. Ironwood (no. 20) was a dual issue featuring the works of Hilda Morley and a section titled “Realism and Anthology of Language Poets,” edited by Ron Silliman. The issue provided an introduction to the influential West Coast-based movement and its strong national participants.

Slight in appearance, Ironwood aimed to publish younger and lesser-known poets, several of whom were published for the first time in Ironwood. One of Michael Cuddihy's objectives as editor was to provide a wider publications venue for women poets. In the first four issues of the journal, only 23 of 138 contributors were women; it was not until Ironwood 12 that women comprised half of the contributors. Another defining feature of Ironwood was its regular inclusion of work in translation. Ironwood 1 had inaugurated this feature by including poetry by Jean Follain in translations by William Matthews and Mary Feeny. Other poets presented in translation included Pablo Neruda, Antonio Muchado, Paul Eluard, Rainer Maria Rilke, Rene Char, and Rafael Alberti.

Michal Cuddihy ceased publication of Ironwood magazine in 1988 because, he said “…it had become increasingly difficult to handle the endless flow of manuscripts with the kind of care and attention they deserve and that good editing requires.”

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of the personal papers and poems of Michael Cuddihy and the records of the Ironwood Press, including office and production materials for the literary magazine Ironwood. The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence between Cuddihy and contributors to Ironwood. The contributors are 20th century poets, including Kenneth Rexroth, Charles Simic, Czeslaw Milosz, Will Inman, Gary Snyder, David Ignatow, George Oppen and Diane Wakoski. The Ironwood productions files consist of typescripts, corrected typescripts, and when available, original cover artwork. The last series of this collection contains the writings of Michael Cuddihy, including seven drafts of his unpublished autobiographical manuscript entitled "Man on a Seesaw".


This collection is organized into 6 series
Series I: Biographical information for Michael Cuddihy and historical information for Ironwood Press, 1932-2000
Series II: Correspondence, 1949-2000
Series III: Ironwood Prouduction Files, 1972-1988
Series IV: Chapbooks, 1972-1981
Series V: Ironwood Press office files, 1972-1995
Series VI: Publications relating to Michael Cuddihy



The fellowship application material in Series V, box 23, folder 6 are restricted until 2035.


It is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission to publish from the owner of the copyright (the institution, the creator of the record, the author or his/her transferees, heirs, legates, or literary executors). The user agrees to indemnify and hold harmless the Arizona Board of Regents for the University of Arizona, its officers, employees, and agents from and against all claims made by any person asserting that he or she is an owner of copyright.

Access Terms

Personal Name(s)
Cuddihy, Michael, 1932-2000.
DuPlessis, Rachel Blau--Correspondence
Miłosz, Czesław--Coreespondence.
Oppen, George--Corespondence.
Rexroth, Kenneth, 1905-1982--Correspondence.
Simic, Charles, 1938- --Corespondence.
Snyder, Gary--Correspondence.
Stanford, Frank, 1948-1978--Correspondence.

Corporate Name(s)
Ironwood Press--Archives.

American poetry--20th century.
Poetry -- Publishing -- United States -- History -- 20th century.
Small presses – Arizona
Small presses – United States

Administrative Information

Credit Line

Michael Cuddihy Papers and Ironwood Press records (MS 358). Special Collections, University of Arizona Libraries.

Container List

Series I: Biographical Information, 1940s-2000
11 List of Cuddihy’s published writings undated
12 Ironwood back issue list and Chapbook series list, 1972-1988
13 Personal material undated
14 Photographs [1930's-1992]
15 Papers Michael Cuddihy and family 1960-1975
16 Publicity Michael Cuddihy and Ironwood Press 1972-2000
17 College notebooks and papers, 1949-1965
1a1 College papers from class at City College of New York, 1954
1a2 Hotel Accommodations, Polio, 1961-1968
Series II: Correspondence, 1952-2000
This series contains mostly correspondence with contributors but there are letters from publishers and the extended Cuhhidy family. He prepared several standardized responses that would be sent to contributors whose work he did not think merited a lengthy response. For contributors whose work he chose to accept or whose work he admired Cuddihy would jot a few notes on the contributor’s envelope for his assistants to type.
The series contains both incoming and outgoing mail. There is a modest amount of outgoing correspondence. The majority of the series is arranged alphabetically by name of sender. Only the last folder of outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically by year.
Subseries 1: Incoming from publishers and contributors. undated
21 A General undated
22 Allen Family Tucson, 1967-1990
23 Alma, Nasira, 1985-1988
24 Anderson, Cindy, 1985-1988
25 Andrews, Bruce, 1976-1987
26 Anthony, Florence, 1973-1981
27 Atlantic Monthly, undated
28 B General,
29 Benedikt, Michael B. 1973-1977
210 Bloch, Chana, 1985-1987
211 Bly, Robert and Carol, 1972-1987
212 Booth, Philip, 1981-1989
213 Bronk, William, 1976-1990
214 Brodecky, Bill, 1962-1972
215 Burnham, Philip and family, 1962-1978
216 Burkhard, Michael undated
217 Burns, Gerald, undated
218 C General
31 Carruth, Hayden 1980-1988
32 Cieciurna Family Tucson, 1957-1982
33 Cunneen, Joe - Hold, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1967
34 D General
35 Dahlen, Beverly, 1983-1991
36 Davie, Donald 1982-1984
37 Duncan, Robert, 1968-1983
38 Duplessis, Rachel Blan, 1983-1987
39 E General
310 Edson, Russell, 1972-1975
311 Ellingham, Lewis, 1983-1986
312 Enslin, Theodore, 1975
313 F General
314 Fauchereau, Serge, 1974-1975
315 Felling, Helen, 1978-1989
316 Finkelstein, Norman, 1985-1986
317 Fisher, David, 1981-1989
318 Fraser, Kathleen, 1973-1988
319 Frost, Carol, 1985-1989
41 G General
42 Gallagher, Tess, 1977-1989
43 Gander, Forrest, 1982-1988
44 Gardiner, Mary and Arthur, 1977-1989
45 Gigvene, Nancy, 1968-1975
46 Gilbert, Jack, 1980-1986
47 Glück, Robert and Louise, 1978-1988
48 Goslicki, Jan, 1980-1981
49 Graham, Jorie, 1979-1988
410 Gregg, Linda, 1979-1994
411 Griffin, John Howard, 1966-1970
412 Guest, Barbara, 1984-1988
413 H General,
414 Haines, John, 1971-1988
415 Hall, Donald, 1972-1988
416 Hampl, Patricia, 1977-1983
417 Hanna, Jeannette, 1967-1968
418 Hass, Robert, 1977
51 Hejinian, Lyn, 1975,1987
52 Heller, Michael, 1983-2000
53 Hirschfield, Jane, 1983-2000
54 Howe, Francis (Fanny,) 1984-1985
55 Howe, Susan, 1974-1990
56 Huggins, Marilyn, 1975-1986
57 I General
58 Inmam, Will 1967-1990
59 J General
510 K General
511 Kaufman, Shirely, 1970-1985
512 Kelly, Bright, 1984-1986
513 Kinnell, Galway, 1973-1988
514 Knipe, Edith, undated
515 Kouts, Barbara S., 1991-1996
516 L General
517 Lane, Morton, 1960-1969
518 Levertov (Goodman,) Denise, 1984
519 Logan, John, 1984
61 Lyons, Richard, 1986-1988
62 M-Ma General
63 Mc-Mu General
64 Machau, Lorrane and Bill, 1960-1966
65 Marlis, Stefanie, 1983
66 Marshall, Mary, 1964-1970
67 Matthews, Ella, 1977 – 1984
68 Mathews, William, 1972-1976
69 McBride, Regina, 1985-1989
610 McCaffrey, Mariam G., 1962-1977
611 McCarthy, Patrick and Helen, 1963-1999
612 McDowell, Ellie and Fletch, 1962 -1978
613 Meredith, William, 1961-1972
614 Meyr, Andy, 1985-1993
71 Milosz, Czeslaw, 1980-1994
72 Mitchell, Donna, 1977-1987
73 Mitchell, Susan, 1982-1988
74 Moore, James, 1963-1976
75 Morley, Hilda, 1942, 1978-1989
76 Mueller, Laura, 1983-1988
77 Murray, G.E., 1972-1973, 1986, 1999
78 N General
79 Nameroff, Rochelle, 1963-1982
710 Nelson, Nils, 1972-1979
711 Nelson, Nils, 1980-1989
712 Nelson, Peter, 1974-1980
713 Nelson, Peter, 1980-1990
714 O General 1980-1990
715 Oldknow, Anthony, 1983-1988
716 Olds, Sharon, 1980-1988
717 Oppen, George, 1973-1979
718 Oppen, Mary, 1974-1990
81 P General,
82 Perillo, Lucia, 1985-1991
83 Petrosky, Anthony (Tony), 1973-1990
84 Powers, Liz, 1981-1992
85 Q General
86 R General
87 Randall, Eilleen, 1965-1985
88 Rios, Alberto, 1981-1990
89 Rowan Tree Press, 1988-1991
810 Rudman, Mark, 1981-1988
811 Sa-Sh General
812 Si-Sq General
813 St-Sy General
91 Seymour, Carlton H., 1961-1976,1986
92 Shaffer, William L. (Bill,) 1961-2000
93 Sharpe, Tom, 1972-1980
94 Silliman, Ron, 1982-1985
95 Simic, Charles, 1975-1989
96 Sloan, Greta, 1977-1994
97 Sloan, Maureen, 1976-1996
98 Stanford, Frank (Dorothy mother, Ginny wife) 1973-1986
99 Strickland, Stephanie, 1983-1985
910 T General,
911 Taggart, John, 1975-1989
913 Tracy, William, 1966-1967
912 Transtromer, Thomas, 1976-1988
914 Tremblay, Bill, 1974-1985
915 Two Hands Bookstore, 1975-1978
916 U General
917 V General
918 Valentine, Jean, 1981-2000
919 W General
101 Waters, Michael, 1983-1989
102 Williams, Charles, 1971-1987
103 Wright, Carolyn, 1978-1988
104 Wright, James and Annie, 1977-1982
105 General Y- Z
106 Unidentified sender. First name only, undated
107 Unidentified sender, first name only, undated
108 Unidentified sender, first name only, undated
109 Unidentified sender, no name or illegible undated
Subseries 2: Incoming correspondence, family. 1957-1995
111 Cuddihy, Ann (Eaton),sister, 1961-1989
112 Cuddihy, Mrs. Lester (Ann), mother, undated
113 Cuddihy, Herbert Lester Jr., brother, 1960-1964
114 Cuddihy, Herbert Lester Jr., brother, 1965-1969
115 Cuddihy, Herbert Lester Jr., brother, 1970-1990
116 Cuddihy, Jane (McGuire), sister, 1960-1989
117 Cuddihy, John Murray (Jack) and Heidi, brother and sister in-law, 1960-1990
118 Cuddihy, Lester III, nephew, 1959-1969
119 Cuddihy, Lester III, nephew, 1970-1972
121 Cuddihy, Lester III, nephew, 1973-1974
122 Cuddihy, Lester III, nephew, 1975-1985
123 Cuddihy, Mary undated
124 Cuddihy, Mickey, niece, 1960-1989
125 Cuddihy, Robert, 1994
126 McGuire family (Julia), 1961-1996
127 Miscellaneous family members incoming correspondence, 1957-1970
Subseries 3: Outgoing correspondence. 1957-1995
128 Family 1961-1970
129 St. Thomas More Catholic Newman Center Tucson, Arizona Lectures Series, Michael Cuddihy, Chairman, 1962-1969
131 1961-1964
132 1965-1966
133 1967
134 1968
135 1969
136 1971-1972
137 1972-1999
138 undated
Series III: Production Files, 1972-1988
This series is arranged chronologically by issue. Some of the files consist of published and unpublished typescripts, corrected typescripts, and when available, original cover artwork. A complete set of additional production material, such as bluelines and page proofs, exist only for Ironwood 31/32, the final issue. The entire series of Ironwood is available in the Main library, Special Collections and the Poetry Center at the call number PS1 .I7. Of particular interest to researchers may be those manuscripts submitted for special issues such as Ironwood 18 Milosz, Ironwood 20 Hilda Morley Language Poets, and Ironwood 26 Dickinson - Spicer. For the Dickinson issue, Susan Howe, a recognized Dickinson scholar, submitted several versions of her manuscript each version representative of the close relationship of the poet and scholar to her material.
Subseries 1: Published issues of Ironwood.
141 Index of issues undated
142 nos. 1-4 February 1972-January 1975
143 nos. 5-6, no. 5 is the George Oppen Special Issue, February 1975-November 1975
144 no. 7/8 Special section on Charles Simic, December 1976
145 no. 9, April 1977
146-7 no. 10, James Wright Special Issue, December 1977
148 no. 11, March 1978
149 nos.12-14, November 1978-November 1979
151 no. 15 - Linda Gregg / Ceaser Vallejo Special Issue, March 1980
152 no. 16, November 1980
153 no. 17, Chinese Poetry Symposium and Special feature on Frank Stanford, March 1981 March 1981
154-5 no. 18, Oskar Milosz Special Issue, November 1981
161 10th Anniversary Issue, undated
162-5 no. 20, Hilda Morley / Language Poets Special Issue, October 1982
166 no. 20, Realism, October 1982
167-8 no. 21 March 1983
171-2 no. 22, Robert Duncan Special Issue, November 1983
173-5 no. 23, April 1984
176 no.24, Poetics Special Issue, December 1984
181 no. 24(2), Poetics Special Issue, December 1984
182-3 no. 25, April 1985
184 no .25, Interview with Denis Johnson, Letters to the editor, April 1985
185-6 no. 26, Second George Oppen Special Issue, October 1985
191-2 no. 26, Second George Oppen Special Issue, October 1985
193 no. 27 Beverly Dalan, April 1986
194 no. 28(1), Emily Dickinson / Jack Spicer Special Issue, December 1986
201-4 no. 28(2), Emily Dickinson / Jack Spicer Special Issue, December 1986
205-7 no. 29 April 1987
211 no. 30 1987
212-4 no. 31/32, Final issue, Movember 1987
Subseries 2: Unpublished Poems arranged alphabetically. undated
215 A General
216 Anthony, Florence (Ai)
217 B General
218 Bacon, Theresa
219 Burkhard, Michael
2110 Burns, Gerald
2111 C General
2112 D General
2113 E General
2114 F General
2115 G General
221 Gregg, Linda
222 H General
223 Johnson, Honor
224 K General
225 L General
226 M General
227 Morley, Hilda
228 N General
229 Orr, Gregory undated
2210 P General
2211 R General
2212 S General
2213 T General
2214 V General
2215 W General
2216 Zagajewski, Adam undated
2217 Unidentified manuscripts and fragments undated
Series IV: Chapbooks, 1972-1988
This series is arranged chronologically. It contains the manuscripts and production materials for the chapbooks published by the Ironwood Press. Although there were a total of fourteen Chapbooks published, only a few of the manuscripts remain intact. One copy of each chapbook is contained in these files, and additional copies are catalogued separately as part of the Special Collections book collection.
231 1972-1974
A mile called Timothy, G.E. Murray.
Footholds, Thomas Johnson.
Waiting out the rain, Tony Petrosky.
type="folder">2 1976-1984
Separate creatures, Steven Orlen.
Chicago, Nils Nelson.
Executioner, Bruce Weigl.
Breaking free, Del Marie Rogers.
A Hacksaw brightness, Lynn Strongin. Cover only.
Crib death, Frank Stanford.
I want to say listen, Tom Crawford.
None, river, Michael Burkard.
L'Après-midi d'un faune : le cygne d'autrefois, by Stéphane Mallarmé ; with a translation, prelude and postlude by Hayden Carruth.
233 Piccione, Anothony undated
Series V: Ironwood Press Office Files, 1972-1995
This series contains the remaining files of the Ironwood Press. Very little routine office material was retained by Cuddihy, and most of the series is comprised of grant applications, reference requests for fellowships and Cuddihy’s letters of reference for other poets, and reviews of Ironwood.
234 Correspondence, incoming and outgoing, 1972-1992
235 Copyright requests, 1979-1986
236 Fellowship recommendations.(Restricted)
237 Editorial notes [1972-1988]
238 Subscriber lists nodate
Subseries 1: Grants, 1976-1995
239 Arizona Commission on the Arts, 1984-1988
2310 Coordinating Council of Literary Magazines (CCLM), 1978-1985
2311 National Endowment for the Arts, 1976-1995
Series VI: Publication Files relating to Michael Cuddihy, 1963-1998
This is series is a record of Michael Cuddihy’s writing career. There are several poem collections, an alphabetical list of his poems and numerous drafts of his unpublished memoir.
Subseries 1: Poems, reviews, essays, articles and interviews
241 Collection of poems - Onlookers
242 Collection of poems - Out of the ruins
243 Collection of poems - A Walled garden
244 Miscellaneous poems in a bound notebook,
245 Poems listed alphabetical A-M,
246 Poems listed alphabetical N-Y,
247 Poem fragments
251 Reviews, essays, articles and interviews, 1870s-1980s
252 Poems by other authors, 1970s-1980s
Subseries 2: Autobiography – working drafts and editors notes for Man on a Seesaw.
253 It ain’t no picnic, a polio survivor takes a second look, 1993
254 Man on a seesaw, 1998
245 Seesaw (incomplete), 1996
261 Seesaw (incomplete) 1995
262 Man on a Seesaw (posted notes), 1990s)
263 Man on a Seesaw - resume paper, 1990s
271 Newer chapters: Lunch with Dr. Kissinger; Max Ascoli and The Reporter; The Sweetest life of all; The Running of the bulls; West, young man,
272 Correspondence from editors and edit notes, 1970s-1990s