James Maynard named seventh curator of UB Poetry Collection

James Maynard.

James Maynard, curator of the UB Poetry Collection.

Release Date: November 15, 2016

“It is an incredible honor to be named the seventh curator of the Poetry Collection, and also a great responsibility to continue the collection’s 80-year history.”
James Maynard, curator of the UB Poetry Collection.

BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo Libraries has named James Maynard, PhD, the seventh curator of the UB Poetry Collection, home to one of the world’s largest collections of 20th- and 21st-century poetry in English.

Maynard was promoted to the position after the retirement of the collection’s previous curator, Michael Basinski, who served in the role since 2004.

“As all of us who have worked closely with Jim know, he is an outstanding scholar, a magnanimous colleague, and a superb advocate for the Poetry Collection and the University Libraries,” says H. Austin Booth, vice provost for the UB Libraries.

Among Maynard’s goals as curator are to expand access to materials through additional digital collections, and to build out new collections, such as the recently implemented collection of visual poetry by female artists.

“It is an incredible honor to be named the seventh curator of the Poetry Collection, and also a great responsibility to continue the collection’s 80-year history,” says Maynard.

“I can’t imagine a more exciting place to be than working here with such remarkable colleagues and a world-renowned collection of poetry publications and literary manuscripts. And with any luck, I’ll be fortunate to be part of the Poetry Collection’s 100th anniversary in 2037.”

Before assuming his role as curator, Maynard held various positions at the university, including assistant to the Robert Duncan Archive and adjunct instructor in the Department of English. After being appointed assistant curator of the Poetry Collection in 2009, he received tenure as associate curator in 2012 and was promoted to full librarian in 2015.

In addition to helping increase the Poetry Collection’s endowments, he has been awarded nearly $400,000 in grants from organizations that include the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Council on Libraries and Information Resources, and the Digital Humanities Initiative at Buffalo.

The main focus of Maynard’s research interests are the works of American poet Robert Duncan.

Over his nearly 20-year career, Maynard has written or contributed to 13 books, is the author of more than 15 other publications, and has presented his works nationally and internationally.

He has published widely on and edited a number of collections relating to Duncan, including the books, “Ground Work: Before the War/In the Dark,” “(Re:)Working the Ground: Essays on the Late Writings of Robert Duncan” and “Such Conjunctions: Robert Duncan, Jess, and Alberto de Lacerda.”

His edition of “Robert Duncan: Collected Essays and Other Prose,” received the Poetry Foundation’s 2014 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism.

Maynard is working on the upcoming book, “Architect of Excess: Robert Duncan and the American Pragmatist Sublime,” an exploration of the different stages of Duncan’s writing career, and how the poet was influenced by process philosophy and American pragmatism. The book will publish in fall of 2017 from the University of New Mexico Press.

He earned a doctorate in English from UB, a master’s degree in English from Temple University, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Ursinus College. 

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