VCU Libraries Gallery

Winter Stars - handwritten pages

Larry Levis, copyright Jay Paul

Photograph: Jay Paul


Before you begin looking at the evidence of Larry Levis' writing process, read the final, published version of "Winter Stars" several times. Keep a copy of it near to hand, for, while we're not entirely sure how and where this journey began, we do know where it ended. The published poem is an important reference for your investigation.

Moving through these documents, you'll notice that they also reveal much about writing in the days before word processing and computer-aided revision. The technology used includes fountain pen and ink, pencil, typewriter, and photocopier. There are drafts, revisions, thoughts jotted down, false starts, and tiny adjustments. And the passage from one writing form to another -- from pen to typewriter -- is itself significant. Why would a writer choose one tool over another during the writing process? 

If you're looking at these pages as part of a class, your professor can help you think about what to look for and how to understand what you find. If you're working on your own, or are simply interested in learning more, consider reading some of the essays and books listed "For further reading."   



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Handwritten notes

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Here are three handwritten pages. What do you see happening on these pages? 

Throughout this exhibit, click on any page shown to view a larger image, and any continuation of the document. 

When working with archival materials, the collection, box and folder numbers (such as M 426, Box 7, folder 1) function much like a book's call number. Should you want to view any of these materials in Special Collections and Archives, you'll need this citation to make your request. 


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Untitled Poem [handwritten]

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VCU M 426 b7 f4 Winter Stars_When I left home_draft handwritten rsz.jpg

"When I left home..." [handwritten draft]

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