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Robert Lax Papers

Identifier: GTM-GAMMS349

Collection-level Scope and Content Note

The Robert Lax Papers contain two series of documents relating to the poet Robert Lax, regarding his life and his published works. The first is a series of letters, the majority of which are written to Robert Lax from various correspondents, although there are several letters written by Lax as well. These letters contain correspondents' thoughts on Lax's work and the impact of his poetry, especially with regard to his most well-known works, "Circus of the Sun" and "33 Poems". The second series contains articles and clippings about Robert Lax, as well as some of his published poems. Included in this series are numerous articles from "The Olean Times Herald" and "The Bona Venture", as well as many articles from German newspapers. Other items of note include a published accompaniment of essays for the exhibit "Robert Lax and Concrete Poetry", a magazine, published in Greek, containing an interview with Robert Lax, and an issue of the literary magazine Stride entitled "Storming Heaven".


  • 1940 - 1995
  • Majority of material found within 1985 - 1992

Collection-level Access Restrictions

Most manuscripts collections at the Georgetown University Booth Family Center for Special Collections are open to researchers; however, restrictions may apply to some collections. Collections stored off site require a minimum of three days for retrieval. For use of all manuscripts collections, researchers are advised to contact the Booth Family Center for Special Collections in advance of any visit.

Biographical note

Born on November 30, 1915 in Olean, NY, Robert Lax (1915-2000) grew up in New York and attended Columbia University, where he was an editor of the Columbia humor magazine "The Jester" and where he met Thomas Merton, who would become a close friend. After graduating in 1938, he worked as an editor of "The New Yorker" (1941-42), an English professor at UNC-Chapel Hill (1943-44) and later at Connecticut College (1948-49), and an editor of "Jubilee" (1953-67). In his twenties, he converted from Judaism to Catholicism. His first book of poetry, "The Circus of the Sun" was published in 1959 and was followed by many other publications. In the early 1960s, he moved to the Greek island of Patmos, where he lived until 2000, when he moved back to Olean, NY. He died on September 26, 2000 in Olean. Robert Lax is one of the most well-known concrete poets, and is renowned for his minimalist style. He is known for his simplicity and for making the most out of the fewest words. [For obituary see: "New York Times," 10/24/2000, p. C23.]


0.5 Linear Feet (1 box)

Language of Materials


Robert Lax Papers
Georgetown University Library Booth Family Center for Special Collections
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Repository Details

Part of the Georgetown University Manuscripts Repository

Lauinger Library, 5th Floor
37th and O Streets, N.W.
Washington DC 20057