Preliminary Guide to the Robert Kendall Papers, 1990-2010


Hypertext poet and author; member of the Electronic Literature Organization. Collection includes Kendall's electronic equipment, manuscript drafts of his poetry, and electronic media of published and unpublished poems by Kendall and other hypertext authors. The majority of this collection is closed to research until use copies of electronic media can be made.

Collection Details

Collection Number
Robert Kendall papers
Kendall, Robert
12 Linear Feet, 5000 Items
David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library
Material in English

Collection Overview

Collection includes Kendall's early computers, hard drives, and electronic media, as well as drafts and versions of his writings in paper and electronic formats. Manuscript portion of the collection includes paper drafts of his electronic and print poems and short stories. Also includes software and hardware manuals used to create e-poetry, and electronic publications by other authors, collected by Kendall. The majority of this collection is closed to research until use copies of electronic media can be made.

More Biographical / Historical Info

Using These Materials

A majority of collections are stored off site and must be requested at least 2 full business days in advance for retrieval. Contact Rubenstein Library staff before visiting. Read More »

warning Access to the Collection

Collection is restricted. Electronic media and files are closed until use copies can be made. Also, no publication of any portion of the email correspondence in the collection is allowed without the written permission of the Donor (for emails written by the Donor) or the writer of the email (for emails sent to the Donor).

Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection.

All or portions of this collection may be housed off-site in Duke University's Library Service Center. The library may require up to 48 hours to retrieve these materials for research use.

Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library to use this collection.

warning Use & Permissions

The copyright interests in this collection have not been transferred to Duke University. For more information, consult the copyright section of the Regulations and Procedures of the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

More copyright and citation information

How to Cite

[Identification of item], Robert Kendall Papers, David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Duke University.

Contents of the Collection

1. Papers and Electronic Media, 1990s-2000s

5 boxes

Drafts of Kendall's writings and poetry, including both paper and electronic formats, as well as copies of electronically published writings by other hypertext and digital authors.

Conditions Governing Access note

[Original versions of electronic records are closed to use. To request access, please contact Research Services before coming to use this collection.]

Paper drafts of poetry
Box 1
Drafts of electronic poems

Drafts for the following electronic poems. The drafts for Faith reveal the working process for creating the "layered" structure of verses unique to this poem: exploring alternatives for early layers by circling different combinations of words in the final layer. The drafts for After Closing utilize pages of paper cut into strips and stapled together in the manner of Queneau's "Cent Mille Milliards de Poèmes."

Box 1
It All Comes Down to _____ (SoftPoem)
Box 1
After Closing (Unpublished)
Box 1
Box 1
Two Duets
Box 1
Box 1
Box 1
Box 1
Box 1
In the Garden of Recounting
Box 1
Candles for a Street Corner
Box 1
Paper Music, Ear Ink
Box 1
The Visitation of St. America (work in progress, started in 1997)
Box 1
Life Story (work in progress; print version entitled "You're Waiting for It to Ring the Bell?")
Box 1
Drafts for Logozoa texts
Box 1
Drafts for print poems

Drafts for poems intended for a second book of print poems that is unpublished. Paper drafts for "A Life Set for Two" and drafts for printed book "A Wandering City." Among the latter are also drafts of early poems that were not included in the book.

Box 2
Drafts for print poems: A Wandering City
Box 3
Software used to create e-poetry
Box 3
Hardware manuals
Box 3
Videos (The Clue: A MiniMystery)
Box 3
Eastgate Systems Publications
Box 3
3.5" diskettes

Includes works by individual authors, magazines and collections, and literary authoring systems. All disks require migration to the library servers before researchers can access the material.

Box 4
5.25" diskettes
Box 4
Packaged works on 3.5" diskettes
Box 4
Storyspace manuals and installation disks
Box 4
Box 4
Windows 3.0
Box 4
Publications by Kendall, on disk
Box 5
A Wandering City
Box 5
A Life Set for Two
Box 5
Electronic Literature Collection on CD
Box 5
Black Swan Review's special issue "Illiterature," co-edited by Kendall
Box 5
WriteTrak disks
Box 5
Version Box

This box contains various works of physical artwork, along with copies of "The Clue: A MiniMystery" and 3 works of e-poetry by French authors on floppy disk. The French authors are Philippe Bootz, Jean Louis Boissier, and Michel Butor. This collection was assembled as part of the Version 2.2 Festival in Geneva, Switzerland, held in 1996. Kendall participated in the festival, reading "The Clue."

Box 5
Brochures and programs related to Kendall's e-poetry
Box 5
Unpublished works

Includes short stories, poetry, and publication software for Eastgate Systems.

Box 5
Personal correspondence, 1992-1996
Box 6
Published articles
Box 6
Drafts of A Wandering City, other poems
(2 folders)
Box 6
Publicity and reviews
Box 6
Bound volumes of published works, 1984-1986
Box 6
Bound volumes of published works, 1986-1993
Box 7
Bound volumes of published works, 1985-2002
Box 8

2. Electronic Equipment

6 boxes

Computers, monitors, and speakers used for installations of Kendall's work in the 1990s. These materials are currently being evaluated for their content and are closed pending processing.

Computers and hardware
Conditions Governing Access note

[Closed pending review.]

Box 9-14

Historical Note

Robert Kendall has been creating interactive multimedia poetry since 1990, making him one of the earliest practitioners of the form. He is the author of a book-length hypertext poem, A Life Set for Two (Eastgate Systems, 1996). His hypertext poetry has also appeared on disk in The Little Magazine and Version Box and is forthcoming in the anthology Behind the Lines (Eastgate). It has appeared on the Web at Iowa Review Web, BBC Online, Eastgate Hypertext Reading Room, Cauldron & Net, and Cortland Review. A Wandering City (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 1992), his printed book of poems, won the CSU Poetry Center Prize. Kendall's printed poetry has appeared widely in magazines (including Rattapallax, Contact II, River Styx, New York Quarterly, Barrow Street, and Indiana Review), and several anthologies have included his work. He has received a New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship for Literature and a New Forms Regional Grant Program Award.

(Excerpted from Kendall's homepage,

Click to find related materials at Duke University Libraries.


The Robert Kendall Papers were received by the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library as a gift in 2012.

Processing Information

Processed by Meghan Lyon, January 2013

Encoded by Meghan Lyon, January 2013

Accession(s) described in this finding aid: 2012-0262, 2012-0234

Materials may not have been ordered and described beyond their original condition.