The most significant sets of correspondence are the files containing letters from other poets, 1945-1986 [U DSG/1/1-6] and the extensive correspondence between Howard Sergeant (and his first wife Dorothy) and his close friend Lionel Monteith, 1942-1989 [U DSG/1/30-36]. Files U DSG/1/1-6 contain letters from, amongst others, Kingsley Amis, Jack Clemo, Alex Comfort, Douglas Dunn, TS Eliot, Gavin Ewart, Ted Hughes, BS Johnson, C Day Lewis, Norman Nicholson, Ezra Pound, Siegfried Sassoon, Alan Sillitoe, Stevie Smith and Stephen Spender. There are also copies of poems by Charles Causley (from 1959) and Seamus Heaney (from 1983). The correspondence with Lionel Monteith covers their literary and personal lives, including discussion of poems, essays, short stories and articles they have written, the publication of the first issue of Outposts and its development as a poetry magazine, Sergeant's affair with Muriel Spark, the breakdown of his first marriage and his marriage to his second wife Jean. There is a single file of correspondence relating to Sergeant's attempts to recruit vice-presidents for the British Poetry Association in 1949 (including TS Eliot) [U DSG/1/20] and brief correspondence with George Hartley about Philip Larkin's recording of 'The Less Deceived' and setting up 'Listen Records' as a limited company [U DSG/1/24/20].
Poetry and fiction by Howard Sergeant
This series includes lists of poems written by Sergeant and published in poetry magazines over the years 1944 to 1987 [U DSG/2/1-2], as well as files relating to specific published collections, The headlands (1953), Selected poems (1980) and Fairground familiars (1985) [U DSG/2/4-6]. These files include manuscripts, typescripts or proof copies of the poems in each collection, with related correspondence with publishers, printers and fellow poets. Sergeant's early literary work is covered by a file labelled 'Whitewing series' and as well as poetry composed 1938-1940, this includes several short stories and an essay, 'Youth thinks of tomorrow', which prefigures his reasons for setting up Outposts and presents his view of the post-war world [U DSG/2/3] - this was published in the journal Plan, vol.11 no.10, October 1944 [U DSG/5/2].
Outposts Poetry Quarterly
Files are available only for issues 139-148, winter 1983 to spring 1986 [U DSG/3/2-11], containing typescripts of the poems published in each issue, correspondence with poets and reviewers, mock-ups, editorial pieces, book reviews and printed proofs. However there is a full set of published issues nos. 1-181, covering February 1944 to 1995 [U DSG/3/22-183]. This set includes the 20th anniversary edition (spring 1964) , 25th anniversary edition (spring 1969), the centenary edition (spring 1974), and the 40th anniversary edition (autumn 1983). After Sergeant's death in 1987, issues 158 onwards were edited by Roland John, who continues to run the magazine.
Anthologies edited by Howard Sergeant
This series of files makes up a substantial proportion of the archive and covers Sergeant's work as compiler and editor of the following anthologies: An anthology of contemporary northern poetry (1947) [U DSG/4/1]; The Cumberland Wordsworth (1950) [U DSG/4/2]; These years: an anthology of poems for the use of schools (1950) [U DSG/4/3]; Tradition in the making of modern poetry (1951) [U DSG/4/4-5]; A critical survey of South African poetry (1957) [U DSG/4/7-8]; Commonwealth poems of today (1967) and New voices of the Commonwealth (1968) [U DSG/4/9-47]; Poetry from Africa (1968) [U DSG/4/48]; Poems from hospital (1968) [U DSG/4/49]; Poetry from Australia (1969) [U DSG/4/50]; The swinging rainbow: poems for the young (1969) [U DSG/4/51]; Happy landings: poems for the youngest (1971) [DSG/4/51]; Poetry of the 1940s (1970) [U DSG/4/52]; African voices (1973) [U DSG/4/53-58]; For today and tomorrow: an anthology of poems for young people (1974) [U DSG/4/59]; New poems 1976/77: a PEN anthology (1976) [U DSG/4/60-61]; Poems from the medical world (1980) [U DSG/4/62-63]; The Gregory Awards anthology (1981) [U DSG/4/64]; The Gregory Awards anthology (1982) [U DSG/4/65]; How strong the roots: poems of exile (1981) [U DSG/4/66].
The sub-series on the two Commonwealth anthologies [DSG/4/9-47] includes individual files for the following continents and countries: Africa, Australia, British Guiana, Canada, Ceylon [Sri Lanka], Cyprus, Gambia, Ghana, India, Kenya, Malawi, Malaysia and Singapore, Malta, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Rhodesia [now Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe], Sierra Leone, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, United Kingdom, the West Indies and Zambia.
The majority of these files comprise correspondence with, and copies of poems by, contributors and potential contributors to each anthology. They are therefore a very useful source for tracing examples of the work of a wide range of international poets, from the well known and established (such as Margaret Attwood, Zulfikar Ghose, Wole Soyinka, Ted Hughes, Charles Causley and Ken Saro-Wiwa) to the obscure and unpublished. They can also be used as a means of studying the kinds of poetry being written in various Commonwealth countries during the 1960s and early 1970s.
Other items of note in this series include a leaflet about the reassessment method of literary criticism co-authored by Muriel Spark and Howard Sergeant [U DSG/4/14/1] and single letters found in various files from Norman Nicholson, J Redwood Anderson, Doris Lessing, Leonard Cohen, DJ Enright, Kwesi Brew, Dannie Abse, Al Alvarez, John Betjeman, Anthony Thwaite, Douglas Dunn, Gavin Ewart, Philip Larkin, Andrew Motion, Tom Paulin, Muriel Spark and Hubert Nicholson, amongst others.
Reviews, articles and lectures by Howard Sergeant
Manuscripts, typescripts, proofs and cuttings of book reviews, articles, chapters in books and lectures written by Sergeant have been collected into bundles and files spanning the 1940s to the 1980s. Some of these relate to specific journals, magazines and newspapers for which he was a regular contributor, including The Ayran Path, Britannica Book of the Year, The Elizabethan, and English. Sergeant kept a record of writings submitted for publication over the period 1959-1986 [U DSG/5/1].
Files are available on different types of poetry and poetry movements (Concrete poetry, Imagism, the Movement, the Belfast Group) [U DSG/6/6, 21, 22 & 25]. There is an especially significant file on the Cornish poet Jack Clemo, which includes 15 poems or extracts of poems, letters from Clemo to Sergeant, an extract from a letter from Clemo to Charles Causley, and a script of a radio broadcast by Sergeant [U DSG/6/5]. There is a set of 13 files about the Gregory Awards, an award for poetry established in 1960, which Sergeant helped to judge up until 1986 [U DSG/6/8-20]. Other poets who acted as judges and from whom there are letters and reports include Ted Hughes, Philip Larkin, Peter Porter, Anthony Thwaite and Dannie Abse. A file on the Dulwich Group covers the running of the group in the 1960s after it re-formed [U DSG/6/7], and there are two files relating to Sergeant's visit to Canada in 1982, during which he gave poetry readings and lectures [U DSG/6/3-4].
There is overlap between these scrapbooks and the series of reviews, articles and lectures [U DSG/5]. The main difference is that these press cuttings are principally reviews of and references to Sergeant's published work, rather than examples of the writings themselves.
Biographical information about Sergeant can be found in the 1987 pamphlet by his wife Jean, 'Howard - MBE - of Outposts', copies of his curriculum vitae from the 1950s and circa 1978 and an interview by Bruce Meyer [U DSG/8/5, 1-2 & 3].
This series comprises 286 poetry magazines and journals containing poems, reviews or articles by Howard Sergeant, with some duplication of the material in U DSG/5. The periodicals span 1943 to 1987, and those for which there are a significant number of issues include Arena, The Ayran Path, Canadian Poetry Magazine, Contemporary Review, English, The New Beacon, Northern Review, Poetry, Poetry Commonwealth, Poetry Quarterly and The Poetry Review [U DSG/10/6-11; 14-30; 35-40; 43-52; 58-120; 152-156; 160-165; 173-187; 193-200; 212-225; 226-242]. The 1940s and the 1950s appear from this to have been Sergeant's most active period as a writer, although he was still publishing widely in the 1960s well after his appointment as a college lecturer.