Peter Redgrove Papers

Scope and Content

The Papers of Peter Redgrove, including his working notebooks and correspondence, during the period 1970-1989. There is also a small separate collection of correspondence from the 1960s.

Administrative / Biographical History

The main collection (MS 171) consists of the poet Peter Redgrove's correspondence (some 10,500 letters) during the period 1970 to 1989, including correspondence with many significant figures in the world of contemporary literature, together with his complete working papers recording the composition of his work during this period, drafts of several literary works, and copies of interviews and reviews.

The small separate collection (MS 255), some 87 letters and other documents dating from the 1960s, comprises mainly letters and some drafts of poems sent to Redgrove principally by other poets, some of them associated with 'The Group', and includes communications from Martin Bell, Philip Hobsbaum, P.J. Kavanagh, Edward Lucie-Smith, Alan Marshfield, Peter Porter, M.L. Rosenthal and D.M. Thomas.

Peter William Redgrove (b. 2nd January 1932) was educated at Taunton School and Queens' College Cambridge, where he was a founder-member of 'The Group', an association of poets originating in Cambridge in 1952 which lasted as a formal grouping into the 1960s. From 1954 to 1961 he worked as a scientific journalist and editor, receiving in 1961 a Fulbright Award as Visiting Poet to Buffalo University, N.Y. From 1962 to 1965 he was Gregory Fellow in Poetry at Leeds University, from 1966 to 1983 Resident Author and Senior Lecturer in Complementary Studies, Falmouth School of Art, and from 1974 to 1975 O'Connor Professor of Literature at Colgate University, N.Y. Since then he has worked as a free-lance writer and broadcaster. As well as the poetry for which he is best known, Redgrove has written plays (several of which have been broadcast), and novels. His work has won him many literary prizes and awards, including the Queen's Medal for Poetry in 1996.

Redgrove has trained as a Jungian analyst, and regards creative, psychological and scientific work as aspects of the same continuum, and the creative process itself as evolutionary. Dreams and the unconscious are viewed as essential features of human existence. His chief interest, and the theme of his work, is the way in which a creative and imaginative response can be the natural and life-giving reaction to everyday existence. One example of the psychological element in his creative work is The Wise Wound, a study of the significant but 'rejected' menstrual element of the human fertility cycle, written, as have been other works, in collaboration with his wife and partner Penelope Shuttle, a creative author in her own right.

Professor Neil Roberts, of the Department of English Literature at Sheffield, is an authority on Redgrove's work, and has written The Lover, The Dreamer and the World: the Poetry of Peter Redgrove, Sheffield Academic Press, 1994.

The main collection of Papers (MS 171) was the subject of a HEFCE Follett Award in 1995, which has enabled them to be listed and conserved.

The catalogue of the contents of the main collection (MS 171) is now available at:


By category

Access Information

Available to all researchers, by appointment

Acquisition Information

Purchased 1992 (MS 171) and 2001 (MS 255)


Description prepared by Lawrence Aspden

Other Finding Aids

Finding aids: MS 171: Database mounted on the Web; MS 255: List available.

Conditions Governing Use

Copyright: Peter Redgrove (his own work); otherwise, according to document