University of Houston Libraries, Special Collections

Guide to the Cynthia Macdonald Papers

Overview of the Collection

Creator Collector Macdonald, Cynthia
Collection Title Cynthia Macdonald Papers
Dates 1867-2005
Identification 03/2010-019
Physical Description 54.00 linear feet
Language of Materials English
Repository University of Houston Libraries M.D. Anderson Library 4333 University Drive Houston, TX, 77204-2000 URL: Email: Phone: 713-743-9229

Biographical Information:

Cynthia Lee Macdonald was born in New York City in 1928 to Leonard Lee and Dorothy Kiam Lee. Significantly, her younger sister Virginia, to whom Cynthia was very close in age, died of scarlet fever at 5 or 6 years old. Macdonald’s parents divorced in 1940 and both eventually remarried. Leonard, a Hollywood scriptwriter for movies and television, lived in Los Angeles, while Dorothy returned to New York; Macdonald spent time on both coasts throughout her childhood and teen years.

Macdonald earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bennington College in Vermont in 1950. She married E.C. Macdonald in 1954 and had two children, Jennifer and Scott. Her budding career as an opera singer gave way to her poetry writing, prompting her enrollment at Sarah Lawrence College in New York to earn her Master’s degree in writing in 1970.

A career as a writing teacher soon followed. After teaching first at Sarah Lawrence College, then at Johns Hopkins University, she co-founded with Stanley Plumly the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston in 1979. She taught at UH until her retirement in the mid-2000s, receiving the Esther Farfel Award for faculty excellence along the way.

Macdonald became a widely published and award-winning poet. Her first of seven books of poetry, Amputations, was published in 1972, and she had individual poems published in dozens and dozens of esteemed magazines and journals such at The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Yale Review. Among the many honors and awards that Macdonald received for her writing were a Guggenheim Fellowship and the O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize.

Macdonald was also a practicing psychoanalyst for many years, and a faculty member of the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute.

Though born in New York, Cynthia Macdonald comes from old Houston stock: Her mother Dorothy was born in Houston in 1906 to Edward Kiam and Fanny Tim Kiam. The Kiam family had been in the city as far back as the mid-to-late 1800s. In 1893, Edward Kiam opened a clothing store in downtown Houston in a five-story brick building that still stands and is still known as “The Kiam Building” at 320 Main Street.

Scope and Contents

The collection contains typed and handwritten drafts of poems and other writings, as well as correspondence, photographs, clippings, and memorabilia related to Cynthia Macdonald’s life and work as an accomplished poet and co-founder of the Creative Writing Program at the University of Houston. In addition to the extensive accumulation of multiple drafts of her writings, Macdonald’s trove of correspondence is of particular interest, featuring letters to and from writing friends, colleagues, and family members. The collection as a whole also documents Macdonald’s teaching career, psychoanalysis career, personal life, and family history.

The collection is divided into ten series: Writing; Correspondence; Writing Career; Writings by Others; Teaching Career; Psychoanalysis Career; Personal; Audiovisual; Electronic Media; and Family History. The Writing series and Correspondence series are thoroughly processed in detail, while the remaining series are arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite their availability to researchers. Each series is prefaced by a detailed description.


Conditions Governing Access:

Open for research.

Conditions Governing Use:

Special Collections owns the physical items in our collections, but copyright normally belongs to the creator of the materials or their heirs. The researcher has full responsibility for determining copyright status, locating copyright holders, and abiding by current copyright laws when publishing or displaying copies of Special Collections material in print or electronic form. For more information, consult the appropriate librarian.

Photocopy decisions will be made by Special Collections staff on a case-by-case basis. Patrons are responsible for obtaining permission to publish from copyright holders.

Access Terms

This Collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Corporate Name:
University of Houston -- Faculty
University of Houston. Creative Writing Program
Genre/Form of Material:
Clippings (information artifacts)
Manuscripts (document genre)
Personal Name:
Macdonald, Cynthia
Topical Term:
Authors, American
Authors, American -- 20th century
Poets, American
Poets, American -- 20th century

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation:

Cynthia Macdonald Papers. Courtesy of Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries.

Detailed List of Contents


The Writing Series is the most robust series of the collection, comprising Cynthia Macdonald’s written works in various genres. The material includes typescripts, handwritten drafts, printed materials, and photocopies of published pieces. The series is divided into seven sub-series: Poetry; Fiction; Nonfiction; Autobiography; Journals, Diaries, and Dreams; Psychoanalysis; and Other Writings. (Further description of each sub-series is provided in the corresponding section below.) Wherever possible, folders are labeled according to Macdonald’s own organization.
Cynthia Macdonald generally organized her poetry files into four categories: Poems Collected in Books; Individual Poems; Poetry Fragments and Untitled Poems; and Poetry Ideas and Research. Some overlap is evident from one section to the next, as Macdonald filed multiple copies of her poems into different categories. Folders include typescript, edited drafts, handwritten copies, printed materials, and photocopies of published works.
Poems Collected in Books
Titles of books are arranged in order of publication, from earliest to latest. Poems within each book are arranged in the same order of appearance as in the table of contents.
Box Folder
1 1 The Platform Builders
2 Objets D’Art
3 Inventory
4 Consultation
5 Piranesi’s Pirandello
6 A Family of Dolls’ House Dolls
7 Transfer
8 Uncovering
9 Coupling
10 Summer Letter; Fall Letter; Winter Letter
11 The Inside Story
12 A Family Question
13 Instructions from Bly
14 Richard’s Book and Chopper Ganz
15 Reply to the Request from the Remaining Poet for Suicide Suggestions
16 Riddle
17 Eight for Luncheon
18 Breaking Seals
19 Guide to the Runes
20 Al Fried
21 Past Ordering
22 Aspects of Unicorns
23 Paintings from the Slaughterhouse: A Slide Show of Hogs
24 The Insatiable Baby
25 One in a Velvet Glove
26 Refusing Further Risk
27 Reflections in Stone
28 Twice Too Long
29 The Holy Man Walks through Fire
30 Departure
31 Another Attempt at the Trick
32 Amputations: notes on the Table of Contents
33-35 Amputations manuscript
Pruning the Annuals
Box Folder
1 36 Pruning the Annuals manuscript
Box Folder
1 37 The Stained Glass Woman
38 Mistress Mary Quite Contrary
39 Getting to the End
40 The Stained Glass Man
41 The Horns of Forgetfulness
42 A Suspense Story
43 A Step toward Burial
44 The Amherst, Houston, New York Triangle
45 Direction
46 The Doctor Dimity Poems
47 Birthday Message
48 A Story for a Child
49 Difficult Revision
50 Accomplishments
51 News of the Death of the World’s Biggest Man
52 Innard Life
53 In Preparation
54 Jason of Whom I Am a Part
55 Severance Pay
56 Inheritance
57 A Discreet Plot
58 Investiture
59 The Late Mother
60 Thanksgiving in Cambridge, N.Y.
61 The Eel as the Letter E
62 Turning
63 Making It Up
64 The Story of My Detached Retina and Its Effects
65 The Present
66 A Given
67 Looking into My Father’s House
68 Poems removed from Transplants
69-77 Transplants manuscript
Box Folder
1 78 Francis Bacon (1561-1626; 1910- ), the Inventor of Spectacles, Is the Ringmaster
79 The World’s Fattest Dancer
80 The Mother of the Sun
81 The Siamese Sextuplets
82 Celebrating the Freak
83 The Kilgore Rangerette Whose Life Was Ruined
84 How to Order a Freak:
85 The Secrets of E. Munch
86 Florence Nightengale’s Parts
87 A Certain Sense of Awe
88 A Place to Watch the Birds
89 It Is Dangerous to Be the Conductor
90 Wanted:
91 The Lady Pitcher
92 Beads in a Red Box
93 The Dangers of Looking Back
94 Containing
95 The Lobster
96 The Conception
97 The Mosaic Hunchback
98 Burying the Babies
99 Burying the Babies
100 (W)holes manuscript
101 (W)holes manuscript, copyedited
102-103 (W)holes galley proofs
Alternate Means of Transport
Box Folder
2 1-2 Alternate Means of Transport (poem) drafts
3 Alternate Means of Transport (poem) drafts with comments
4 Alternate Means of Transport (poem) with peer edits/comments
5 The Tune He Saw
6 Why Penelope Was Happy
7 Degrees of Pen/man/ship
8 Death on the High Seas
9 The Four Virginias
10 A Perfect Binding
11 The Erythrophobic Man
12 Those Who Live Alone
13 Supplanting the Beloved
14 Apartments on First Avenue
15 Tracking the Connections
16 In Such an Unhappy Neighborhood, Carlos
17 Wedding Bans: January 1980
18 By the Sea
19 My Familiar Lover
20 Hymn in a Bed of Amherst
21 Letter to Richard from Budapest
22 Postcard of Child Peeking out from under Its Mother’s Skirt
23 Knock, Knock
24 The River Honey Queen Bess
25 Serial Rescue
26 Two Brothers in a Field of Absence
27 Alternate Means of Transport manuscript
Living Wills
Box Folder
2 28 The Precise Shape of a Wave
29 A Past-Due Notice
30 Vain Remedy
31 Separations
32 The Murderer’s Daughter
33 Envy of Old Husbands
34 A Certain Distinction
35 The Sounding Cataract
36 Prayer for the Deserving
37 And Cause His Countenance to Shine upon You
38 A Critical Age
39 For a Friend Whose Son Drowned
40 Accidental Causes
41 Rose Magpie and Magpie Rose
42 At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners
43 The Triborough Bridge a Crown for His Head
44 Living Wills: Table of Contents and notes
45-46 Living Wills manuscript
47 Living Wills page proofs
I Can’t Remember
Box Folder
3 1 Children Who Fall off the Edge of the World Because of Secrets
2 What Heat Signifies
3 The Weekend He Died
4 What No One Should Want to Have
5 The Dreamer on the Stone Couch Dreams and Wakes
6 What Is Never Lost
7 The Blue Boy and the Pink Lady
8 Casual Neglects
9 Howard Takes the Fifth
10 Jesus Returns
11 Chicken Little
12 Who Is Chicken?
13 Chicken Slippers
14 Once You Notice Chickens They Are Everywhere
15 Chicken Peter
16 Chicken Parts
17 Poet-Chicken Answers the Interviewer
18 Jewish Chicken Examines the Difference between Heaven and Hell
19 Like a Chicken
20 Retrieval
21 Spearville, Kansas
22 How William Solomon Invokes Free Will
23 Mary Cassatt’s Twelve Hours in the Pleasure Quarter
24 Robert Underhill’s Present
25 Miriam’s Grandmother
26 Singing Miriam’s Lament
27 Maps and Globes
28 Elegy for Hans
29 The Matter of Naming and Counting
30 Leonardo’s Advice to Artists
31 Vermeer’s Lady Reading at an Open Window
32 The Great 14th Street Costume Company
33 Their Places Resolve and Dissolve
34 Victoria’s Secret
35 Dinner before the Blue Horizon
36 Divining Rod
37 I Can’t Remember poem drafts and notes
38-44 I Can’t Remember manuscript
45 I Can’t Remember manuscript with copy edits
46-47 I Can’t Remember page proofs
48 I Can’t Remember uncorrected proof
49 I Can’t Remember copy of dust jacket
Individual Poems
Poems in this section are alphabetized by title. Some are also represented in the book collections above, while others do not appear in any other section. Where poem titles changed over the course of subsequent drafts, the folders are named according to Cynthia Macdonald’s labels.
Box Folder
4 1 A.L. Dismembered
2 ABECEDARIUS: See Acrostic
3 An Academic Solution
4 Accidental Causes
5 Accomplishments
6 Advice Again
7 Advice for a Friend Who Is Trying to Give up Smoking from One Who Has Battled Another Addiction
8 Advice for the Week
9 Advice from the Fulbright Committee
10 Advice to an Eighteen Year Old Friend
11 Advisability
12 Al Fried
13 Alien Resident
14 Alight
15 All That Glutters Is Not Glut
16 All the Precious Things
17 Alternate Means of Transport
18 Amazing the Russians Wear Tails
19 American in Japan
20 The Amherst, Houston, New York Triangle
21 Amputation
22 Anatomy of a Grammar
23 And Cause His Countenance to Shine upon You
24 And That’s the End of the News
25 Angles
26 Anne
27 Another Attempt at the Trick
28 Anthropological Exploits
29 Apart/A Part
30 Apart in Three Parts
31 Apartments on First Avenue
32 Appearances
33 Appearing Presidential
34 Applying Instructions from the Manual on Self-Hypnosis
35 An Approach to Self-Reliance
36 As If
37 As Minnows at the Body of a Whale
38 As the Sparks Fly Upward
39 Aspects of Unicorns
40 At the Round Earth’s Enduring Corners
41 At the Round Earth’s Imagined Corners: A Stack of Marriage Boxes
42 Attempts
43 Attics
44 Augury
45 Auschwitz
46 The B Minor Mass with Flies
47 Baby Farming
48 The Balloon
49 Battle’s Flower
50 Beasts
51 The Beauty Palace
52 Beekeeping
53 Before the Memorial Sunday
54 Behind Trees and in Rooms
55 Bends Ends
56 Bennington College
57 Biloxi, 1945
58 A Bird of Parasite
59 Birds Rain Down
60 Birthday Message
61 Birthmarks
62 Black and White and Red All Over
63 Black Lines
64 Blaze, Climbing Shot Silk and Danse du Feu
65 Bloom’s Pulpit
66 A Blow, a Pulsation, an Act of Striking…
67 The Blue Boy and the Pink Lady
68 The Boiling Point
69 Book Report on Report from Engine Company No. 82 by Dennis Smith
70 The Boomerang Nebula
71 The Boy and His Mother Want a Dog
72 Breaking Seals
73 BRLEUDE: Purple
74 The Brown Recluse Spider
75 The Bull in the China Shop
76 Burdens
77 Burning the Leaf Pile
78 Burying the Babies
79 Burying You
80 Businessman in Japan
81 The Buzzards
82 By the Sea
83 The Cabinet of the Dead
84 Cancer
85 The Cashier Is an Abacist
86 Castration Is a Complex Thing
87 Casual Cruelties
88 Casual Neglects
89 Caterpillars
90 The Cause
91 Celebrating the Freak
92 The Cell
93 A Certain Distinction
94 Cezanne & Apples
95 Changing
96 Chant of an Old Recluse
97 Chicken and Choke
98 Chicken Examines the Difference between Heaven and Hell
99 Chicken Explores
100 Chicken Family and Meredith Monk
101 Chicken Little
102 Chicken Parts
103 (Chicken Parts) Carving the Chicken
104 Chicken Peter
105 Chicken Slippers
106 Chicken Spring Chicken
107 Chicken Suicide
108 (Chicken) The Lovesong of Chicken Athena
109 Chicken Tribute
110 Chicken with Chicken
111 Chickens in Mahler’s Ninth Symphony
112 Children Who Fall off the Edge of the World Because of Secrets
113 A Child’s Garden of Weeds
114 Chosing the Flock
115 Christmas File Box
116 A Circle of Writers
117 The Circus Flora
118 Cleaning Coffee Pot
119 Climb to the Sun? Puny One
120 Close at the Ear
121 Closing and Opening
122 Cock Robin the Redeemer
123 The Colossal Squid
124 Collecting Matches
125 Coming to a Head
126 A Comparison of Mothers
127 The Concert
128 Conditional
129 Confronting the Toad
130 Congo
131 Conjunctions
132 Connections
133 Consultation
134 Containers
135 Containing
136 Corn in the Bears
137 The Country Club
138 Coupling
139 Course at the American Club
140 Cow in Calf
141 A Cradle of Water
142 A Critical Age
143 Cross Gender
144 The Crucial Moment of Lack
145 Crying through the Soap Operas
146 Cut Off
147 Daiku
148 Dante’s Vancouver
149 The Daughters of Don Francisco Sosa
150 Days of Rain
151 The Dead
152 Dear Friend, Our Shared Fragilities
153 The Death File
154 Death on the High Seas
155 Degrees of Pen/man/ship
156 Departure
157 Depression (Song Lyric)
158 The Dictator Called Himself
159 Dieter’s Journal
160 The Difference between Appetite and Hunger
161 Differential Diagnosis
162 Difficult Revision
163 Dinner before the Blue Horizon
164 Direction
165 Disappearance of the Blue Ribbon Dog
166 Discomfiting the Absolute Splendor
167 Discourse Must Not Take the Place of Art
168 Disguise
169 Distinction for Clarence Major
170 Divining Rod
171 The Doctor
172 Domestications of Loss
173 The Double Brooder
174 Double Talk
175 A Double Villanelle for Two Murdered Girls and Their Town
176 The Dr. Dimity Poems
177 The Drawing Room
178 The Dreamer on the Stone Couch Dreams and Wakes
179 Driving Home: A Point
180 Driving on Weslayan
181 Driving with One Hand out the Window
Box Folder
5 1 The East River
2 Easter 1977
3 The Eating Beauty
4 Eating Yourself Up
5 The Eel as the Letter E
6 Eight for Luncheon
7 The Electric Bed
8 Elegy for Donald Pugmire, Photographer
9 Elegy for Hans
10 The Elements of a Leader
11 Emperor
12 Empty Barn in Fairlee, Vermont
13 Endings
14 The English Bulldog
15 Engraved Sympathy
16 Envy of Old Husbands
17 Equation
18 The Erythrophobic Man
19 Escalator
20 Essay on Rhyme
21 The Essentials
22 Etching
23 Eve Weaver’s Psychoanalysis
24 Exchanges
25 Expanded to the Absurd
26 Extempore
27 Fall Letter/Shell Sekiyu
28 Falling
29 The Family from Yoe, Pennsylvania, in Front Royal, Virginia
30 Family History
31 A Family of Dolls’ House Dolls
32 A Family Question
33 Fashion Facets
34 The Fat Child’s Song
35 Fault or Blame
36 Fear Is a Thistle
37 February 14, 1973
38 Fiction after the Middle Ages
39 The Fifty Second Hour
40 Finding the Solution
41 Finishing School
42 The First Day
43 The First Wish Poem
44 Fish Locket
45 Five Non-Japanese Poems from Japan
46 Flasher
47 The Flasher Opened up His Fly
48 The Flasher: Sequin Pricks
49 Flashpoint: A Love Poem
50 The Floor His Father Paced
51 For Scott
52 Forest Fire
53 The Four Virginias
54 Frank Blank’s Gains and Losses
55 Friday Morning in Westport, Conn.
56 Friends: A Confusing Tale
57 From Despair at Not Hearing to Despair at Hearing
58 The Fungi as the Letter F
59 General Jacqueminot
60 The General Manager as Baron Ochs
61 The General Manager of the Opera
62 Genesis
63 Gertrude, Amy, Others and Not Me
64 Getting Oder [sic]
65 Getting to the End
66 Getting What You Need
67 Ghazals
68 A Given
69 A Glimpse, a Glimmer
70 Grace
71 Graffitus for Grace
72 Grandchildren
73 The Grandmother
74 The Great 14th Street Costume Company, Clarence Ernest Klister, Prop
75 A Green Tray in the Cafeteria
76 The Group Is Collecting Its Tears
77 Guide to the Runes
78 Gust around the Corner
79 Happens Are Like a Child’s Face
80 A Happy Beginning
81 Hasidim
82 Hearing of a Four-Continent Fact-Finding Trip on the Five O’clock News… May 4, 1966
83 A Heart Still
84 Helicopter
85 The Helper
86 Here Is the Church and Here Is Myron
87 His Eggs
88 Hogs and Sperm
89 Holocaust
90 The Holy Man Walks through Fire
91 The Horns, Being Gelatinous, Provide a Great Deal of Protein
92 The Horns of Forgetfulness
93 Hot Pot
94 The Hotel as Waxworks
95 The Hour of Feeling
96 The Hourglass
97 The House of Produce
98 The Household Finch
99 Houston Letter to H
100 How I Became a Partial Quadriplegic
101 How Much Wood Could a Wood-Witch Cut?
102 How to Tattoo a Heart on His Chest
103 How William Solomon Invokes Free Will
104 How You Can Tell the Dancer from the Dance
105 Howard Takes the Fifth
106 Hungarian Bombshells – April 1981
107 Hunt for the Poem
108 Husbandry
109 Hymn in a Bed of Amherst
110 I Am Trying to Remember
111 I Ask Your Help Straightforwardly
112 I Did Not See the Grottos near Biblos
113 I Have Just Burned the Leaf City
114 I in the Sense of We
115 I Keep Losing My Place
116 I Stopped to Watch the Bird
117 I Thought the Furniture Would Keep Itself
118 I Want the World to Freeze
119 I Will Candle You with Flowers
120 Ice Fishing
121 Idols
122 If Only
123 The Igloo
124 Immeasurable Differences
125 The Impossible May Be Possible
126 Imprisoned
127 An Improper Bostonian
128 In Albatross Latitudes
129 In Such an Unhappy Neighborhood, Carlos
130 In the International Cafeteria
131 In the Museum
132 In the Shed the Baby Poses
133 Indian Winter in Houston
134 An Inequitable Life
135 Infection/Infected Selection
136 Infirmities
137 Inheritance
138 Initials by Richard Howard
139 Innard Life
140 The Insatiable Baby
141 The Inside Story
142 Institution for the Sane
143 Instruction from Bly
144 Instructions Enclosed in a Present for [Jane?]
145 Instructions for Burial
146 Interregnum
147 Inventory
148 Investiture
149 Inviting (Objet D’Art II)
150 Isn’t It Amazing
151 January 1980
152 Japanese Ceramics
153 Jason, from Whom I Am Apart and of Whom a Part
154 Jennifer Is My Heart
155 Jewish Chicken Examines the Difference between Heaven and Hell
156 The Jews Are Losing Their Violins
157 Job’s from God, Mine from Family
158 The Kilgore Rangerette Whose Life Was Ruined
159 The Kiss of His Younger Brother
160 Knock, Knock
161 Kurt Herbert Adler – the General Manager of the Opera
162 Ladybug
163 Landing near May Swenson’s
164 The Last House
165 Lasting
166 Late Bloomers
167 The Late Mother
168 The Leader
169 Leonardo’s Advice to Artists
170 Lest We Lose Our Edens
171 Letter to a Long-Dead Father
172 Letter to Richard from Budapest
173 Lies
174 Lightning
175 Like a Chicken
176 Lila’s Mother Speaks to a Friend
177 Limits
178 Linked with Susan
179 The Lion, the Tiger and the Acorn (Mr.)
180 Little Gods
181 Little Grains of Sand Make a Might Ocean
182 The Lobster
183 Long Distance
184 Longing for the Indefinable Idea
185 Looking into My Father’s House
186 Louise
187 Love in Late Middle Age
188 Love Is Not a Censor
189 Love Letter to Mr. Moog
190 Love Poem to a Woman
191 The Loved One’s Lament
192 A Lovely Dinner
193 Lover
194 Lovers
195 The Lovesong of Chicken Athena
196 Lucy, Driving with One Hand out the Window
197 A Lullabye for Big One
Box Folder
6 1 Magnitude
2 Making It
3 Making Love in front of the Doll’s House
4 The Man Who Lives in the Room
5 The Man Who Writes on Air
6 Manning Park – Five Years after the Fire
7 Many Japan Holdouts Said Hiding in Islands
8 The Many Truths of RG
9 Maps and Globes
10 Marathon
11 March 77
12 Marriage Song – June 20, 1981
13 The Marschallin Gives a Voice Lesson
14 Mary Shelley
15 Mary’s Lament
16 The Mass Murderer
17 Maybe a Mountain Lion/A Cougar
18 Meeting Norberto Chiesa
19 The Memorial
20 Mendelssohn’s Second Symphony
21 Message to Our Leader
22 Microcosm
23 The Midget as Joy
24 Midwife
25 Millennium Riddle
26 Miriam’s Grandmother
27 Mistress Mary Quite Contrary
28 Mme. Sybil Willoughby Tells the City’s Fortune
29 Mondrian I & II
30 The Mongols
31 Moons on the Bus
32 More Perilous than Worm
33 The Morning of Armageddon
34 Mornings with Mummy
35 The Mosaic Hunchback
36 Mother and Child
37 Mother and Daughter
38 Mother Earth in Challenger Seven Park
39 The Mother of the Sun
40 The Mother Suite
41 Moving Portrait of the Painter’s Father
42 A Moving Present for EG
43 Mud
44 The Murderer’s Daughter: Inside and Outside
45 Musee d’Orsay: Les Dindons
46 The Museum
47 Museum Dedication
48 Museums
49 Music Transforms a Day
50 Mutations
51 My Birthday
52 My Familiar Lover
53 My Mind Is a Spangled Fritillary
54 My Unfamiliar Lover
55 Narcissa in Newfoundland
56 Nashville Song Waiting for Country Music
57 The Natural History Museum at Night
58 Navery
59 Needed: More Room
60 The Needling Witch
61 Negation
62 New England Story
63 News of the Death of the World’s Biggest Man
64 Night’s Music
65 No Appeal
66 No One Told Me You Were Beautiful
67 Not to Be Remembered
68 Note to a Student
69 The Nurturing Mother
70 Objets D’Arts
71 Oddly Destined
72 Oil for the Lamps of China
73 Old Age
74 Old Woman Bed-Bound
75 On Forgetting to Check What Needs to Be Checked
76 On Learning of a Friend’s Illness
77 On Navajo Sands
78 On Seeing the Posthumous Masterpiece
79 On Stages of Suffering
80 On the Sideboard, Three Candles
81 On Your Somnambulism
82 Once You Notice Chickens They Are Everywhere
83 One
84 One in a Velvet Gown
85 The One Who Did Not Die
86 The Opera House
87 Opposition: None
88 The Order of the Visitation
89 Orpheus or Lot as Midas
90 Other Uses
91 The Outcome of a Leader
92 Outwitting the Oceanic
93 Overnighters
94 P.T. Barnum
95 A Painter’s Poem
96 Paintings from the Slaughterhouse: A Slide Show of Hogs
97 Panygyric with Pigeons
98 The Parfit Gentil Dodo
99 Pas de Deux
100 Passover
101 A Past-Due Notice
102 Past Ordering
103 Patient – Female – 81
104 Pearl Onion
105 Perfect Adjustment
106 A Perfect Binding
107 Perfection Escapes Me: Pursue, Pursue
108 Perspective
109 Peter
110 Phases of Love
111 Photography
112 The Pieces of My Life
113 Piranesi’s Pirandello
114 A Place to Watch the Birds
115 The Plague at Eyem: 1666 A.D.
116 A Plague of Fleas
117 The Platform Builder
118 The Plumber
119 Po’ Chicken Views the Moon
120 A Pocket Full of Posies
121 The Poem as Fish
122 Poem for Ann
123 Poem(s) of Sweetness and Light to Counteract a Tendency toward Bitterness and Gloom
124 Poet-Chicken Answers the Interviewer
125 The Poet Guys
126 Poetry Reading at the Y
127 The Poisoner
128 Pop Art – I
129 Pop Art – II
130 Portrait of a Friend
131 Possession
132 Postcard of Child Peeking out from under Its Mother’s Skirt
133 The Potters Wheel Is Sometimes a Rack
134 Prayer
135 Prayer for the Deserving
136 Prayer for the Deserving II
137 The Precise Shape of a Wave
138 The Presence of the Senses by the Absence of the Senses
139 The Present
140 The Presents
141 Pres. Nixon’s Day: The 7 O’clock News, Jan. 30, 1969
142 The Priest Poet
143 Prints from Tokyo
144 Private Poem for Bill
145 Private Poem for Dr. Hirt
146 Prizes
147 A Profusion of [Ties?]
148 The Proof of Age
149 Proven
150 Psychoanalysis: A Flashlight
151 Pull
152 The Pull of Despair
153 Puzzle
154 The Puzzle Piece
155 The Queen
156 The Question of Why
157 Rain Is Committed
158 Rainy Day
159 Ramirez Poem
160 Rapacinni’s Daughter
161 Reading Condolence Letters
162 Reading House of Glass on the Noon Train – Westport-Grand Central
163 Rebecca Clearman’s Unconscious Decided to Cancel Again
164 Recycling
165 Red Cap and the Suitcases
166 Refilling the Stapler
167 Reflected Light
168 Reflections in Stone
169 Refusing Further Risk
170 Remains
171 Remains – Stratigraphy
172 Remembering Names
173 Renee Fleming Sings Marguerite: Gounod’s Faust
174 Repetition: Eight for Dinner
175 Reply to the Request from the Remaining Poet for Suicide Suggestions
176 Residence in the Saugatuck, P.O.
177 Retrieval
178 The Return of Feeling: 1937-1977
179 Return of the Dream
180 Rewards
181 Richard’s Book and Chopper Ganz
182 Riddle
183 The River Honey Queen Bess
184 Robert Underhill’s Present
Box Folder
7 1 Sad Heart at the Bookstore
2 Sales Talk
3 Satan in Yugoslavia
4 A Satisfactory Poem
5 The Scale
6 Scatter Bodies
7 Scavengers
8 Scoring “The Devil’s Trill”
9 Sculpture: A Translation
10 Searchlight
11 The Secrets of E. Munch
12 Self-Pity
13 The Sensual and Moral Effects of Color
14 Separations
15 Serial Rescue
16 A Series of Poems for a Man Too Lazy to Write
17 Sestina
18 Settling
19 The Seven Stages of Mourning
20 The Shark Grows Hungrier
21 Shields
22 Shiva Dances Holding Juicy Orbs in Her Many Hands
23 Shore Time
24 Show and Tell
25 The Siamese Sextuplets
26 Signalling
27 Simon Says
28 Singing Miriam’s Lament
29 The Singing Teacher
30 Sisters
31 Sitting in My Tokyo House, I Turn
32 Six Feet in the Grave
33 The Skating Rink
34 The Skinny
35 A Slide Show of Hogs
36 Slight of Sight
37 The Slopes of Parnassus
38 A Small Part of Charlene Hunter
39 The Snow Queen
40 Something Shared
41 Somewhere over the Rainbow
42 Song of an Old Recluse
43 The Space of a Sister
44 Spearville, Kansas
45 Spelling It Out
46 Spiders and Fat
47 Spinning
48 The Spook House
49 Spring Blizzard
50 Sp(ring) Chicken
51 Spring Pattern
52 A Squirrel on the Fence
53 The Stained Glass Woman
54 Stanley Kunitz
55 A Step by Step Guide
56 A Step toward Burial
57 The Sting
58 The Story of My Detached Retina and Its Effects
59 Strange, the Occasion When Suddenly
60 The Stuff of Dreams
61 Subsequently
62 Suburban Soothsayer
63 Succession
64 Succor
65 Succotash
66 The Sugar Lump
67 Summer in Lake Placid
68 Summer Letter
69 Summer Storm from an Apartment on Central Park West
70 The Sun Maid Raisin Girl
71 Supplanting the Beloved
72 Surrogate
73 Survival
74 Susan Crile Dreams
75 Taking the Car to Sears Automotive Center
76 Tent Caterpillars Hang Heavy
77 The Terminal
78 Thanksgiving in Cambridge, N.Y.
79 That Piece of Mine
80 That Will Be Done
81 Their Places Resolve and Dissolve
82 Theist Attack
83 Therein Hangs a Tale
84 They Simply Fade Away
85 The Thinnest of the Fat
86 This Die Is Straight and Colorfast
87 This Is the House That Jim Built
88 This Pair, That Pair: Despair
89 This Week’s Instructions Passed On
90 Those Who Live Alone
91 Thought Hat
92 Three
93 Three Begin Attempt to Sail Dhow Here from Kenya (N.Y. Times, May 11, 1967)
94 The Three Mouths
95 Three Ways of Making a Poem
96 Tip-it
97 Tit for Tat
98 To a Young Man in the Library
99 To Baudelaire, Debussy, and Basho
100 To My Husband
101 To Such Small Things Are We in Debt
102 To You I Would Speak
103 Today and To-morrow Series
104 Today I Celebrate by Crying (with Tears)
105 Today I Say
106 Tracking Connections
107 A Trained Diaphragm Can Help to Master Pain
108 Transfer
109 The Transformation of Water to Ice
110 Transgression
111 Transition from the Anglo Saxon
112 Trials
113 The Triborough Bridge a Crown for His Head
114 Trojan Women
115 Trout
116 Try to Find Out
117 Trying to Apprehend a Plot
118 Trying to Catch the Elusive Object
119 The Tune He Saw
120 Turning
121 TV Instructions as to What to Do for a Person Who Is Having a Heart Attack
122 Twice Too Long
123 The Twist
124 Two
125 Two Brothers in a Field of Absence
126 Two Faces
127 Two Sisters
128 Unbalanced Symmetries
129 Uncovering
130 Undertaking Solutions
131 An Unfair Poem
132 Unusual Cases
133 Vacation Rental with Outhouse
134 Vain Remedy
135 The Vale of Tears
136 Variations on a Stream
137 Vermeer’s Lady Reading at an Open Window
138 Versions of a City
139 Very Carefully
140 Victoria’s Secret
141 Villain
142 Villanelle
143 Visit to McGuire Air Force Base
144 Vocal Arpeggio
145 Volcano
146 Wait in the Chair
147 Waiting for an Ending
148 Waits and Measures
149 Walking through the Boxes
150 Walrus in the Central Park Zoo
151 Walt
152 Wanted:
153 War
154 Warsaw, September, 1990
155 Watching the Gerbil Die
156 The Way Lives Go
157 We Are Blind-Sighted
158 The Wedding
159 Wedding Bans: January 1980
160 Wedding Ring
161 Weeding out the Chickens
162 The Weekend: Fireworks – July 4, 1998
163 The Weekend He Died
164 The Weight of Accumulated Sadness
165 Western Immigration
166 What Cannot Be Expressed
167 What Heat Signifies
168 What I Did on My Spring Vacation
169 What I Took Home on March 19
170 What Is Missing on the 4th of July
171 What Is Never Lost
172 What No One Should Want to Have
173 What She Has Is Not Good Enough to Offer
174 What She Won’t Admit
175 What Went Wrong
176 When It's a Door
177 When the Bough Breaks
178 The Whether of One Evening
179 Who Is Chicken?
180 Why I Hate Poetry
181 Why Penelope Was Happy
182 Widow's Work
183 The Will Not Tell Overture
184 William Gass and the Singing Contest at Pantheon Publishing
185 Winter in Houston
186 Winter in the Arctic
187 Winter Letter/Shell Sekiyu
188 Winter Repast in the Blizzard of ‘78
189 The Witches Auction
190 Wives
191 A Woman, Almost Seventy Reads the Day’s Obituaries
192 WONC, Inc
193 Words Thought but Never Said
194 A Work of Art
195 The World’s Fattest Dancer
196 Worn Out
197 Yields and Measures
198 The You Addressed
199 You Slice a Tomato
200 Various (multiple poems per page or multiple poems clipped together)
Poetry Fragments and Untitled Poems
Both typed and handwritten, fragments and untitled poems appear on everything from full sheets of paper to bits of scrap paper.
Box Folder
8 1-17 Poetry fragments and untitled poems
Poetry Ideas and Research
Cynthia Macdonald jotted down ideas and collected news clippings and other printed materials for ideas and research for her poems.
Box Folder
8 18 Decoys – Poem & Title
19 Big Thicket Poem
20 Mary Cassat – 1
21 Mary Cassat – 2
Box Folder
9 1 Plumbing Stuff
2 Poetry Family Tree Project
3 Traveling up the Nile
4 Volcano poem
5 Notes
6-10 Clippings and printed material
Fiction includes short stories, both published and unpublished, as well as portions of novels that Cynthia Macdonald began writing. Material also includes notes and clippings for fiction ideas and research.
Box Folder
9 11 Short story: “A Certain Grace”
12 Short story: “The Fat Woman”
13-15 Stories and ideas
16 Ideas, 1965
17 Idea: Children’s book
18 Idea: The Disgusting Book for Children
19 Idea: “Memorial Service” (Papp story)
20 Ideas for novels
21 Idea: Bon Ton
22 Idea: Eastern Europe
23 Idea: Train novel
24 Novel: Kidnapped
25 Novel: Schumann
Box Folder
10 1-2 Turandot: assorted notes and clippings
3-5 Turandot: printed material for research
Cynthia Macdonald’s nonfiction work includes essays; book reviews; written introductions of other writers for events such as poetry readings; and written copies of talks given. Material also includes notes and clippings for ideas and research related to nonfiction writing.
Box Folder
10 6 Amy Lowell, Poetry Society of America
7 Drafts of Barcelona prose
8 Essay for Alberta Turner’s Poets Teaching
9 Essay on sports poem for POETSPEAK
10-11 Essay: The April Case
12 Essay: Deaths of Beautiful Ladies
13 Essay: The Hand, Harper’s Bazaar
14 Essay: Hats
15 Essay: “Heaven Is God’s Throne; Earth, His Footstool”
16 Essay: “How to Know Where to Go”
17 Essay: The Neck, NY Times
18 Essay: Notebook
19-20 Essay: The Role of the Stars in Psychoanalysis
21 Essay: Wallace Stevens
22 Essay on the creative process
23 Essays
24 Essay ideas
25 Review: Listening to Prozac
26 Review: Secrets of the Soul, Houston Chronicle
27 Reviews and written introductions of other writers
Box Folder
11 1 Talk: All Purpose Ending (Folger)
2 Talk: Brearley 50th Reunion
3 Talk: Dickinson
4 Talk: Farfel Award recipient speech
5 Talk: Houston and the Artist
6 Talk: How to Read Poetry
7 Talk: Jane Cooper’s 70th birthday
8 Talk: Maps and Mirrors for CAM
9 Talk: Marguerite Ross Barnett
10 Talk: Marilyn Monroe/C.A.M.
11 Talk: Oshman’s
12 Talk: Teaching Poetry
13 Talk: U.H. H&A graduation
14 Talk: U.H. Library
15 Talk: Walt Whitman
16 Talk: W.B. Yeats
17 Writer in the City (Berlin)
The Autobiography subseries features notes, snippets, ideas, clippings, and mementos, as collected and organized by Cynthia Macdonald.
Box Folder
11 18-20 Notes, clippings, ideas
21 March 1993
22 June 1993
Journals, Diaries, and Dreams
This subseries comprises Cynthia Macdonald’s personal journals and diaries, as well as written recollections of dreams.
Box Folder
11 23-25 Journals, diaries, dreams
26 Journals, diaries, dreams: Myron Simon
27 Journals, diaries, dreams: William Cantrell
Cynthia Macdonald’s psychoanalysis-related writings include papers and presentations, as well as notes collected for these writings.
Box Folder
11 28 A House Divided: Interviews; J. Robinson contributions
29 A House Divided: James Robinson intro
30 A House Divided: poem versions
Box Folder
12 1 A House Divided
2 A House Divided addendum
3 A House Divided: complete
4 A House Divided: early version
5-6 Writing Blocks
7 Daily Cougar/Writer’s Block
8 Brief writings
9 Collaborative paper written by CLM and Steve [Sonn.]
Other Writings
This subseries includes a translation of Dante’s Divine Comedy; notes and printed material related to that translation; ideas for various writing projects; an opera libretto, opera ideas, and reviews of operas; scripts and ideas for plays, movies, and television shows; notes on index cards; and assorted ideas, notes, and clippings for unnamed writing projects.
Box Folder
12 10 Dante translation: Canto VII
11 Dante translation: Canto VIII
12 Dante translation: Canto VIII notes
13 Dante translation: Canto LXXXI
14 Dante translation: Dante business
15 Dante translation: Dante final
16 Dante translation: Dante memorabilia
17 Dante translation: Dante notes
18 Dante translation: Divine Comedy
19 Ideas: baby book
20 Ideas: book titles
21 Ideas: Dodo/animal project notes
22 Ideas: Percy Grainger
23 Ideas: Rosellen, Marv, CM teaching book
24 Ideas: Why Anna Freud Never Married
25 In a Word contribution
26 Opera libretto and ideas
27 Opera review: Mozart’s The Magic Flute
28 Opera review: Street Scene
29 Opera reviews and notes
30 Play ideas and movie ideas
31 Notes on index cards
32 Script: “The Murderer’s Daughter”
33 Teleplay idea: Beerbohm/Woolf play for Channel 8 Writers Project
34 Teleplays/scripts for CBC Vancouver re: Japan 1965
35 Teleplays/scripts for Channel 8 Writers Project
36 Uncategorized ideas, notes, and clippings


The Correspondence series is especially rich, featuring letters and postcards to and from Cynthia Macdonald’s writing friends, colleagues, and family members. The series is divided into four sub-series: Incoming; Outgoing; Writing Submissions and Solicitations; and Third-Party Correspondence. Further description of each sub-series is provided in the corresponding section below.
Incoming Correspondence
Incoming correspondence is arranged alphabetically by the last names of the senders. The last four folders of the sub-series contain correspondence identified by the senders’ first names only and correspondence from unknown senders. Among the family and friends sending letters to Cynthia Macdonald are many noteworthy writers and artists, including: Roger Angell; John Ashbery; Charles Baxter; John Barth; Marion Barthelme; Gay Block; Rita Mae Brown; Alan Cheuse; Judy Collins; Jane Cooper; Robert Coover; Peter DeVries; James Dickey; Mark Doty; Rita Dove; Rackstraw Downes; Rikki Ducornet; Alan Dugan; Stephen Dunn; Judy Dworkin; Stuart Dybeck; Louise Erdrich; Jules Feiffer; Carolyn Forche; Siv Cedering Fox; Helen Frankenthaler; Tess Gallagher; James Gleick; Vivian Gornick; Donald Hall; Barbara Hamby; Brenda Hillman; Edward Hirsch; Maureen Howard; Richard Howard; Donald Justice; Barbara Kellerman; Carolyn Kizer; Maxine Kumin; Philip Levine; Audre Lorde; Beverly Lowry; Thomas Lux; Frances Mayes; James Michener; Vassar Miller; Simon Moss; Carol Muske; Hans Namuth; Howard Norman; Kathleen Norris; Cynthia Ozick; Molly Peacock; Robert Peters; Marge Piercy; Stanley Plumly; Adrienne Rich; Joanna Russ; William Safire; Grace Schulman; Anne Sexton; Tom Sleigh; Nicholas Spice; Daniel Stern; Gail Storey; James Surls; May Swenson; Anne Truitt; Alberta Turner; Chase Twitchell; Mona Van Duyn; Sidney Wade; Diane Wakoski; Nancy Willard; Charles Wright; Marguerite Young; and Adam Zagajewski.
Box Folder
13 1 A
2 Ba
3 Be – Bloch
4 Block, Gay
5 Blu – Bri
6 Brock-Broido, Lucie
7 Brouwer – Bru
8 Bryan, Sharon
9 Bu – By
10 Cantrell, William “Bill”
11 Car – Collier
12 Collins, Judy
13 Cook – Coolidge
14 Cooper, Jane
15 Cooper, R.C. – Cu
16 Da – Der
17 DeSchweinitz, George
18 Dev – Dre
19 Driskell, Leon
20 Dru – Dy
21 E
22 Fa – Fle
23 Fli – Forche
24 Ford, Harry
25 Fortney – France
26 Frankenthaler, Helen
27 Fras – Ful
28 Furman, Laura
Box Folder
14 1 Ga
2 Gallaher, Eddie
3 Gee, Judy
4 Gel – Gu
5 Ha
6 Hea – Herrmann, John, Jr.
7 Herrmann, Marjorie “Marty”
8 Herz – Hirst, Donald
9 Hirst, Dorothy Kiam Lee
10 Hirt – Howard, Maureen
11 Howard, Richard
12 Howe – Hu
13 I – J
14 Ka
15 Kellerman, Barbara
16 Kelman – Ki
17 Kn – Ku
18 La – Led
19 Lee, Leonard
20 Lee, Miranda – Lor
21 Lowry, Beverly
22 Lu – Ly
23 MacArthur – Macdonald, Dwight
24-26 Macdonald, E.C. “Mac”
25 Macdonald, E.C. “Mac” (2 of 3)
26 Macdonald, E.C. “Mac” (3 of 3)
Box Folder
15 1 Macdonald, H.C.
2-3 Macdonald, Jennifer “Timmie”
3 Macdonald, Jennifer “Timmie” (2 of 2)
4 Macdonald, Scott (1 of 2)
5 Macdonald, Scott (2 of 2)
6 Macdonald, Susan Ada
7 Mag – Maz
8 Mc
9 Me – Miller, C.
10 Miller, Leslie
11 Miller, Lynn and Lynda
12 Miller, V. – Moss, H.
13 Moss, Simon
14 Mou – My
15 Namuth, Hans
16 Nay – Nu
17 Oa – Olsen
18 Olsson, Peter
19 Op – Oz
20 Pa – Pea
21 Pei – Pet
22 Ph – Pr
23 Quinn, Alexandra
24 Quinn, Alice
25 Quinn, Carol
26 Ra – Rice
27 Rich, Adrienne
28 Rif – Rosenwasser
29 Rossabi
30 Rosser – Ry
Box Folder
16 1 Sa
2 Sc
3 Se
4 Sh
5 Si – Simon, H.
6 Simon, Myron
7 Sip – Sl
8 Sm – Spe
9 Spice, Nicholas
10 Spitz – Sti
11 Sto – Str
12 Su – Sy
13 Ta – Thompson, E.
14 Thompson, Jim
15 Thompson, T. – Tri
16 Tro – Tw
17 U
18 V
19 Wa
20 We – Wi
21 Wo – Wr
22 Y
23 Zagajewski, Adam
24 Zamora, Lois
25 Ze – Zw
26-29 First names only and unknown senders
Outgoing Correspondence
Cynthia Macdonald’s outgoing correspondence is arranged chronologically.
Box Folder
17 1 1930 – 1939
2 1940 – 1949
3 1950 – 1959
4 1960 – 1964
5 1965 – 1969
6 1970 – 1973
7 1974 – 1975
8 1976 – 1979
9 1980 – 1986
10 1987 – 1989
11 1990 – 1994
12 1995 – 1996
13 1997 – 1999
14 2000 – 2004
15 Unknown dates
Writing Submission and Solicitation Correspondence
This sub-series includes correspondence between Cynthia Macdonald and the editors at magazines and literary journals regarding writing submissions and solicitations to submit her writing. Folders contain attachments and enclosures that were originally included with the correspondence. Some of Macdonald’s original folders are also included, in the cases in which she wrote notes, names, and addresses of editors on the folders themselves. The files are arranged alphabetically by the names of the magazines, journals, and anthologies.
Box Folder
18 1 The American Poetry Review
2 The American Review
3 American Sports Poems
4 The American Voice
5 Antaeus
6 Appetite: Food as a Metaphor
7 Ardis Anthology of New American Poetry
8 Articulations
9 The Atlantic Monthly
10 Borderlands
11 The Bridge
12 The Canadian Forum
13 Choomia
14 The Connecticut Poetry Review
15 CutBank
16 Dominion Review
17 Esquire
18 Evergreen
19 Feminist Studies
20 Field
21 A Geography of Poets
22 Global City Review
23 Grand Street
24 Gravida
25 The Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review
26 The Herman Review
27 Hippocrates
28 The Iowa Review
29 Limestone
30 Many Mountains Moving
31 The Massachusetts Review
32 Michigan Quarterly Review
33 Mid-American Review
34 The Minnesota Review
35 The Missouri Review
36 MoonRabbit Review
37 Mosaic
38 Ms. Magazine
39 The Nation
40 New Directions Annual
41 New Letters
42 The New Republic
43 New Virginia Review
44 New Writings on Motherhood and Poetics
45 New York Quarterly
46 New York State Artists in Exhibition (NYSAE)
47 The New York Times
48 The New Yorker
49 Open Places
50 The Paris Review
51 Parnassus
52 Partisan Review
53 Pearl
54 Ploughshares
55 Poetry Magazine
56 The Poetry Miscellany
57 Poetry Northwest
59 Prairie Schooner
60 Prism
61 Red, White, & Blues
62 River Styx
63 Shenandoah
64 Sonora Review
65 The Southern Review
66 Southwest Review
67 Spirituality & Health
68 Stockpot
69 Stone Country
70 Sumac
71 Texas Anthology
72 Texas in Poetry
73 The Texas Review
74 13th Moon
75 TriQuarterly
76 Woman Poet
77 Women’s Poetry Anthology
78 The Yale Review
Third Party Correspondence
The correspondence in this sub-series is neither to nor from Cynthia Macdonald, and is arranged alphabetically by the senders’ last names. Among the items are 12 letters to Donald Barthelme; 19 invitees’ responses to singer Judy Collins for a party she was throwing for Cynthia Macdonald; letters from John Barth, Adrienne Rich, and Studs Terkel; and one letter in the “First Names Only” folder from a book editor at Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. to American music composer Jerome Kern.
Box Folder
18 79 A – M
80 N – Z
81 First names only

Writing Career

This series documents Cynthia Macdonald’s career and life as a writer. Contents include material related to poetry readings; writers’ conferences; reviews of her poetry; publishing contracts; publicity photographs; fellowship and NEA grant applications; prizes and awards; news clippings; royalty statements; her professional biography and curriculum vitae; other writers’ curricula vitae; letters of recommendation; the judging of writing contests; and documents regarding professional affiliations (such as PEN and the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters). The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not.
OVS_Box Folder
1 1 Posters, festival programs, proofs of book cover art
OVS_Box Folder
2 1 Eight posters from readings, publicity, and festivals
Drawer OVS_Folder
F.9 15 Five posters from readings and other events

Writings by Others

This series contains Cynthia Macdonald’s collection of works by other writers, including students, writer friends, famous authors, entrants in writing contests, and others. Material includes manuscripts, typescripts, printed material, and photocopies of works published in books and magazines. The series also includes some writing about other writers, organized by Cynthia Macdonald according to the subjects’ names. Of particular interest are original works by noteworthy authors, arranged alphabetically by the authors’ last names in Box 22. These materials include handwritten and typewritten copies of original drafts, as opposed to photocopies of published pieces. The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not.
Box Folder
22 1 Max Apple – essay
2 Daniel Bourne – manuscript for book of poems
3 Lucie Brock-Broido – poems
4 Lucie Brock-Broido – poems
5 Sharon Bryan – poems
6 Sharon Bryan – manuscript of memoir
7 Scott Cairns – manuscript for book of poems
8 Vikram Chandra – fiction
9 Jane Cooper – poems
10 Jane Cooper – poems
11 Blaga Dimitrova – poems translated into English from Bulgarian
12 Leon Driskell – poems
13 Nick Flynn – poems
14 Marilyn Hacker – poems and essay
15 Edward Hirsch – essay
16 Galway Kinnell – poem
17 John Lienhard – speech
18 Philip Lopate – essay
19 Molly Peacock – poems
20 Patty Seyburn – poems
21 Tom Sleigh – poem
22 Susan Sontag – play, “Alice in Bed”
23 Pimone Triplett – manuscript for book of poems
24 Pimone Triplett – manuscript for book of poems
25 Sidney Wade – poems
26 Lois Parkinson Zamora – essay
27 Lisa Zeidner – prose poem for M.A. thesis and poems
28 Lisa Zeidner – manuscript for book of short stories

Teaching Career

The series spans Cynthia Macdonald’s career as a writing teacher at Sarah Lawrence College, Johns Hopkins University, and the University of Houston. Items include departmental memos and other school-related business; class materials such as handouts on poetry; her biography/curriculum vitae (filed by Macdonald with her teaching materials, instead of with the Writing Career series); some student writings (filed here by Macdonald, instead of with the Writings by Others series); faculty evaluations by students; notes to and from other faculty members; and faculty awards. The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not.
OVS_Box Folder
1 2 UH Creative Writing Program honor

Psychoanalysis Career

This series contains documents from Cynthia Macdonald’s career as a professional psychoanalyst. Material includes papers and notes from her years as a psychoanalysis student; a certificate of graduation, agendas, and faculty memos from the Houston-Galveston Psychoanalytic Institute; printed materials on various psychoanalysis topics; research for her “Writing Blocks” work; items from the Aspen Institute Executive Seminar; and a (probably gag gift) Singing Sigmund Freud Pin filed in Box 32, Folder 1. The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not.


This series contains personal items collected over almost the entire course of Cynthia Macdonald’s life, from early childhood onward. Material includes artwork and schoolwork from her childhood; drawings and schoolwork by her sister, Virginia Lee, who passed away in childhood; summer camp documents and mementos; yearbooks; news clippings; photographs; mementos and documents from Macdonald’s children’s lives from childhood through adulthood; address books and day planners; travel documents such as maps, hotel and airline information, and mementos; shopping lists and Christmas gift lists; recipes; and posters. Contents of some boxes are described with the specific box numbers below; where not noted in detail, boxes contain an assortment of the above-mentioned materials. The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not. Box 33 contains one folder with Cynthia's father Leonard C. Lee's estate information; two folders with mementos of Cynthia's sister Virginia, who passed away in childhood; Cynthia's first baby shoe; several folders of travel documents; slides; photographs; and other items. Box 34 contains photographs, including many from Cynthia’s childhood, as well as unsorted negatives and slides.
OVS_Box Item
1 1-13 posters, photos, awards, certificates, a large cloth with a sketch of Cynthia [by Hans Namuth?], and a plastic beaded “Muses” necklace
OVS_Box Folder
2 2 One classroom “Word Drill” poster from 1934; two oversize photos
OVS_Box Item
3 1 Scrapbook of baseball-related newspaper clippings 1944
Drawer OVS_Folder
F.9 16 One Helen Frankenthaler art poster; two homemade illustrated posters [by Jennifer Macdonald]


This series contains one box of assorted media such as audio cassettes, VHS tapes, and compact discs. The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not.

Electronic Media

This series contains one box of computer discs and hard drives. The series was arranged in accordance with minimal processing standards to expedite its availability to researchers. Some folders have retained Cynthia Macdonald’s original labels and organization, while others have not.

Family History

Contained in three record boxes and one oversize box, the series comprises materials that pre-date Cynthia Macdonald’s birth in 1928 and materials dated during her lifetime that do not directly involve her (e.g. correspondence between her mother and her mother’s second husband). This section will be updated when processing is complete. Materials can be made available to researchers upon request; please email for assistance.