Stuart Wright Collection: Dara Wier Papers

Manuscript Collection #1169-089
Wier, Dara, 1949-
Physical description
0.25 Cubic Feet, 1 archival box, 1 item, 1 p.
Preferred Citation
Stuart Wright Collection: Dara Wier Papers (#1169-089), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA.
ECU Manuscript Collection
No restrictions

Papers of Dara Wier (1981) documenting the life and literary career of the New Orleans, Louisiana-born American poet who is also director of the Masters of Fine Arts program for poets and writers at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, who was married novelist and short story writer Allen Wier (m. 1969-1983) [#1169.103] and then to poet James Tate until his death in 2015; consisting of a broadside of her poem The Consequences of Weather (1981), autographed Dara Wier.

Biographical/historical information

Dara Wier was born Dara Dixon, on 30 December 1949, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and was raised in several locations throughout the state. She attended local Catholic schools in each place she lived. She attended Louisiana State University and Longwood University and received a M.F.A. from Bowling Green University in 1974. In 1981 she contributed a poem, entitled The Consequences of Weather, as Broadside No. 21 in the Palaemon Broadside Series published by Stuart Wright.

Over the years, Wier lived in many states and in Mexico. She has many literary and academic interests including poetry, prose, and literary criticism. Since 2015 Wier has been a contributing editor on the Jubilat website. Jubilat is a popular American poetry journal published by the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The magazine was first published in Spring 2000. She has taught poetry workshops and seminars at various universities. From 2010-2015, Wier has written the "Inside Undivided" column on the Flying Objects website; She co-founded the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Juniper Workshops in 2003, as part of the Juniper Initiative, of which she is co-director.

Wier's first collection of poetry, Blood, Hook & Eye was published by the University of Texas Press in 1977 and she has continued to produce volumes of her collected works on a regular basis ever since. In 2016 she had three works forthcoming at different presses.

In 1969, Wier married to novelist and short story writer Allen Wier whom she later divorced in 1983. She remarried to Michael Pettit in 1983, but they divorced in 1990. She had a son, Guy Gerard, and a daughter, Emily Caitlin, with Pettit. Wier then married a third time to poet, short story writer, and fellow University of Massachusetts faculty member,James Tate (1943-2015) until his death.


"Dara Wier". [Biographical Sketch] "International Who's Who in Poetry" (2004), p. 346.

"Dara Wier". [Biographical Sketch] "Wikipedia". "Dara Wier". [Biographical Sketch] "". Published by the Academy of American Poets. "Dara Wier". [Biographical Sketch] "English Department, University of Massachusetts, Amherst", MA.

"Dara Wier, 1949-". [Biographical Sketch] "Alabama Authors Blog Archive", MA.

"Jubilat". "".

"Inside Undivided". "" Website.

"Allen Wier [Biographical Sketch]", by Celia M. Kingsbury (2017) "".

Author: Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Dale Wetterhahn, 7/20/2015, 4/19/2016, 2/23/2017, 3/20/2017.

Stuart Wright collected and compiled the Dara Wier Papers. He was born, Stuart Thurman Wright, on 30 March 1948, in Roxboro, North Carolina. He was the son of Frances Critcher Wright (1919-2010) and Wallace Lyndon Wright (1921-1965). An avid reader as a boy, Wright developed a strong interest in the American Civil War and with his father toured many of the war's battlefields searching for artifacts and studying the history of the era. At the age of 12, he won a statewide "Johnny Reb" essay contest and by the age of 15 had visited every major battlefield of the Civil War. Wright attended Roxboro High School, from which he graduated in 1966. It was during these years that he developed an interest in collecting historical books and manuscripts and began relationships with a number of local collectors and dealers.

In the fall of 1966, Wright enrolled at Wake Forest University as a pre-med, history, German and music student. Wright earned a B.A. in German and music in 1970. As a graduate student at Wake Forest University, Wright focused his studies on Southern history and literature, his ambition being to build an authoritative Southern Studies collection for the university. He received a master's degree in Southern Studies in 1973 and a second master's degree in U.S. History in 1980. Additionally Wright holds a professional degree from England in a medically related field. It was while studying there that he became interested in Thomas Wolfe, the noted North Carolina native and novelist.

Following his graduation from Wake Forest, Wright began to develop his collections more systematically, acquiring many first editions of Southern writers. In 1976 he began teaching at Reynolda House, a Wake Forest University affiliate dedicated to the arts and arts education. Wright taught classes in American music as well as human anatomy for art students. In 1978 Wright became Lecturer in Education at Wake Forest University. During his 10 years teaching at Wake Forest University, Wright authored numerous works of Civil War and North Carolina history, and dozens of articles, bibliographies, essays and reviews on Southern literature and the writers whose papers he collected. In addition, he developed a strong interest in the writings of the English poet Donald Davie and the Minnesota-born poet Richard Eberhart, whose works he also collected.

At the same time, Wright also began a career as a publisher by starting Palaemon Press in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. By 1984, Palaemon Press had produced 316 titles, consisting mainly of broadsides and limited editions, of the poetry and essays of such Southern writers as A. R. Ammons, Fred Chappell, James Dickey, William Goyen, George Garrett, and Eudora Welty. He also built comprehensive collections and compiled book-length descriptive bibliographies of A.R. Ammons, Andrew Lytle, Reynolds Price, James Dickey, William Goyen, Walker Percy, Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor, George Garrett, Richard Eberhart, and Donald Davie. As well as serving as editor of the contemporary literature section of the Bulletin of Bibliography throughout the 1980s, Wright also contributed pioneering checklists of the writings of Southern poets Henry Taylor, Charles Wright, and Robert Morgan. For Meckler Publishing he served as series editor for a number of book-length bibliographies and checklists. In recognition of these accomplishments, when he was just 32, Wright was elected to membership in New York's prestigious Grolier Club.

All of these works are represented in the Stuart Wright Collection. In his dealings with these various authors Wright made consistent efforts to acquire personal papers, letters and documents, photographs, manuscripts, drafts, proofs, and published materials to supplement his continuing activities as a purchaser of their works. In this way, Wright acquired perhaps a majority of his overall collection. Over the years a number of biographers used Wright's collection to aid their research. For example, James A. Grimshaw, Jr. used the collection extensively for his Robert Penn Warren: A Descriptive Bibliography, 1922-1979 published by the University Press of Virginia, in 1981 and Craig S. Abbott did so as well for John Crowe Ransom: A Descriptive Bibliography, published by Whitston Publishing Company, Inc. in 1999. Joseph Blotner also used the Wright collection in researching Robert Penn Warren: A Biography, published by Random House in 1997.

Nevertheless, from the mid- to late 1980s, Wright began to look for a permanent home for his collection, which he felt had grown too large and yet had been too little used. Unable to find a repository willing to accept the entire collection under suitable conditions, he sold a number of individual author collections to Vanderbilt University, Duke University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Emory University. It was not until 2010 that he reached agreement to house the remaining, and largest part of his collection at East Carolina University. The Stuart Wright Collection in the East Carolina Manuscript Collection of J.Y. Joyner Library includes 106 sub-collections of the papers of Southern American writers, illustrators, composers, and publishers. The related Stuart Wright Book Collection holds several thousand volumes by or about many of the same writers. Many of these volumes contain annotations, inscriptions, and insertions that reveal much about the authors in the collection and their relationships with one another. In 1998 Wright moved to England, and since 2001 he has resided in the medieval market town of Ludlow, in Shropshire.

Author: Jonathan Dembo, 11/2/2016

Scope and arrangement

Stuart Wright Collection: Dara Wier Papers (#1169-089) are arranged in original order in a single series.

Series 1: Cary Addition #1 to the Stuart Wright Collection consists of papers (1981) documenting the life and literary career of New Orleans, Louisiana-born American poet Dara Wier (b. 1949), consisting of a broadside of her poem The Consequences of Weather (1981) autographed by Dara Wier. Source: Cary Addition Box #145.000. Series 1 is held in Box. 1.a.

Administrative information
Custodial History

27 October 2011, (Cary Addition #1), 0.25 cubic feet; 1 archival box; 1 item; 1 p. Papers (1981) documenting the life and literary career of New Orleans, Louisiana-born American poet Dara Wier (b. 1949), consisting of a broadside of her poem The Consequences of Weather (1981) autographed by Dara Wier. Source: Cary Addition Box #145.000. Vendor: Stuart Wright

Source of acquisition

Purchased from Stuart Wright, 10/27/2011

Processing information

Processing, Preliminary inventory & Container List, by Jonathan Dembo, with the assistance of Nathaniel King, 7/20/2015, 2/23/2016, 5/13/2016; Final inventory by Jonathan Dembo, 5/31/2016; Finding aid by Jonathan Dembo, 9/30/2016, 10/3/2016; Biographical Sketch, by Jonathan Dembo with the assistance of Dale Wetterhahn, 4/19/2016, 10/3/2016, rev. 2/23/2017; Encoding revised by Jonathan Dembo, 2/23/2017, 3/20/2017.

Copyright notice

Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

Language of material


Container list
Box 1 Folder a Consequences of Weather, The [Poem] by Dara Wier. Palaemon Broadside No. 21 (Winston-Salem, NC : Palaemon Press Ltd., © 1981) Broadside. 1 item. 1 p. ; Note : Autographed "Dara Wier" on face ; one of 126 printed ; Source : Cary Addition Box #145.000