MS 5575
Papers of R.A. Simpson (1929-2002)



Scope and Content Note

Papers

1.72 metres (13 boxes)

Available for reference, with the exception of letters of Alexander Craig (folders 9-11).

The first instalment of papers was purchased from R.A. Simpson in 1977. Further instalments were acquired in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1991, and 1996.

The papers comprise draft of poems, notebooks, manuscripts of books, correspondence with writers and publishers, reviews, papers on seminars and other literary subjects, drawings and photographs.


Biographical Note

Ronald Albert Simpson was born in Melbourne on 1 February 1929. He studied at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and taught at schools in England and Australia. In 1968 he was appointed lecturer in art at the Chisholm Institute of Technology. He retired in 1987.

Simpson was one of a group of Melbourne poets, including Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Vincent Buckley and Alexander Craig, who came to prominence in the 1950s. His first book of poetry Walk along the beach was published in 1960 and a further eight volumes appeared in the next 32 years. Simpson was poetry editor of the Bulletin from 1963-65 and became poetry editor of the Age in 1969. He received the Christopher Brennan Award from the Fellowship of Australian Writers in 1992.

Simpson died on 2 October 2002.


Collection Description

Box 1

Folder

1

Correspondence with Tim and Tom Bass

2

Correspondence with publishers and editors.

3-5

Correspondence including Alexander Craig (closed), Vincent Buckley, Nancy Cato, Les Murray, Kenneth Slessor, John Wain, and Chris Wallace-Crabbe. (see Appendix A)

6

Correspondence with Thomas Shapcott

7

Correspondence while editor of The Bulletin 1963-1965. Writers' Retreat, Goolwa, 1974 including correspondence and poems.

8

Poems by John Wain and others. Article by R.A. Simpson on Max Dunn in the Quadrant magazine.

9-11

Correspondence with Alexander Craig. (closed)

Box 2

Folder

12

Reviews by Simpson in The Age and The Bulletin. Reviews of Simpson's books as well as an interview in The Australian.
Photographs.

13-15

Working drafts of various poems.

16

Copies of published and unpublished poems.

17

Copies of poems by Chris Wallace-Crabbe.

18

Early poems, mostly unpublished.

19

Manuscript and notebook of The Walk Along the Beach, 1960, Edward's and Shaw.

20

Announcements and reviews relating to The Walk Along the Beach. Correspondence with Evan Pincus, Edward's and Shaw, and Angus & Robertson.

Box 3

Folder

21

Signed copy of The Real Pompeii, Jacaranda Press, 1964. Correspondence with Jacaranda Press and Oxford University Press.

22

Typescript draft and final draft of The Real Pompeii.

23

Poems from Murrumbeena, University of Queensland Press, 1976, workbooks showing developments of poems from 1970-1976.

24

Typescripts with annotations of Poems from Murrumbeena.

25

Sea Variations, later changed to Poems from Murrumbeena, typescript draft with annotations.

26

Typescript drafts of After the Assassination, Jacaranda Press 1968, formerly called The Dingo Trapper.

27

Correspondence with Jacaranda Press and Melbourne University Press in relation to After the Assassination.

28

Rough drafts of Diver, University of Queensland Press, 1972. Correspondence with U.Q.P.

29

Drafts and typescript draft of Diver.


Material Added 30 March 1979

Box 4

Folder

30

Australian Literature Seminar

The Herald "C.J. Dennis Memorial Poetry Competition".Correspondence with University of Stirling, Scotland.

31-32

Various hand-written and typed poems.

33

Notebook of poems.

34

Correspondence including Thomas Shapcott, Alexander Craig (closed), Chris Wallace-Crabbe, John Wain, and Vincent Buckley. (see Appendix A)

35

The Forbidden City, xerox copies of poems. (These relate to drawings held in the Pictorial section.)

36

Poems from Murrumbeena, typescripts and correspondence with the Australian Authors' Fund and the University of Queensland Press.


Material Added 1980

Box 5

Folder

37

Correspondence: Univ. of Queensland Press.

38

Correspondence: Alexander Craig (closed).

39

Correspondence: Chris Wallace-Crabbe, also some of his poems.

40

Correspondence: Tom Shapcott.

41

Correspondence: Waroma Festival.

42-44

General Correspondence including some when Simpson was working for The Age.

45

Diary kept when overseas 1956-58.

46

Diary of visit to China.

47

The Bulletin 1963-64 poems both published and rejected.

Box 6

Folder

48

The Bulletin 1963-65 poems both published and rejected and some letters.

49-50

Manuscripts of recent poems, 1979.

51

The Forbidden City - 2 note books.

52

The Forbidden City - manuscript early version.

53-55

The Forbidden City - worksheets.

56

The Forbidden City - extra manuscript.

57

The Forbidden City - extra manuscript and final division of ms into Sections.

58

The Forbidden City - almost final form, and one book.

59

The Forbidden City - manuscript

Box 7

Folder

60

The Forbidden City. Criticisms and letters from publishers Edward's & Shaw

61-63

Poems from the Age proofs and layout

64

Poems from the Age introduction, poems rejected and some correspondence

65-67

Poems from the Age: manuscripts

Box 8

Folder

68

Poems from the Age published book 1979

69

Poems from Murrumbeena and some revision

70

The Walk along the Beach (1960) plus selected poems to be published in 1981 U.Q.P.

71

After the Assassination

72

Some early manuscripts

73-74

Poems published in various Newspapers and reviews.1 packet of 17 magazines of poems and reviews. Additions to collection, received 14.10.1981.

Box 9

Folder

75-76

Selected poems. Typescript and photocopy drafts, bearing proof-reading annotations and author's amendments.(140 pages).

77-78

Selected poems. Typescripts and paste-ups of poems, bearing proof-reader's annotations.

79-80

Photocopies of poems intended for inclusion in Selected poems.

81-82

Copies of poems for Selected poems. A small amount of copies bear author's corrections. Includes one letter to "Chris" (presumably Wallace-Crabbe) about the poem The Escapee.

83

Correspondence 1981 with publisher Edward's & Shaw about remainder of Forbidden City. (4 letters).

Box 10

Folder

84

Photocopies and typescript collection of poems entitled The Survivors by R.A. Simpson and Robin Wallace-Crabbe. (2 sets) (Wallace-Crabbe was to be the illustrator).Correspondence 1980 with Alex Bolton of Brindabella Press concerning proposed publication of The Survivors which did not eventuate. (5 letters).

85

Letters and postcards from Roger McDonald 1980 about Selected poems (4 items). Photocopy of Simpson reply (1 item).
Letters 1980 to and from Vincent Buckley, Andrew Taylor and Neilma Gantner (4 items, 2 of which are copies)

86

Selected poems Lists of selections for possible inclusion, made in 1979 and 1980.

87

Selected poems. Final versions of some poems for inclusion in volume, some with author's corrections.

88-92

Selected poems. Worksheets, many showing evolution of poem from early typed or hand-written draft to final version ready for publication.

93-94

Correspondence from Thomas Shapcott, with copies of Simpson's replies, 1979-1981, concerning reviews, proposed publications, and other personal and literary matters.

Box 11

Folder

95

Correspondence 1980 to and from Thom Gunn about material proposed for Selected poems, together with revised contents lists based on Gunn's comments.
(5 letters, 2 contents lists, drafts of poems).

96-97

Correspondence 1980 to and from Chris Wallace-Crabbe about Selected poems and personal and literary matters. Typed drafts of some poems, showing author's corrections and some by Wallace-Crabbe. (6 letters approx. 60 drafts).

98-99

Correspondence 1980 to and from Alex Craig about Selected poems , with material also about Craig's work, (11 items); typescript drafts with annotations and alterations prompted by Craig (about 40 items).

100-102

Photographs of Simpson's drawings and paintings (approx. 35 prints). Correspondence 1979-81 to and from University of Queensland Press concerning Selected poems.
Notebooks of early manuscript drafts of poems showing the development of the poems (some have over a dozen versions).(3 notebooks).
Copies of Simpson's published works, from which selections were made for Selected poems, showing annotations and extensive alterations to some pieces.The walk along the beach (1960), This real Pompeii (1964), After the assassination (1968), Diver (1972), Poems from Murrumbeena (1976), and The Forbidden city (1979).


Addition received December 1991

Box 12

Folder

103

Photocopy of typescript draft of Words for a journey and some correspondence with Queensland University Press, 1984.

104

Photocopy of typescript draft, with few ms. amendments of Words for a journey and a letter of Alexander Craig.

105

Photocopy late typescript draft, with few ms. amendments, and gallery proofs of Words for a journey.

106

Final draft, part typescript and part photocopy, of Words for a journey, with annotations by editor.

107

Gallery proofs of Words for a journey.

108

Photocopies of reviews of Words for a journey.

109

Carbon typescript of Forbidden city.

110

Typescript of ABC broadcast, "A first hearing", in series "The Poet's Tongue", selected by Simpson, and some correspondence with ABC, 1983.


Addition received March 1996

Box 13

Folder

111

Typescript draft with annotations of Dancing Table and signed copy of the published book.

112

Typescript draft with annotations of Dancing Table.

113

Sketches, original pen drawings, and changes to contents of Dancing Table. Correspondence from Penguin Books Australia. (June 1991)

114

Reviews, awards, and correspondence relating to nomination of Judith Wright for the Nobel Prize (1994) and with Tom Shapcott concerning the Australia Council's Fellowship (1986-1988) .
Papers relating to the launch of Dancing Table.
Article by Gary Catalano.


Appendix A

PARTIAL LIST OF CORRESPONDENCE

Correspondent

Folder Number

Adamson, Robert

3

Adamson, Cheryl

34

Adelaide Festival of Arts

34

Angus & Robertson

2, 20, 34

Australian Authors' Fund

34

Australian Broadcasting Commission

2, 110

Bass, Tim

1

Bass, Tom

1

Beaver, Bruce

3

Blight, John

34

Brindabella Press

84

Buckley, Vincent

3, 34, 42, 85

Buckmaster, Charles

3

Campbell, David

3

Cato, Nancy

3

Chisolm, Alec

3

Christesen, Clem

4

Collinson, Lawrence

3, 4

Couper, John

3

Craig, Alexander (closed)

9, 10, 11, 34, 38, 98, 99, 104

Davidson, Jim

2

Dawe, Bruce

3

Dobson, Rosemary

3

Dransfield, Michael

3, 42

Dutton, Geoffrey

3

Edmonds, Phillip

3

Edwards and Shaw

19, 20, 83

Elder, Anne

3

FitzGerald, Robert D.

3

Florence, Chris

34

Gantner, Wilma

85

Grant, Jamie

3

Gunn, Thom

95

Hart-Smith, William

4

Heinemann Educational Australia

2, 34

Herald (Melbourne)

3, 30

Hickey, Bernard

2, 34

Higham, Charles

4

Hodson, Kitty

34

Hope, A.D.

4

Hughes, Robert

4

Jacaranda Press

21, 27

Jones, Evan

4

Keesing, Nancy

4

Kinross-Smith, Graeme

4

Lucie-Smith, Edward

34

Macainsh, Noel

4

Macmillan Company

2

Martin, David

4

McAuley, James

4

McDonald, Roger

4, 85

Melbourne University Press

27

Muir, Thomas

12

Murray, Les

5

Murray-Smith, Stephen

5

Oxford University Press

21

Page, Geoff

5

Penguin Books Australia

113

Perry, Grace

5

Phillips, Arthur

5

Pincus, Evan

20

Porter, Peter

34

Quadrant

34

Riddell, Elizabeth

5

Robinson, Roland

5

Rodriguez, Judith

5

Rowbotham, David

5

Shapcott, Tom

6, 34, 40, 93, 94, 114

Slessor, Kenneth

5

Smith, Vivian

5

South Head Press

2

Stewart, Douglas

5

Stow, Randolph

5, 34

Talbot, Norman

5

Taylor, Andrew

5, 34, 85

Tulip, Jim

34

University of Adelaide

42

University of Queensland Press

28, 36, 37, 42,1 00-103

University of Stirling, Scotland

30

Wain, John

5, 34

Wallace-Crabbe, Chris

34, 39, 96, 97

Wallace-Crabbe, Robin

5

Waroma Festival

41

Webb, Francis

5

October 1996
Amended December 2006