Peek into the personal library of renowned Canadian-American poet Robin Blaser

Ex Libris Robin Blaser: "New American" Companions

View Ex Libris Robin Blaser: "New American" Companions, on display on the top (7th) floor, W.A.C. Bennett Library.

Portrait of Robin Blaser

About Robin Blaser

Robin Blaser (1925–2009) was a North American poet who came to SFU from San Francisco in 1966 to take a faculty position in the English Department. He taught for 20 years, during which he proved a charismatic teacher and an influential poet, editor, and essayist with a growing international reputation. In 1972 he became a Canadian citizen and in 2005 was appointed to the Order of Canada. He was awarded the country's top poetry prize—the Griffin Poetry Prize—in 2008 for his opus major, The Holy Forest. In later years his collected writings were published by the University of California Press; he also has been the subject recently of a scholarly biography.

Blaser's library

Blaser's personal library contained thousands of books on a wide range of subjects, especially in the arts and humanities, and especially literary. Many of the books were top quality and quite a few were rare. Although the Library was unable to accept all the Blaser books (many are duplicates of books already owned) hundreds of volumes are being retained, including many books of poetry and modern literature—especially those of the "New American Poets" and Canadian confederates. These include rare and interesting material by Blaser himself and by his contemporary "New American" companions, the poets Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan and Charles Olson. The exhibit focuses on works from the Blaser library by these four poets.


Photograph of the entrance to Robin Blaser's library, filled with many books, sculptures, and objects. This photograph was taken by photographer Christos Dikeakos
Robin Blaser's study and part of his library. Photograph by Christos Dikeakos.

Three editions of Donald Allen's The New American Poetry

About the exhibit

This exhibit features a selection of books from the library of (or in Latin, ex libris) Robin Blaser, donated to SFU Library in 2020.  

Blaser's library was very large and far-ranging. Hundreds of high-quality, often rare books from it are going into Special Collections and Rare Books (SCRB). Most will go to the Contemporary Literature Collection, SCRB's collection of 20th- and 21st-century literature that is the largest and oldest of our special collections.  

The exhibit features selected items relating to Robin Blaser's own work as a "New American" poet in San Francisco in the 1950s and '60s, plus that of three of his close contemporary associates and allies: the poets Jack Spicer, Robert Duncan, and Charles Olson.


What's on display

The exhibit includes:

    Bust of Jack Spicer and his book of collected works
    A bust of poet, Jack Spicer with a Poet Be Like God, a comprehensive biography of the pivotal poet
    Editions of Charles Olson's works
    Editions of Charles Olson's works Mayan Letters and The Maximus Poems
      Editions of Robert Duncan's works
      A biography and the collected works of Robert Duncan
      March 6 to May 31
      Monday - Friday 8:30am - 4:30pm
      Special Collections and Rare Books, 7th floor, W.A.C. Bennett Library (SFU Burnaby)
      Contact for further information
      For further information please contact Special Collections and Rare Books at or Tony Power at or visit Special Collections.