Russell Thorburn papers
MSS-157

Summary Information

Repository
Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives
Creator
Thorburn, Russell
Title
Russell Thorburn papers
ID
MSS-157
Date [inclusive]
1977-2013
Extent
1.0 cubic foot 1 archival box
Language

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item] in the Russell Thorburn papers, MSS-157, Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives, Northern Michigan University.

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Biographical note

Russell Thorburn grew up in Birmingham, Michigan, attending Holy Name Elementary and Brother Rice High School. He moved to Marquette in 1974 and enjoyed spending much of his time reading with former NMU professors John VandeZande and Phil Legler at a local bookstore, playing music, and living with his girlfriend. In 1982, Thorburn married Emily Wood, and they have three sons: Gabriel, the oldest, has been the assistant editor for Warner Brothers; Christopher, and Michael. In 1985, Thorburn received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Northern Michigan University. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Western Michigan University in 1988. Thorburn works as an adjunct associate professor of English at Northern Michigan University. Over the years, he received numerous grants from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs to support his writing. As a poet in residence for Upper Peninsula public schools, Thorburn has taught poetry workshops and inspired students to write creatively. Thorburn served as artist-in-residence at the Mojave National Preserve in the winter of 2013. He has also been featured in the NMU Alumni publication, Northern Horizons, and is a nominee for UP Poet Laureate.

Russell Thorburn is an established poet. Between 1993 and 1996 he taught at Marquette Branch Prison. During the mid-1990s, his poems would appear regularly in The Quarterly, a New York City-based magazine run by Gordon Lish. He co-authored two books with Robert Bixby, "The Company of Widows (1991)" and "Henry Zender: Poems (1996)". In 1999, Russell’s first book, "Approximate Desire: Poems," was published by Western Michigan University’s New Issues Press with the help of David Dodd Lee and Herb Scott. In that same year, he also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to write a book of poems. After receiving the Central Upper Peninsula Planning and Development (CUPPAD) Art Minigrant in 2001, Thorburn began writing two radio plays: "The Playback" and "Happy Birthday, James Joyce." Patrick Lynch, a local musician, provided original music for both plays. "Happy Birthday, James Joyce" aired four times on WNMU-FM. Both plays were performed Off-Broadway in 2002. Thorburn also wrote "Growing up Irish." Other published books include: "The Weight of Umber and Sienna: Poems (2001)," "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged: Poems (2006)," "The Drunken Piano: Poetry by Russell Thorburn (2009)," "The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard: Poems (2009)," and "Misfit Hearts (2012)." Thorburn was also the editor for anthologies of teen poetry: "Wheat Field with Poems and Crows (2004)," "Pencils on Fire (2005)," and "Word River (2006)."

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Scope and Contents

This collection consists of the unpublished and published manuscripts and correspondence of Russell Thorburn from 1977-2013. The collection also includes audio CDs of Thorburn's poems and plays and photographs from a book signing. Of particular note to the researcher are the published and unpublished manuscripts of Thornburn’s literary work. The collection contains numerous drafts of edited poetry, manuscripts, plays, and the beginnings of Thorburn’s works of art.

Series Descriptions:

Record Series I. Correspondence, 1977-2010. (18 folders). This series is arranged by subject and the folders include written correspondence, postcards, and emails. These are identified by correspondent: Ross Tharaud, Roberta Herter, Johnathon Johnson, Rod Torreson, and Publishers, as well as, personal correspondence.

Record Series II. Creative Works, (34 folders). This series is arranged by subject. The folders contain drafts of manuscripts and plays: "Driving the Lights Dirty;" "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged;" "The Trees Counted to Where One Bent in Heartache;" Scenes From the Night of a Drunken Piano;" "Love Poems & Other Desires;" "Misfit Hearts;" "Happy Birthday, James Joyce;" "The Playback;" "Dylan Thomas in New York;" "The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard." There are folders containing miscellaneous edited poetry, covers from published manuscripts, book reviews, and the Mojave National Preserve Project. Printed editions of Thorburns books are located in the Special Collections Library of the Archives: "Approximate Desire: Poems;" "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged;" "The Drunken Piano: Poems;" "The Whole Tree As Told to the Backyard;" and "Misfit Hearts."

Record Series III. Audio/Visual, (4 folders). This series is arranged by subject. The are two folders containing Audio CDs of four plays written by Russell Thorburn: "Happy Birthday, James Joyce;" "An Earful of Poems;" "The Playback;" and "Quebec Letters." The photographs in this series are of family and from book signing events. There are also newspaper clippings, publicity materials, and copies of performance flyers.

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Arrangement

This collection is arranged by topic and consists of three record series: Correspondence; Creative Works; and Audio/Visual materials.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Central Upper Peninsula and Northern Michigan University Archives May 2008

Harden Learning Resources Center 126
1401 Presque Isle Ave
Marquette, Michigan, 49855
906-227-1225
archives@nmu.edu

Revision Description

  May 13, 2013

Conditions Governing Access

No restrictions. Open for research.

Custodial History

Gift received from Russell Thorburn in January 2008 with additional materials donated in 2013.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials

Five of Russell Thorburn's books: "Approximate Desire: Poems"; "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged: Poems"; The Drunken Piano: Poems"; "The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard"; and "Misfit Hearts: Poems", as well as, photographs were moved to various locations within the archives.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Northern Michigan University--Alumni and alumnae.

Personal Name(s)

  • Thorburn, Russell

Subject(s)

  • Dramatists, American--Michigan--Marquette--20th century.
  • Poetry, Modern--20th century.

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Collection Inventory

Series I: Correspondence 

Box
17-06-08

Correspondence -- Ross Tharaud (1978-1979) 

Correspondence -- Ross Tharaud (1979-1989) 

Correspondence -- Ross Tharaud (1990-2002) 

Correspondence -- Roberta Herter (1989-1996) 

Correspondence -- Roberta Herter (1997-1998) 

Correspondence -- Roberta Herter (2000-2005) 

Correspondence -- Johnathon Johnson (2008-2009) 

Correspondence -- Publishers (1995-2003) 

Correspondence -- Publishers (2004-2009) 

Correspondence -- Publishers (non-dated) 

Correspondence -- Postcards (1977-2002) 

Correspondence -- Postcards (2003-2009) 

Correspondence -- Personal 

Correspondence -- Email: Rod Torreson (2005-2006) 

Correspondence -- Email: Rod Torreson (2007) 

Correspondence -- Email: Rod Torreson (2008-2010) 

Correspondence -- Email 

Correspondence -- Miscellaneous (2002-2008) 

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Series II: Creative Works 

Box
17-06-08

Edited Drafts -- Poetry 

Edited Drafts -- Poetry 

Edited Drafts -- Poetry 

Edited Drafts -- Poetry, 2013 

Edited Manuscript -- Untitled 

Edited Manuscript -- Untitled 

Edited Manuscript -- Untitled 

Edited Manuscript -- Untitled 

Edited Manuscript -- "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged" 

Edited Manuscript -- "The Trees Counted to Where One Bent in Heartache" 

Edited Manuscript -- "The Trees Counted to Where One Bent in Heartache" 

Edited Manuscript -- "The Trees Counted to Where One Bent in Heartache" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Scenes From The Night of a Drunken Piano" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Scenes From The Night of a Drunken Piano" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Scenes From The Night of a Drunken Piano" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Scenes From The Night of a Drunken Piano" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Love Poems & Other Desires: Christmas 77" 

Edited Manuscript -- "Misfit Hearts" 

Play Manuscript -- "Happy Birthday, James Joyce" (Act I, Scene I-III) 

Play Manuscript -- "Happy Birthday, James Joyce" (Act I, Scene V-VII) 

Play Manuscript -- "Happy Birthday, James Joyce" (Act II) 

Play Manuscript -- "Happy Birthday, James Joyce" 

Play Manuscript -- "The Playback" 

Play Manuscript -- "Dylan Thomas in New York" 

Published Manuscript -- "The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard" (Draft) 

Published Poems (1993-2006) 

Published Manuscript Covers 

Book Reviews (1999-2010) 

Print Editions: "Approximate Desire: Poems (1999)"; "Father, Tell Me I Have Not Aged: Poems (2006)"; "The Drunken Piano: Poems (2009)"; "The Whole Tree as Told to the Backyard (2009)" and "Misfit Hearts (2012)". 

Mojave National Preserve Project (2013) 

Publication -- Croton Review Spring/Summer 1988 

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Series III: Audio/Visual 

Box
17-06-08

Audio CD -- "Happy Birthday James Joyce (2006)" and "An Earful of Poems (2007)" 

Audio CD -- "The Playback (2001)" and "Quebec Letters (1980,2007)" 

Folder

Photographs (includes book signing and family photos) 

35-03-08 LRC

Performance Flyers, Publicity Materials, Newspaper Clippings 

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