Tag Archives: donation

Poet Adds His Voice

The Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection

On a steamy day in September, renowned poet and fiction writer Ken Fontenot welcomed Sean O’Bryan, Manager of Preservation and Gifts Processing at the UT Libraries, and I into his downstairs apartment. The walls in the living room and hallway were lined with bookshelves packed with brightly-colored poetry, poetry journals, writing guides, and stacks of chapbooks. This is a poet’s home, and Fontenot wants these bound words to feed our next generation of poets. Ken Fontenot received the Texas Institute of Letters Best Book of Poetry Award for his 2013 In a Kingdom of Birds (Pinyon Publishing), his second book of poetry; he has also published translations of German poetry and a novel. The poetry began when he attended a reading series at Tulane, his alma mater, and seemed more possible when he made his way to the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection at The University of Texas at Austin Libraries.

In the 1980s Fontenot moved from his home in New Orleans to Austin and to UT where he would receive an MA in German Language and Literature. While here, he found himself at the Flawn Academic Center, in a room adjacent to what was then the Undergraduate Library, a room full of poetry. “You go on filling your jar of hope with yet more hope,” he wrote in A Kingdom of Birds. Ruth Stephan founded the Poetry Collection at UT Austin in 1965, and Fontenot realized amidst these books and poetry reading events that he was a poet. The influence of the Poetry Collection stayed with him.

Last year he decided he wants his collection to make poetry possible for other potential poets and readers. His donation will add hundreds of volumes and contributes to an ongoing revitalization of the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection, now on the 6th floor of the Perry-Castañeda Library, in collaboration with the English Department and the New Writers Project. Ken Fontenot, along with the UT Libraries, hopes that the sweet cacophony of verse he has added to the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection will feed you, poet. Revel in the work of Rosemary Catacalos, Kay Ryan, Cyrus Cassells, Ai, Louise Gluck, Naomi Shihab Nye, Mary Oliver, W. S. Merwin, Rita Dove, Billy Collins, and many more. You’ll see these titles added to the shelves over the next couple of months.

Fontenot’s fiction towers still in his apartment on other shelf-lined walls. These books, he says, he is keeping as he writes his second novel.

– Kristen Hogan, English Literature and Women’s and Gender Studies Librarian

This Donation Sounds Great


William Vanden Dries of the Audio Preservation Fund and Fine Arts Music Library David Hunter. Photo by Emilia Harris, Daily Texan Staff

An unexpected gift can sometimes be the most invaluable.

Thanks to a generous donation from the Audio Preservation Fund – an Austin-based nonprofit formed by three UT alumni in 2009 – the already extensive Historic Musical Recordings Collection (HMRC) just got a little more so with the addition of 1,000 vinyl albums.

Chairman of the Audio Preservation Fund William Vanden Dries hand-delivered the eclectic mix of recordings to the Collections Deposit Library on Tuesday. After an extensive review of the HMRC’s holdings, the group determined where their reserves might bridge gaps in the collection’s catalog, and the gift was amassed from the cache of an unnamed individual collector.

The Audio Preservation Fund acts as a facilitator for the collection and preservation of sound recordings, and for the distribution of donated items to suitable recipients including public archives, libraries, museums, universities and research centers. The Fund’s goal is to make private collections available to the public in an effort to improve access to rare, unique and historical audio.

We express our gratitude to the Audio Preservation Fund on behalf of the Libraries and the patrons who will benefit from their generous gift.


Supporting teaching, learning and research

There are several ways for alumni and friends to show their pride and support for the University of Texas at Austin. No matter what ranking the Longhorn football team has, there are still several Top Tens on campus. One of which is the University of Texas Libraries.

When you support UT Libraries you are making a direct contribution to the core mission of our University…teaching, learning and research. Contributions, especially in a time of declining state revenue, ensure that current and future students have the books, journals and scholarly research available to them that former generations of students had.

The University of Texas Libraries is where information lives! We encourage you to support one of the top information resources in Texas.

Here are three ways to help provide books, journals and other needed resources for our students and faculty.

1) Join our We ❤ UT Libraries initiative.
2) Adopt your favorite book.
3) Become a Literary Longhorn with a $5,000 annual contribution and enjoy exclusive dinners with distinguished authors and faculty in one of our historic reading rooms; and invitations to tour national and international library collections and archives. Contact Gregory Perrin for detailed information.

There are no great universities without great libraries! Support UT Libraries today!