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Eric W. Barker Papers

An inventory of his papers at Syracuse University

Finding aid created by: KM
Date: May 1987

Biographical History

Eric Barker (1905-1973) was an American poet. Born and educated in England, he came to the United States at the age of 16 with his parents. Barker worked for short periods as a truck dispatcher, a gardener, a signal tower operator in a railroad yard, and a caretaker. His real "work" however was writing poetry and roaming the wild area around his home in Carmel, California. Among his books of poetry are The Planetary Heart (1942), Directions in the Sun (1956), A Ring in the Willows (1961), and Looking for Water (1964). He was awarded the Shelley Memorial Award of the Poetry Society of America in 1963.

Scope and Contents of the Collection

The Eric Barker Papers include one subject file, correspondence, manuscripts, and published material.

The single Subject file contains a photograph of the poet. Correspondence, all incoming, consists mainly of letters written between 1932 and 1959 from John Cowper Powys. There are a few letters from others, including Llewelyn Powys (most of which are to Barker's wife, dancer Madelynne Greene), Karen Rose, and Robinson Jeffers. Manuscripts include a signed holograph poem and the galley proof of Barker's book, Looking for Water. Published material consists of a tearsheet from Spectrum (1968) to which Barker contributed two poems to the issue for which he was guest editor; an article by Evelyn Ames which appeared in the Literary Review; and clippings about Barker.

Arrangement of the Collection

Correspondence is arranged alphabetically.


Access Restrictions:

The majority of our archival and manuscript collections are housed offsite and require advanced notice for retrieval. Researchers are encouraged to contact us in advance concerning the collection material they wish to access for their research.

Use Restrictions:

Written permission must be obtained from SCRC and all relevant rights holders before publishing quotations, excerpts or images from any materials in this collection.

Subject Headings


Barker, Eric, 1905-1973.
Greene, Madelynne.
Jeffers, Robinson, 1887-1962.
Powys, John Cowper, 1872-1963.
Rose, Karen.


American poetry -- 20th century.
Poets, American -- 20th century.

Genres and Forms




Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Preferred citation for this material is as follows:

Eric Barker Papers,
Special Collections Research Center,
Syracuse University Libraries

Acquisition Information

Original collection, purchased, 1965. Karen Rose correspondence and 1 folder photographs, gift of Lauri Rose, 2023.

Table of Contents



Printed material