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Archives and Creative Writing

This guide offers resources, prompts, and readings about how to use archival materials for creative writing projects.

Below is a list of interviews, essays, journal articles, and books that touch on the interconnectedness of creative writing and archives.

Betts, V. (2021). “Stories from the classroom: Creative writing with archives.” NC State University Libraries. 


Chow, A. (2019). “Uses of archives as creative activity: What does it mean to be creative within the archive and library profession?” Art Libraries Journal, 44(1), 13-18. doi:10.1017/alj.2018.37 


Dean, C. M. and Hughes, K. (2019). “Using archives and special collections in creative writing research.” Library and Learning Services, York St. John University. 


Fraser, A. (2019). “2019 riverrun summer research program.” University at Buffalo Libraries News Center.


Harrington, J (2011). “Docupoetry and archive desire.” 



Kaufman, R. (2021). “Historical traces in archival poetry.” Journal of the History of Ideas Blog.


Lahman, M. K. E., & Richard, V. M. (2014). Appropriated Poetry: Archival Poetry in Research. Qualitative Inquiry, 20(3), 344–355. 


Metres, P. (2021). “Poetry as untelling: A conversation with M. NourbeSe Philip.” World Literature Today. 


Ripatrazone, N. (2018). “On poetry and archiving.” The Millions.


Romain, M. (2015). “The Tragedy of MacNolia Cox.” Wednesday Journal of Oak Park and River Forest. 


Sharpe, J. (2014). “The archive and affective memory in M. Nourbese Philip's Zong!” Interventions, 16(4), 465-482. DOI: 10.1080/1369801X.2013.816079


Sharpe, J. (2020). Immaterial Archives : An African Diaspora Poetics of Loss. Northwestern University Press. ProQuest Ebook Central,


Taylor, R. X., & Jordan-Baker, C. (2019). ““Fictional Biographies”: creative writing and the archive.” Archives & Records, 40(2), 198–212.


University of Westminster Archive Services (2016). “Finding and using archives for creative writing.” 

Wahl, E. R. and Pierce, P. (2021). "How creative writers can work with archivists: A crash course in cooperation and perspectives," Journal of Creative Writing Studies, 6(1).