Merger results in new law
and religion center

The Law and Religion Program will merge with the Center for the Interdisciplinary Study of Religion next fall. The new Center for the Study of Law and Religion will be directed by Jonas Robitscher Professor of Law and Ethics John Witte and co-directed by Professor Frank Alexander.

Brumley Chair in Pediatrics is also new department chair

Barbara Stoll, a pediatrician who specializes in neonatal infectious diseases, has been named chair of the Department of Pediatrics, medical director of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and the Dr. George W. Brumley Jr. Chair in Pediatrics, newly established in honor of Brumley, who died last year with several members of his family in a plane crash in Kenya.

CDC grant to Rollins School
of Public Health

The Rollins School of Public Health has been awarded $6.3 million from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to establish a Prevention Research Center. The center will focus on improving the lifestyles and health of residents in 33 southwest Georgia counties by helping them to reduce smoking and obesity, and increase physical exercise.














































































































Bibliophile Raymond Danowski


Literary Largesse

They came to Emory in four hulking sea-cargo containers, rumbling into the Briarcliff Campus on tractor trailers that looked fit to deliver entire floors of furniture or industrial equipment.

Instead, the trucks held books—more than fifty thousand of them, in fact. Books in boxes, books in crates, books in wooden tea chests that still had bits of tea leaves crushed in the bottom. The four massive shipments from a warehouse in Geneva, Switzerland, brought Emory what is thought to be the largest collection of poetry ever amassed by a private collector, recently given to the University by bibliophile Raymond Danowski.

“The Danowski collection makes Emory one of the true centers for poetry in the world,” says Ron Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English, one of a handful at Emory who have been in discussions with Danowski about the agreement since 1998. “There has been no collection like it built by a private individual in the past century–it is truly unique. Being a universal collection of twentieth-century poetry in English, it lifts us above the strength of our already strong collections of English and Irish materials and makes us an international collection. It really puts us on a new plateau.”

Danowski, a former London art dealer who now lives in South Africa, acquired the collection over some thirty years, forming the non-profit Poets’ Trust to oversee it. Eventually the library grew so large that no single buyer could afford it, so he began searching for a proper home, a place where the books could be freed from storage and held, touched, and read by lovers of poetry.

Although it will take years to catalogue the volumes, a number of gems already have been unpacked to be displayed and celebrated. Highlights include a first edition of Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass (1855), the likes of which recently sold at Christie’s for $160,000; T.S. Eliot’s early Poems (1919), published and hand-printed by Virginia and Leonard Woolf; a rare first printing of Allen Ginsberg’s Howl and Other Poems (1956) with an introduction by William Carlos Williams; one of thirteen known copies of W. H. Auden’s Poems (1928), privately printed by fellow poet Stephen Spender during a school holiday and bearing corrections in Auden’s hand; and William Carlos Williams’ first collection, Poems (1909), one of the most rare and coveted works of twentieth-century literature. The poems were privately printed and a few sold at a local stationery store, but most were destroyed in a fire and only eleven are thought to remain; the Danowski copy is inscribed by Williams to his brother.

“I believe that a great city needs a great library, and Emory is well on its way to becoming that,” says Steve Enniss, director of special collections and archives. “With acquisitions such as this, Emory serves a broad research community both national and international. It’s one of the ways libraries fulfill a mission that is closely aligned with the University’s own.”

Ennis, Schuchard, former University President William M. Chace, former interim Provost Woody Hunter, Vice Provost for Libraries Linda Matthews, and former Vice Provost Joan Gotwals all played a role in bringing the Raymond Danowski Poetry Library to Emory, a process that took place over several years at meetings in Atlanta, New York, London, and Geneva. Schuchard first heard of Danowski and the collection in 1996, around the same time a number of others in the field began telling Danowski he should take a close look at Emory’s libraries and literature program when considering a home for his books of poetry.

“One thing that became very compelling for Raymond is that we are essentially joining our already very strong archives with these books–it was like two halves of the same whole,” Enniss says. “The greatest value of the library is really in its breadth and depth. Literally, whole chapters of the literary history of our time will be written in the Woodruff Library.”

Plans are already underway for a new facility to house Emory’s Special Collections and Archives, and the goal is to keep the collection accessible to students, faculty, and visiting scholars.

“This was always meant to be a comprehensive research library,” Danowski says. “Emory has a quality I really value. The students here have a kind of natural ease in the way they move about the library and move about Emory. It’s very special. It was a natural–this just felt like the right home for it. It’s a library in my mind that has now become real.”–P.P.P.

Welcoming the written word

The University hailed the Danowski Collection with a celebration in August, at which Dana Gioia, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts and a poet and critic in his own right, read works of poetry.

“I think that as long as we use words to describe our own existence to one another, to ourselves, then poetry will remain an essential art,” Gioia said. “It remains, even in the twenty-first century–in the day of iPods, e-mails, and cell phones–the most concise, memorable, and expressive way we have of using words. And I do think even in this electronic era, when the written word now competes with a variety of other media, that poetry, which predates written language, remains startlingly contemporary for us and becomes one of the genuine and potent ways that we link ourselves to the past.”

One of the poems Gioia shared was a work of his own entitled “Words,” a partial answer to a question Gioia has become famous for asking: Can poetry matter?

If Raymond Danowski’s collection is any indication, it can indeed.


The world does not need words. It articulates itself

in sunlight, leaves, and shadows. The stones on the path

are no less real for lying uncatalogued and uncounted.

The fluent leaves speak only the dialect of pure being.

The kiss is still fully itself though no words were spoken.

And one word transforms it into something less or other–

illicit, chaste, perfunctory, conjugal, covert.

Even calling it a kiss betrays the fluster of hands

glancing the skin or gripping a shoulder, the slow

arching of neck or knee, the silent touching of tongues.

Yet the stones remain less real to those who cannot

name them, or read the mute syllables graven in silica.

To see a red stone is less than seeing it as jasper–

metamorphic quartz, cousin to the flint the Kiowa

carved as arrowheads. To name is to know and remember.

The sunlight needs no praise piercing the rainclouds,

painting the rocks and leaves with light, then dissolving

each lucent droplet back into the clouds that engendered it.

The daylight needs no praise, and so we praise it always–

greater than ourselves and all the airy words we summon.


From Interrogations at Noon by Dana Gioia (Graywolf Press), used by permission




© 2005 Emory University