With this exhibit, the University of Arizona Poetry Center celebrates the extraordinary life’s work and historically significant archives of Marie J. Kuda. Marie Jayne Kuda (b. 1939) is a Chicago-area writer, historian, scholar, activist and publisher. Most known for her important role as a chronicler of LGBTQ history and culture, she is also an important cultural creator. Kuda founded Womanpress, an independent press publishing lesbian feminist voices. She also conceived and organized the Lesbian Writers Conferences held in Chicago from 1974 to 1978—the first conferences devoted to lesbian feminist writing.
Throughout her life, Kuda has been a literary mentor to lesbian and feminist writers. She compiled a lifelong personal collection of books, chapbooks, pamphlets, ephemera, and historical materials relating to lesbian and feminist writers and activism, as well as to Chicago’s literary history. Materials from the Marie J. Kuda Archives are now held by the Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction (Bloomington, Indiana), among other institutions. In 2013, the University of Arizona Poetry Center was fortunate to receive a generous donation of materials related to lesbian and feminist poetry from the Marie J. Kuda Archives.
This exhibit, curated by Wendy Burk, was originally presented in the Jeremy Ingalls Gallery of the University of Arizona Poetry Center from May 19 to July 30, 2014.