Amy Gerstler letter and postcards to Tom Clark

Biographical and Historical Notes

Amy Gerstler (1956- )

Amy Gerstler (1956-) is an American poet and writer who won the National Book Critics Circle Award for her volume of poetry, Bitter Angel in 1991. Her poetry book Medicine was a finalist for the Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award in 2000.

Gerstler received her Master of Fine Arts in nonfiction from Vermont's Bennington College in 2000, where she has since intermittently taught in the Bennington Writing Seminars program. She has additionally served on the faculty of various other institutions in professional and creative writing programs. In addition to several poetry volumes and works of fiction, Gerstler has written non-fiction journal articles, art reviews, and book reviews including publications in Art Forum and Los Angeles Times.


"Amy Gerstler." The Writers Directory. Detroit: St. James Press, 2013 (reproduced in Gale Biography in Context). http:/ (accessed March 17, 2014).

"Amy Gerstler." Contemporary Authors Online (reproduced in Gale Biography in Context). http:/ (accessed March 17, 2014).

Gerstler, Amy. "At the Back of a Closet, Two Dresses Converse." The American Poetry Review July-Aug. 2008: 17 (reproduced in Gale Biography in Context). http:/ (accessed March 17, 2014).

"Amy Gerstler." Academy of American Poets. (accessed March 17, 2014).

Scope and Content Note

This small collection consists of two postcards, a letter, and a miniature book from Amy Gerstler to American poet Tom Clark (1941-) between 1982 and 1988, providing him news about their mutual acquaintances, and asking him about his work and family.

The letters and postcards present Gerstler and Clark’s relationship as friends and fellow poets. Gerstler acknowledges Clark’s having written a quote for her most recent publication and inquires of his wife and daughter. She also mentions she would soon purchase Clark’s biography on Kerouac. In addition to updating Clark on the activities of a mutual publisher acquaintance, Gerstler indicates she is considering teaching a writing seminar for the first time and asks Clark for advice on the matter. Included in the collection is a copy of Gerstler's Primitive Man, a miniature book of fiction, which was sent with the 1988 letter to Clark.

Gerstler also mentions small list of poetic and artistic figures with whom the two were familiar, including poets Eileen Myles, James Schuyler, Bob Flanagan, and David Trinidad; writer/musician Jack Skelley; and publisher Michael Sheppard.