Archiving Jim Gustafson

Jim Gustafson (1949-1996) was a renowned Detroit poet and he was also my uncle. I’m collecting and cataloging his archive (some highlights here) and I’ve co-edited a manuscript of his work with his literary executors Ken Mikolowski, Michelle Perron, and Andrei Codrescu. I have a couple of videos up on this channel, and will try to keep this page updates for Gusto news. His papers are at the Special Collections Research Center now, and I’m happy to hear from folks who are interested in his work.

March 2019: The Detroit Metro Times let me write about Jim again, this time about the event known as The Gustafson Exit: Trying to piece together the story of how he crashed (literally) the Alternative Press’ 30th anniversary reading at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

February 2019: The Special Collections Library at U-M is celebrating 50 years of Ken and Ann Mikolowski’s Alternative Press with an exhibit curated by archivist Kristen Greive in the Hatcher Graduate Library, called Free Poems and Functional Art: 50 Years of the Alternative Press. Ken and Ann published a real who’s who of American poetry on gorgeous letterpress broadsides, postcards, books and more, and they were great friends of Jim’s. Two pieces of Jim’s are included in the exhibit, up til June 2019.

2018: A note from Jim Gustafson to Bill Berkson was included in the 10th issue of Cruel Garters, a poetry zine published by Glen Armstrong and Ben Bennet-Carpenter. Great stuff, check em out!

Some of Jim’s poems will be featured in I Just Wanna Testify: Poems about Detroit’s Music edited by M. L. Liebler and Jim Daniels (M.S.U. Press).

January 2018: It was great fun to read Jim’s poems and my own writing at the Waterford Township Public Library, with poets Ken Mikolowski and Glen Armstrong.

Spring 2017: I produced a short video combining archival material with audio of Jim reading at the LINES Poetry Series at the Detroit Institute of Art in 1985.

Spring 2017: I wrote about Jim’s love of baseball for the opening day issue of the Detroit Metro Times.

2015: Jim’s poem, “Genius for Despair,” found in his papers and thought to be previously unpublished, was featured in Cruel Garters No. 6.

2015: It was my honor to read Jim Gustafson’s work at the Woodward Line poetry series at the Scarab Club in Detroit.