Decades ago I learned my 1982 poetry chapbook, “The Wisdom of Southern California,” had been added to Special Collections at Shields Library on the campus of The University of Southern California in Davis, CA.

(I’m guessing a Davis professor donated their copy, since I was living in SoCal at the time. UC Davis is located in Northern California.)

Today I did an online chat with a University librarian who sent me a reference link to the book’s location (see attachment 8773 below). My 90-page self-published book has been moved to the General Collection…still available after forty years!

(Shields Library is where I read Gertrude Stein’s “Tender Buttons” while working in the stacks circa 1970. Now I know my own poems remain in those same stacks.)

I occasionally stumble across other libraries & collections holding my work—mostly without my knowledge. For example, the script for my play “Never Force” is held in some East Coast library as part of a collection of works awarded Special Recognition by the American College Theatre Association.

Someone—also East Coast—recently sent me a form to release my PhD dissertation, “The San Francisco Mime Troupe in its Social Context,” for digitizing. Who knows what else is out there?

These examples are print records: many more of my writings can be found online by searching my name. I offer these personal examples to say that we *do* make a difference with our poetry…even when we don’t realize it.


Image credit:🇸🇮 Janko Ferlič

Lance Jencks has been writing poetry for fifty years. In the 1970s he earned an MFA in Playwriting and a PhD in Contemporary Theatre. In the 1980s he published his verse-based roman á clef, "The Wisdom of Southern California," then toured that region with a one-man show of the same name. Lance has been an advertising copywriter, a stock-and-bond broker, and the guy who hooks your car to the chain at the car wash. He lives today in Newport Beach, California, where he was recently featured in the epic bodysurfing movie "Dirty Old Wedge" on Amazon.