Begun in 2005 and housed in the Special Collections and Archives Department of the James B. Duke Library, the Poetry Archives has expanded each year. Among the most extensively collected authors are Gilbert Allen, Claire Bateman, Phebe Davidson, Kurtis Lamkin, and Ronald Moran. Poets' published works are shelved in the Special Collections and Archives reading room, while manuscripts can be viewed upon request.
Beyond serving as a repository for an important and ever-expanding part of Southern literature, the Archives also provides a gateway for university students. Furman professors draw on the resources made available in Special Collections to integrate South Carolina poetry into the curricula. The collection acquaints students with what lies behind the published work of a poet; the manuscripts, correspondence and ephemeral materials collected in the Archives offer a glimpse into the construction and publication of poetry, not simply the finished poem.
Though the South Carolina Poetry Archives highlight 20th and 21st century South Carolina poets, a small collection of 19th century South Carolina poetry is also maintained at Furman University as a historical companion to the Archives. This collection enhances the Archives' use as a teaching tool. In addition, it serves as a reminder of the legacy of William Gilmore Simms, the 19th century South Carolina poet, novelist, and historian for whom our research room is named.