Shneidre (Peter) papers Edit


Finding Aid Author
Rebecca Hirsch and Rajanabh Bahukhandi
Finding Aid Date
July 2010
Description Rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
The processing of this collection and the creation of this finding aid was funded by the generous support of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission.


  • 1974 – 2007 (Creation)


  • 20 Linear Feet (Whole)
    18 boxes

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  • Biographical Note

    Peter Shneidre, born in 1950, grew up in Claremont, California, and moved to Los Angeles to attend UCLA in the 1970s. In 1974, Shneidre began publishing small books of poetry and a year later he started Marilyn: The Magazine of Poems with his longtime friend Jeff Powers. After closing down Marilyn in 1978, Shneidre began to collect poetry for his first solo venture, the magazine Orpheus (1980-1983). In 1981, Shneidre began the influential small press, Illuminati Press, which published approximately 100 items over twelve years. Authors published by Illuminati Press include Viggo Mortensen, Charles Bukowski, Kate Braverman, Richard Meltzer and Lyn Lifshin, among others. Between 1985 and 1987, Shneidre also published three issues of his journal Nude Erections, which presented mild eroticism and disquisitions on love.

    While Shneidre was running Illuminati Press, he was also involved with the Los Angeles Poetry Theatre (1980-1981) and the organization of poetry readings in various Los Angeles venues including the Beverly Center, Al's Bar and the Ocean Park Branch Library in Santa Monica. The readings and panel discussions included both local and visiting poets. Illuminati Press did not publish any of Shneidre's works, but he was a poet published in many national periodicals, including the Paris Review, Rolling Stone, the Antioch Review and Shenandoah.

    After Illuminati Press ceased publication in 1994, Shneidre focused on his own poetry and began to write short fiction, essays and translations of Buddhist texts. He also began writing a series of folk operas on various religious leaders, including Jesus, Buddha and David. Shneidre was an active member of the Vedanta Society of Southern California with his wife, Anya Cronin, until he passed away in 2007.

  • Scope and Content

    Collection contains the records of the small press publisher Illuminati Press and the three poetry periodicals Peter Shneidre ran--Nude Erections, Orpheus and Marilyn. Records consist of correspondence, galleys, proofs, published works and administrative files. Also included are a few audiocassette recordings of poetry events and documents pertaining to the productions of the Los Angeles Poetry Theatre in the early 1980s.

  • Conditions Governing Access

    COLLECTION STORED OFF-SITE. Advance notice required for access.

  • Conditions Governing Use

    The collection contains published materials; researchers are reminded of the copyright restrictions imposed by publishers on reusing their articles and parts of books. It is the responsibility of researchers to acquire permission from publishers when reusing such materials. The copyright to unpublished materials belongs to the heirs of the writers. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from the repository and the copyright holder.

  • Preferred Citation

    [Box/folder# or item name], Peter Shneidre papers, Collection no. 0163, Special Collections, USC Libraries, University of Southern California

  • Abstract

    This collection contains the papers of Peter Shneidre, who ran the small poetry press Illuminati Press and who published a number of small poetry periodicals. Shneidre was also a nationally published poet and he corresponded with a number of poets about both business and personal matters between 1980 and his death in 2007. This collection also includes the financial records of Illuminati Press and the Press's publication files.

  • Acquisition

    Purchased from Peter Shneidre, circa 2004-2005.