Howard McCord and the UTEP Library’s poetry collection

By on April 18, 2012

Poet and essayist Howard McCord was born in El Paso in 1932.  After serving in the Navy during the Korean War, he returned to El Paso and graduated from Texas Western College (now UTEP) in 1957.  He continued his academic career at the University of Utah, and then taught first at Washington State University and later at Bowling Green State University.  Despite his years away from El Paso, he has maintained close ties with the city and the university.  In 1988, he was named to the El Paso Herald-Post’s “Authors at the Pass” honor list, and in 1990, he received a “Golden Nugget” award from UTEP.  Howard McCord began a long relationship with the Special Collections Department at the UTEP Library in 1993 by donating several hundred poetry publications.  The collection was called the “McCord Poetry Collection” in honor of his parents, both graduates of the Texas College of Mines, and the donation was made in support of the new bilingual MFA program in Creative Writing.  Since then, Howard McCord has made numerous donations of books, papers, posters, or poetry broadsides to the Library.  The collection, housed on the sixth floor of the University Library, has grown to more than 1900 volumes.  The Library holds over thirty books by Howard McCord as well as several video recordings of interviews and readings.

 Howard McCord will speak at an event in the Library’s Blumberg Auditorium on Thursday, April 19, 2012 at 7:00 p.m. (April is National Poetry Month.)

For more information about Howard McCord, check out his web site at or the oral history interview at

Claudia Rivers is the head of the C.L. Sonnichsen Special Collections Department of the UTEP Library. She earned both her BA and MLIS degrees at the University of Texas at Austin, and worked at the Benson Latin American Collection there before coming to El Paso in 1992. Her interests include the history of the Southwest and Mexico, ancient Meso-America, and detective fiction.