Collins, Richard (Wayne) 1952-
COLLINS, Richard (Wayne) 1952-
PERSONAL: Born September 4, 1952, in Eugene, OR; son of Alva Corder (an automotive mechanic) and Reba Voneta (a homemaker; maiden name, Tannehill) Collins; married Leigh Frances Guillory, June 6, 1992; children: Cyleste Cassandra, Isabel Ainsley. Education: Attended Glendale Community College, 1975, Los Angeles Valley College, 1975, and California State University, Northridge, 1975-76; University of Oregon, B.A. (summa cum laude), 1976; University of California, Irvine, M.A., 1979, Ph.D., 1984. Hobbies and other interests: Fencing, T'ai Chi.
CAREER: Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, instructor in English, 1982-84; University of Wales, University College of Swansea, Leverhulme lecturer in American studies, 1984-85; Louisiana State University, assistant professor of English, 1985-92; University of Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania, Fulbright senior lecturer in American literature, 1992-93; University of Timisoara, Timisoara, Romania, Fulbright senior lecturer in American literature, 1993-94; American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, associate professor of English, 1995-97; Xavier University of Louisiana, New Orleans, beginning in 1997, currently Rosa-Mary Endowed Professor of English. Southern University, Baton Rouge, visiting assistant professor, 1988; Center for Independent Journalism, Bucharest, visiting lecturer, 1995. Judge of fiction competitions.
MEMBER: Phi Beta Kappa, New Orleans Zen Temple.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fulbright grant for England, 1980-81.
Foolscape (novel), Perivale (Van Nuys, CA), 1983.
This Degradation (poetry chapbook), New Sins Press (Pittsburgh, PA), 1992.
(Translator with Cristina Poenaru) Cornel Radu Constantinescu, Ilfoveanu, Funda ia Anastasia (Bucharest, Romania), 1992.
(Translator and language supervisor) Bucharest in the1920s-1940s: Between Avant-Garde and Modernism, Editura Simetria, Union of Romanian Architects (Bucharest, Romania), 1994.
(Translator with Andrei Banta) Ioan Flora, Cincizeci de romane i alte utopii/Fifty Novels and Other Utopias, Editura Eminescu (Bucharest, Romania), 1996.
John Fante: A Literary Portrait, Guernica Editions (Toronto, Ontario), 2000.
Also contributor to John Fante: A Critical Gathering, edited by Stephen Cooper and David Fine, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1999; Songs of the Reconstruction South: Building a Literary Louisiana, 1865-1945, edited by Suzanne Disheroon Green and Lisa Abney, Greenwood Publishing (Westport, CT), 2002; Reality's Dark Light: The Sensational Wilkie Collins, edited by Don Richard Cox and Maria K. Bachman, University of Tennessee Press (Knoxville, TN), 2003; and Critical Essays on Robert Firbank, English Novelist, 1886-1926, edited by David Malcolm, Edwin Mellen Press (Lewiston, NY), 2004.
Work represented in anthologies, including Thus Spake the Corpse: An Exquisite Corpse Reader, 1988-1998, Volume II, edited by Andrei Codrescu and Laura Rosenthal, Black Sparrow Press (Santa Rosa, CA), 2000. Author of "Reading in the Raw" (poetry column), in Exquisite Corpse online, 2000—. Contributor of essays, fiction, poems, articles, translations, and reviews to periodicals, including Fiction International, Asylum, Hogtown Creek Review, Blue Violin, Phoebe, Aethlon, British and American Studies Journal, and Studies in the Humanities. American Zen Association of Books, editor, 2001—; Here & Now: Newsletter of the American Zen Association and New Orleans Zen Temple, editor, 2001—; Xavier Review, editor, 2003—, associate editor, 2000—, guest editor, 2000-01; ARC—Litere Arte, guest editor, 1993; Henry James Review, assistant editor, 1982-84.
SIDELIGHTS: Richard Collins told CA: "My parents arrived in California during the great depression in true Grapes of Wrath fashion from the Missouri Ozarks and Oklahoma. Called 'pukes' and 'okies,' they had a lot of stories to tell, and I listened. My father likes to say that when I was growing up I never said much, but tended to hang close to the adults, listening. One day he asked me why I never said much. 'Because I don't have any stories to tell,' I said. Since then I have not only told some of my parents' stories, like 'A Jar of Baby Snakes,' but also some of my own.
"Most of my work, though, is more in the European tradition of 'essayism' than American storytelling. I have spent some eight years abroad, living in such cities as London and Swansea, and such countries as Romania and Bulgaria, with extensive travel in Greece and Eastern Europe. My earliest literary influences were Knut Hamsun, Hermann Hesse, Raymond Queneau, Samuel Beckett, and Henry Miller. I wrote my doctoral dissertation on the image of the hermaphrodite in Victorian art and literature, with an emphasis on figures like Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Walter Pater, and Aubrey Beardsley, who worked in more than one art or genre and combined a creative with a critical sensibility. My book John Fante: A Literary Portrait is a return to my Los Angeles roots that combines criticism and biography to correct the neglect of this Italian-American novelist who, in Europe, is considered an American master.
"During my five years in Eastern Europe, from 1992-97, I translated the works of Romanian poets Nichita Stanescu, Geo Dumitrescu, Gellu Naum, and Ioan Flora, and developed my ideas on the essay as a 'parodic' form of self-actualizing discourse, worked out in 'Caricatures Abroad: A Dialogical Memoir,' 1999.
"Settling in New Orleans in 1997 and editing the Xavier Review have turned my current interests in the direction of a deepening interest in contemporary southern literature and its connections to world literature. Since 2001, my work has been influenced by Zen practice."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Beat Scene, September, 2000, Kevin Ring, review of John Fante: A Literary Portrait.
Gambit Weekly, August 10, 1999, Julia Kamysz Lane, "An American Tale: Br'er Rabbit," pp. 41-44.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, April 16, 2000, Fred Gardaphe, review of John Fante, p. 22.
Midwest Quarterly, July, 2000, Leigh Collins, "Ceia Lume: The Romanian Way of Death."