MacGowan, Christopher 1948-
MacGowan, Christopher 1948-
(Christopher John MacGowan)
Born August 6, 1948, in London, England; son of James Oliver Patrick and Patricia MacGowan. Ethnicity: "White." Education: King's College, Cambridge, B.A. (with honors), 1976; doctoral study at Pennsylvania State University, 1976-77; Princeton University, M.A., 1980, Ph.D., 1983.
Office—Department of English, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187.
Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, editorial assistant, "The Writings of Henry D. Thoreau," 1981-83; fundraiser in New York, NY, 1983-84; College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA, assistant professor, 1984-90, associate professor, 1990-96, professor of English and chair of department, 1996—.
Modern Language Association of America, William Carlos Williams Society (former president), Southern Modern Language Association, TEXT.
Grants from National Endowment for the Humanities, 1986 and 1990-91.
Twentieth-Century American Poetry, Blackwell (Maldon, MA), 2004.
Contributor of articles and reviews to periodicals.
The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, New Directions (New York, NY), Volume I (with A. Walton Litz): 1909-1939, 1986, Volume II: 1939-1962, 1988.
William Carlos Williams, Paterson, New Directions (New York, NY), 1992.
The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams, New Directions (New York, NY), 1998.
William Carlos Williams (selected poems), Sterling (New York, NY), 2003.
Poetry for Young People: William Carlos Williams, illustrated by Robert Crockett, Sterling (New York, NY), 2004.
Christopher MacGowan is a professor of English at the College of William and Mary. His research interests include modern poetry, modernism, and the works of William Carlos Williams. In Twentieth-Century American Poetry, for example, MacGowan "provides a comprehensive survey" of the century's prominent poets and best-known poems, noted Jaime Anderson in the Library Journal. MacGowan covers such notables as T.S. Eliot, Carl Sandburg, Anne Sexton, and Elizabeth Bishop, providing a "quick understanding of a poet's life, influence, and major works," Anderson commented.
The majority of MacGowan's books, however, deal with the works of poet William Carlos Williams. The two-volume The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams collects all of Williams' works. The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams contains a collection of letters and correspondence between the two noted poets. The letters show how Levertov and Williams began corresponding when she was a young, upcoming poet in her twenties and he was a literary veteran in his sixties. The correspondence also shows the profound effect that Levertov's comments and criticism had on Williams' works, and how he became one of her most ardent supporters in the field. A Publishers Weekly contributor commented that "a life-enhancing experience is reading this charming and affectionate correspondence."
Poetry for Young People: William Carlos Williams offers a collection of thirty-one "deceptively simple imagist poems" specifically intended to be useful and accessible to younger readers, noted Booklist reviewer John Peters. The book includes a selection from Williams's larger work, Paterson, as well as observations of natural phenomena such as the weather and the passing of the seasons; personal commentaries; and "vivid evocations" of a variety of everyday objects, Peters stated. Peters concluded that the volume should help bring Williams's poetry, with its "simple language and clear imagery," to a wider audience of young poetry readers.
MacGowan told CA: "I have lived in the United States since 1976. I have taught American literature, film studies, and contemporary poetry at the College of William and Mary since 1984. I left school at the age of fifteen to support myself financially, and I started my college education at twenty-five, having spent ten years at assorted jobs and assorted reading."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2004, review of Poetry for Young People: William Carlos Williams, p. 1149.
Library Journal, April 15, 2004, Jaime Anderson, review of Twentieth-Century American Poetry, p. 85.
New Republic, April 20, 1987, Donald Davie, review of The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume 1: 1909-1939, p. 34.
New York Times Book Review, January 4, 1987, Robert Pinsky, review of The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume 1: 1909-1939, p. 3.
Publishers Weekly, October 26, 1992, review of Paterson, p. 60; October 19, 1998, review of The Letters of Denise Levertov and William Carlos Williams, p. 66; February 9, 2004, review of Poetry for Young People, p. 84.
Times Literary Supplement, February 19, 1988, Thom Gunn, review of The Collected Poems of William Carlos Williams, Volume 1: 1909-1939, p. 179.
College of William and Mary Web site,http://www.wm.edu/ (May 1, 2006), biography of Christopher MacGowan.