Mason, David 1954–
MASON, David 1954–
PERSONAL: Born December 11, 1954, in Bellingham, WA; son of James Cameron (a pediatrician) and Evelyn (a professor of psychology; maiden name, Peterson) Mason; married Jonna Heinrich, April, 1978 (divorced, 1987); married Anne Lennox (a photographer), October 16, 1988; children: (second marriage) Darcy (stepdaughter). Education: Colorado College, B.A., 1978; University of Rochester, M.A., 1986, Ph.D., 1989. Politics: Independent. Religion: Agnostic.
CAREER: Moorhead State University, Moorhead, MN, began as assistant professor, became associate professor of English, 1989–98; Colorado College, Colorado Springs, assistant professor, 1998–2000, associate professor of English, 2000–. Teacher at Wesleyan Writers Conference, West Chester Conference, and Kerry International Summer School. Poets' Prize committee, president, 1996–2000.
AWARDS, HONORS: Fellowship from Wesleyan University, 1985; grants from Moorehead State University, 1990, 1992, 1993, 1995; Nicholas Roerich Prize, 1991; named Minnesota Professor of the Year, 1994; Alice Fay Di Castagnola Prize, Poetry Society of America, 1994; fellowship from Minnesota State Arts Board, 1995; Fulbright fellow in Greece, 1997; honorary doctorate, Colorado College, 1997.
The Buried Houses (poems), Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 1991.
(With Mark Jarman) Rebel Angels: Twenty-Five Poets of the New Formalism, Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 1996.
The Country I Remember (poems), Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 1996.
The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry: Essays and Reviews, Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 2000.
(Editor, with Dana Gioia and Meg Schoerke) Twentieth Century American Poetics: Poets on the Art of Poetry, McGraw-Hill (Boston, MA), 2004.
(Editor, with Dana Gioia and Meg Schoerke) Twentieth Century American Poetry, McGraw-Hill (Boston, MA), 2004.
Arrivals (poems), Story Line Press (Ashland, OR), 2004.
(Editor, with Sandra McNew) Poems from the Baca Grande: A Tenth Anniversary Celebration of Poetry West at the Baca, Hulbert Center Press (Colorado Springs, CO), 2004.
Western Wind: An Introduction to Poetry, 5th edition, McGraw-Hill (Boston, MA), 2006.
Contributor of essays, stories, poems, translations, and reviews to journals, including Hudson Review, Grand Street, Poetry, Southern Review, Sewanee Review and New Criterion.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A memoir of Greece; translating the work of Greek poet Yiorgos Chouliaras; a book of stories; a collection of poems.
SIDELIGHTS: David Mason's book The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry: Essays and Reviews is a collection of "remarkably non-effete and pro-populist essays on contemporary poetry," wrote a contributor to Kirkus Reviews. Mason is especially fond of the poetry of the United States, Ireland, and the West Indies. In his book, he considers the poet's biography and its impact on the writer's work. His subjects range from Alfred Tennyson and Herman Melville, Seamus Heaney, and Robert Frost, to more contemporary practitioners such as Anne Sexton, John Haines, and Thomas McGrath. The result is "a refreshingly new and iconoclastic voice seeking to rescue poetry from its status as an obscure, narcissistic art form," remarked the Kirkus Reviews writer. Mason's opinions are sometimes strongly stated and controversial. He seems to ignore or reject the work of many respected modern poets, but for those willing to read with an open mind, there is "much in this remarkable book which will both instruct and delight," according to Jack Foley in Alsop Review. "In particular, you will find a sense of 'life' in it which is rare in any book, let alone a book of criticism." Foley advised that "his book is not likely to demolish the reputations of the people it ignores or attacks," yet, the critic concluded: "But oh, what a breath of fresh air it is!"
In 2004, Mason produced his third collection of poems, Arrivals. Booklist reviewer Ray Olson called the collection a "sad, vivid, intelligent work."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, January 1, 2000, Ray Olson, review of The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry: Essays and Reviews, p. 862; May 1, 2004, Ray Olson, review of Arrivals, p. 1538.
Kirkus Reviews, November 1, 1999, review of The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, p. 1721.
Library Journal, December, 1999, review of The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, p. 133.
Poetry, February, 2005, Brian Phillips, review of Arrivals, p. 400.
Sewanee Review, spring, 1999, review of The Country I Remember, p. 289; winter, 2001, review of The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry, p. R2.
Alsop Review, http://www.alsopreview.com/ (February 11, 2003), Jack Foley, review of The Poetry of Life and the Life of Poetry.