Rice, Stan 1942-2002
RICE, Stan 1942-2002
PERSONAL: Born November 7, 1942, in Dallas, TX; died of brain cancer, December 9, 2002, in New Orleans, LA; son of Stanley Travis (a salesman) and Margaret (Cruse) Rice; married Anne O'Brien (a novelist), October 14, 1961; children: Michele (deceased), Christopher. Education: Attended North Texas State University, 1960-61; San Francisco State College (now University), B.A., 1963, M.A., 1965; also attended University of California—Berkeley, 1964. Hobbies and other interests: Painting.
CAREER: Writer and painter. San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, assistant professor, 1965-71, associate professor, 1971-76, professor of English and creative writing, 1977-88, chairman of creative writing department, 1980-88, assistant director of Poetry Center, 1966-74. Exhibited art work in one-man show at the Gallerie Simone Stern, New Orleans, March, 1992.
AWARDS, HONORS: Regional first prizes, Academy of American Poets, 1964, 1965; National Endowment for the Arts grants, 1965, 1972; Joseph Henry Jackson Award, San Francisco Foundation, 1968, for manuscript "Eye"; Edgar Allan Poe Award, Academy of American Poets, 1977, for Whiteboy.
Some Lamb (poems), Figures, 1975.
Whiteboy (poems), Mudra, 1976.
Singing Yet: New and Selected Poems, Knopf (New York, NY), 1992.
Body of Work (poems), Lost Roads, 1983.
Fear Itself: Poems, Knopf (New York, NY), 1995.
Paintings, Knopf (New York, NY), 1997.
The Radiance of Pigs: Poems, Knopf (New York, NY), 1999.
Red to the Rind, Knopf (New York, NY), 2002.
False Prophet, Knopf (New York, NY), 2003.
Poems have also appeared as chapter introductions in The Queen of the Damned, a novel by his wife, Anne Rice. Also author of radio poem, "Elegy," KPFA Pacifica Foundation.
SIDELIGHTS: Stan Rice was an award-winning poet and painter. His wife, Anne Rice, is the best-selling author of Interview with the Vampire and subsequent vampire chronicles; Rice's son, Christopher, is also a published novelist. The Rices met while in high school in Dallas, Texas. Married in 1961, they both enrolled at San Francisco State University. Eventually, he would take the position of head of the creative writing department at that institution. In 1988, Rice retired from teaching and moved with his family to New Orleans, Louisiana.
The Rices' first child, Michele, died of leukemia in 1972, when she was just six years old. Her death had a profound effect on both their lives, in fact acting as the catalyst that propelled them both into writing careers. Stan Rice's first published poetry collection, Some Lamb, was based on Michele's death. The tragedy also led Stan to encourage Anne to begin writing full time, which resulted in the completion of her first novel, Interview with the Vampire. Stan's second poetry collection, Whiteboy, was published in 1976 and earned the Edgar Allen Poe Award from the Academy of American Poets. In addition to his verse, Rice was also an accomplished artist and the owner of the Stan Rice Art Gallery in New Orleans. He had published one coffee-table book featuring his artwork, titled Paintings.
Reviewing the poet's collection Fear Itself, Donna Seaman of Booklist advised: "Rice writes about the fear of death, the sea, himself, violence, anger, the devil. . . . [He] takes us in unexpected directions as he catapults out of the ordinary into the philosophical. He's staunchly honest, blusteringly erotic (very male), and gruffly amusing." Discussing the collection Singing Yet: New and Selected Poems, a Publishers Weekly writer pointed out that the book is shaped by the death of Rice's daughter, even though that event had occurred many years before. Approaching the death, moving through it, and then beyond to gauge its impact, Rice "affirms the physicality of language and flesh. . . . This is serious stuff, urgent and original."
Rice once told CA: "I am committed to a vigorous and exciting poetry that can be read aloud, that is not contemptuous of its audience, and yet makes no compromise to mediocre taste or subject matter. I would bring every means to my disposal to achieve this public poetry: television, radio, you name it. Poetry is now either an excellent private art or a lousy public art—I'd very much like to make an excellent public art and claim again the ancient social role of poetry as public language at its best."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Book, July-August, 2002, Stephen Whited, review of Red to the Rind, p. 77.
Booklist, June 15, 1992, Frances Woods, review of Singing Yet: New and Selected Poems, p. 1803; November 15, 1995, Donna Seaman, review of Fear Itself, p. 533.
Library Journal, June 15, 1992, Ellen Kaufman, review of Singing Yet, p. 79; November 15, 1995, Graham Christian, review of Fear Itself, p. 79; May 15, 1999, Daniel L. Guillory, review of The Radiance of Pigs, p. 99; October 15, 2003, Doris Lynch, review of False Prophet, p. 73.
Publishers Weekly, May 11, 1992, review of SingingYet, p. 57; October 23, 1995, review of Fear Itself p. 65; April 26, 1999, review of The Radiance of Pigs, p. 76; September 1, 2003, review of False Prophet, p. 85.
Los Angeles Times, December 11, 2002, p. B10.
New York Times, December 11, 2002, p. C17.
Record (Bergen County, NJ), December 11, 2002, p. L9.
San Francisco Chronicle, December 13, 2002, p. A29.*