Queer Places:
118 Superior Ave, Decatur, GA 30030
Stanford University, Old Union 232, Stanford, CA 94305
Santa Barbara Cemetery Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara County, California, USA

William Edgar Bowers (March 2, 1924 – February 4, 2000) was an American poet who won the Bollingen Prize in Poetry in 1989.[1] He sometimes suffered from sneering suggestions about his homosexuality, and, despite being the most radical and egalitarian of men, stood accused of elitism. Throughout his career Bowers suffered from bouts of depression and alcoholism. Until 1965 he wrote in immaculately constructed rhymed stanzas, but changed to blank verse for the following decades. After the death of his aged mother, Bowers left his beach front house in Montecito, CA, and moved to San Francisco, where he enjoyed the love and support of an openly gay community.

William Edgar Bowers was born in Rome, Georgia, in 1924. During World War II, he joined the military and worked in counter-intelligence against Germany. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1950 and did graduate work in English literature at Stanford University. Bowers published several books of poetry, including The Form of Loss, For Louis Pasteur and The Astronomers. He won two fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and taught at Duke University and the University of California, Santa Barbara. In Bowers's obituary, the English poet Clive Wilmer wrote, "The title poem of his 1990 collection, For Louis Pasteur, announces his key loyalties. He confessed to celebrating every year the birthdays of three heroes: Pasteur, Mozart and Paul Valéry, all of whom suggest admiration for the life of the mind lived at its highest pitch — a concern for science and its social uses, and a love of art that is elegant, cerebral and orderly." Another aspect of Bowers is highlighted by Thom Gunn on the back of Bowers's Collected Poems: "Bowers started with youthful stoicism, but the feeling is now governed by an increasing acceptance of the physical world." That 'physical world' encompasses sex and love which are refracted through his restrained and lapidary lines. The effect of this contrast is striking: at once balanced and engaged; detached but acutely aware of sensual satisfactions. Bowers' style owes much to the artistic ethos of Yvor Winters, under whom Bowers studied at Stanford, but his achievement far surpasses that of his mentor, and his other students, such as J. V. Cunningham. He often wrote in rhyme, but also produced some of the finest blank verse in the English language. He wrote very little (his Collected Poems weighs in at 168 pages), due no doubt to the careful consideration behind every single line. But that care never forecloses on the wilder aspects of human existence — the needs, joys and violence. Bowers retired in 1991 and died in San Francisco in 2000.

My published books:

See my published books