Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide

By Emmanuel S. Nelson | Go to book overview

JONATHAN WILLIAMS (1929–)

Thomas L. Long


BIOGRAPHY

Jonathan Chamberlain Williams was born on March 8, 1929, in Asheville, North Carolina, to Thomas Benjamin (“T. Ben”) and Georgette Chamberlain Williams. Williams’s ancestors had settled in western North Carolina in the late eighteenth century, and his family owned a homestead in Highlands, where the poet and his partner, Thomas Meyer, still live. A profound sense of place and people in hill country and sense of English ancestry would later characterize Williams’s poetry. Between 1941 and 1947 he attended St. Albans School, an exclusive Episcopal boarding academy in Washington, D.C.

In his young adulthood Williams pursued a vagrant educational career. He studied art history for two years at Princeton University (1947–1949), painting with Karl Knaths at the Phillips Memorial Gallery (now the Phillips Collection) in Washington (1949), and etching and engraving with Stanley William Hayter at New York’s Atelier 17 (1949–1950). From 1950 to 1951 he attended the Chicago Institute of Design, where he had hoped to study photography with Harry Callahan but was not able to be enrolled in his course. However, when he learned that Callahan, along with photographer Aaron Siskind and artist Ben Shahn, would be teaching in the 1951 summer session at Black Mountain College, the experimental liberal arts college near his family home, Williams traveled there, but not before going to San Francisco to see poets Kenneth Rexroth and Robert Duncan* and novelist Henry Miller, where he produced his first Jargon Press book, a broadside of one of his poems and an engraving by David Ruff. This fascination with the visual and the verbal would continue to characterize his publications.

Black Mountain College, near Asheville, was founded in 1933 by a breakaway group of faculty from Rollins College, Florida; they were known for their inno-

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Contemporary Gay American Poets and Playwrights: An A-to-Z Guide
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • Edward Albee (1928–) 1
  • Jeff Baron (1952–) 11
  • Jeffery Beam (1953–) 19
  • David Bergman (1950–) 25
  • Alan Bowne (1945–1989) 29
  • Donald Britton (1951–1994) 38
  • James Broughton (1913–1999) 43
  • Bibliography 50
  • Victor Bumbalo (1946–) 54
  • Charles Busch (1954–) 61
  • Leo F. Cabranes-Grant (1960–) 69
  • Robert Chesley (1943–1990) 74
  • Justin Chin (1969–) 82
  • Alfred Corn (1943–) 87
  • Mart Crowley (1935–) 93
  • Melvin Dixon (1950–1992) 101
  • Bibliography 106
  • Tim Dlugos (1950–1990) 108
  • Bibliography 116
  • Mark Doty (1953–) 117
  • Bibliography 123
  • David Drake (1963–) 125
  • Robert Duncan (1919–1988) 130
  • Christopher Durang (1949–) 141
  • Edward Field (1924–) 147
  • Harvey Fierstein (1954–) 153
  • William Finn (1952–) 162
  • Kenny Fries (1960–) 171
  • Allen Ginsberg (1926–1997) 178
  • Thom Gunn (1929–) 188
  • Bibliography 196
  • Essex Hemphill (1957–1995) 198
  • William M. Hoffman (1939–) 205
  • Richard Howard (1929–) 212
  • Bibliography 215
  • Maurice Kenny (1929–) 217
  • Bibliography 220
  • Rudy Kikel (1943–) 222
  • Harry Kondoleon (1955–1994) 230
  • Bibliography 234
  • Larry Kramer (1935–) 236
  • Tony Kushner (1956–) 246
  • Michael Lassell (1947–) 260
  • Timothy Liu (1965–) 268
  • Craig Lucas (1951–) 272
  • Charles Ludlam (1943–1987) 280
  • J.D. Mcclatchy (1945–) 288
  • Bibliography 291
  • Terrence Mcnally (1939–) 293
  • Bibliography 307
  • Scott Mcpherson (1959–1992) 309
  • James Merrill (1926–1995) 316
  • Paul Monette (1945–1995) 323
  • Frank O’hara (1926–1966) 334
  • Bibliography 340
  • Robert O’hara (1970–) 342
  • Peter Parnell (1953–) 349
  • Carl Phillips (1959–) 357
  • Kenneth Pobo (1954–) 363
  • D.A. Powell (1963–) 369
  • Bibliography 376
  • Guillermo Reyes (1962–) 377
  • Bibliography 382
  • Assotto Saint (yves FranÇois Lubin) (1957–1994) 383
  • Bibliography 387
  • F. Allen Sawyer (1957–) 388
  • Bibliography 392
  • James Schuyler (1923–1991) 393
  • Reginald Shepherd (1963–) 398
  • Bibliography 405
  • Martin Sherman (1938–) 406
  • Aaron Shurin (1947–) 412
  • David Trinidad (1953–) 421
  • Gore Vidal (1925–) 427
  • Bibliography 435
  • Jonathan Williams (1929–) 438
  • Doric Wilson (1939–) 444
  • Lanford Wilson (1937–) 451
  • Chay Yew (1966–) 461
  • Selected Bibliography 467
  • Index 469
  • About the Contributors 477
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