Cyrus Cassells has wide-ranging interests: the author of four books of poetry, he is also an actor and translator and is writing his first novel. He travels extensively and speaks four languages. He is currently a professor of English at Texas State University at San Marcos.
Cassells was born May 16, 1957, in Dover, Delaware, and was raised in Southern California. His mother was a tutor and homemaker, and his father was a graduate of West Point and career military officer who pursued a master’s degree in engineering at the University of Washington and became an aerospace engineer. Cassells’s childhood was shaped by the civil rights movement’s desegregation of institutions such as the military and the public schools, and a home environment that nurtured the arts and reading. His father’s stories of travel fueled Cassells’s interest in other countries and inculcated in him a global perspective; early exposure to Spanish initiated a lifelong multilinguality that enabled his transnationalism, leading to his fluency in Spanish, Italian, and French. A study-abroad year in Japan in 1978 contributed another dimension to his international interests and provided the experiences undergirding the third section of his first book of poetry, The Mud Actor (1982). Cassells graduated from Stanford University with a BA in 1979; he studied poetry with Linda Gregerson and also trained extensively in the drama department. He was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts, in 1982–83; while he was there, The Mud Actor was named a 1982 National Poetry Series selection. During this time he met Terry Pitzner, who was his partner for a decade; in 1986 they moved to Boston, where Cassells worked on translations from the Catalan of Salvador Espriu, Catalonia’s main candidate for the Nobel Prize in Literature. Cassells’s teaching career began in 1987. He taught, variously, at Chamberlayne Junior College, College of the Holy Cross, Assumption College, Northeastern, and Emerson College until 1993; in that year, his relationship with Pitzner ended, and he moved to Rome until 1997, working in the film and theater industry as an actor and a dubber. While there, he studied acting with Carolynn de Fonseca. Cas-