Poet and Alumnus Jay Bradford Fowler
Dies at 47
By Hope J Smith
Jay Bradford Fowler, Jr., (B.A. English '87), prolific and recognized poet who published 16 books of poetry, died April 9, 1999, in Silver Spring, Md. Fowler was born with spina bifida, a congenital neurological disorder, and underwent a series of 16 operations, mostly to help him walk. Since the early 1990s, he also suffered from degenerative arthritis.
Fowler grew up in Arlington, Va., where he attended Washington-Lee High School. Upon graduating from George Mason, where he edited the literary journal Phoebe, he received the American Poetry Association's prestigious Grand Prize and won its winter 1987 National Poetry Competition. Over the years, he was published in numerous literary journals, including the American Poetry Review. He published his first book, Psalmbook for the White Butterfly, in 1985. His most recent collection, Outrageous Asylum, Sonnets from the Nursing Home, was published in 1998; a final volume of his work is to be published this year.
For Fowler, Mason was a special place. "It gave me a context--the context being world literature--in which I could speak out, in which I could write poetry," he said in an interview in 1998. He wanted to continue his study at Mason and work toward an M.F.A., but his illnesses prevented him. To give something back to Mason, Fowler donated both his published and unpublished work along with letters and multiple manuscript versions of some poems to Mason's Fenwick Library in 1998; information about them can be found on the library's Special Collections website at http://www.gmu.edu/library/specialcollections/fowler.html.
Director's Letter | President's Letter | Association and Chapter News
Transitions (Class Notes) | Alumni Features