Whitman McGowan

Author's Bio

Whitman McGowan is a spoken word artist, satirist, speech maker, spieler, scop, skald, a man who goes around trying not to sing. His mostly comic & muscularly ironic paramythological constructions are expressed via a tour de force of techniques. This unique and unruly storytelling mix bespeaks an interesting background of influences. After studying poetry and song in Santa Barbara with Kenneth Rexroth and then working in Hollywood for eight years and rubbing shoulders with legends of the spoken word like George Burns, Mort Sahl and Richard Pryor, he got back to reading his poetry at The Espresso Bar, a Pasadena coffeehouse which he managed in the early eighties, where he put poetry on the menu. For a buck he would go out the back and come bursting in the front door with a poem! When he became known as a character in the Pasadena Weekly’s “Dr. Duck” comic strip, he decided he'd better leave town and head for San Francisco, where the poets hadn't become cartoons yet. After over 400 performances in North America and Europe he is known to a special cadre of bohemians, rock and rollers, aficionados of high literary culture and other members of the general public who have been exposed to his books, recordings and live performances.

Publications and Prizes

Contents May Have Shifted
(Viridiana, 1994)
, Ghost Worker
(Deep Forest, 2001)
, No, I Am Not Walt Whitman's Great Grandson
(Mel Thompson Publishing, 1993)
Kinky Verse
(Daedalus Press, 1996)
, Left Hand Maps
(Small Garlic Press, 1998)
, New American Underground Poetry: Poets From Hell
(Trafford Press, 2005)
, Public House
(Public House Press, 2004)
Dragon's Breath Theatre
, Oddfellow's Hall, Pt. Arena
, The Dark Room Theatre
, Viracocha
Prizes Won: 
Big Book Award, Bumbershoot

Personal Favorites

What I'm Reading Now: 
Guys, Dolls, and Baseballs by Damon Runyon

More Information

Listed as: 
Poet, Spoken Word Artist
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Scotch-Irish American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Raised in: 
San Marino, CA
Please note: All information in the Directory is provided by the listed writers or their representatives.
Last updated: Feb 11, 2014