Rochelle Owens

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Rochelle Owens in Ardèches during a riverboat cruise up the Rhone

Rochelle Bass Owens (born April 2, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American poet and playwright.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Owens is the daughter of Maxwell and Molly (Adler) Bass. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, then studied at the New School for Social Research and the University of Montreal.

After a brief marriage to David Owens, she married the poet George Economou on June 17, 1962.[2] Owens has taught at Brown University, the University of California-San Diego, the University of Oklahoma, and the University of Southwestern Louisiana.[3]

She was highly involved in the early off-off-Broadway theatre movement. As a poet, she contributed greatly to the St. Marks Poetry Project and was a founding participant in Mickey Ruskin and Bill Mackey's Cafe Deux Megots on 7th Street in the East Village. Owens was also involved in the ethnopoetics movement. Her work has influenced experimental playwrights and poets in subsequent generations.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Owens' plays premiered in New York City at the Judson Poets Theatre, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, Theater for the New City, and the American Place Theatre. She was a founding member of the New York Theater Strategy and the Women's Theater Council. Her play Futz was first published in 1961 and is foundational to the off-off-Broadway canon. It raised some controversy, and was banned in Toronto and called a "lust and bestiality play" by a newspaper in Edinburgh. Futz was made into a film in 1969 and has since attained a cult following.

Owens' plays have been presented worldwide, including festivals in Edinburgh, Avignon, Paris, and Berlin. Her work has also been the subject of much scholarship. In 1984, after relocating to Norman, Oklahoma, Owens hosted "The Writers Mind", a radio interview program from the University of Oklahoma with various artists. As of 2018, Owens lives in Wellfleet, Massachusetts and Philadelphia.[4]

Owens has lectured and done readings in the United States and internationally, and has participated in the Franco-Anglais Festival de Poesie in Paris. She is a member of the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, New Dramatists alumni, and the Dramatists Guild. Her work has appeared in journals and magazines including Upstairs At Duroc, Simbolica, Scripts, Yale Theatre, 'Yugen, Plumed Horn, Nomad, Damascus Road, Midwest Review, New Wilderness Letter, Floating World, Exile Quarterly, Sulfur, Partisan Review, Trobar, First Intensity, Golden Handcuffs Review, Mandorla, 13th Moon, Truck, The Cafe Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Jacket2, Temblor, Poems and Poetics, The Iowa Review, and NewVerseNews. Her poem in three parts, "Chomsky Grilling Linguica", has been nominated for two online awards for Best Poetry.

Her biography was published in Gale Research Contemporary Authors, Volume 2 (1983). In 2006, she was celebrated in La MaMa's Coffeehouse Chronicles series.[5]

Awards and recognition[edit]

Selected works[edit]


  • The String Game, Judson Poets Theatre, New York City, 1965; published by Methuen: 1969
  • Futz, Tyrone Guthrie Workshop Theatre, Minneapolis, 1965; Cafe La Mama, New York City, 1967[7][8]; published by Hawk's Well Press: 1962, and Methuen: 1969
  • Homo, Cafe La Mama, 1966; Ambiance Theater, London, 1966; published by Hawk's Well Press: 1968
  • Istanboul. Hawk's Well Press. 1968. Judson Poets Theatre, 1968; Actors Playhouse, New York City, 1971
  • Beclch, Theatre for the Living Arts, Philadelphia; Gate Theatre, New York City, 1968; published by Hawk's Well Press: 1968
  • Futz and What Came After. Random House. 1968. produced in New York City, 1968
  • Queen of Greece, La Mama E.T.C., New York City, 1969[9]; published by Alexander Street Press: 2003
  • He Wants Shih, La MaMa, New York City, 1973[10]; published by Dutton: 1974
  • The Karl Marx Play and Others. Dutton. 1974. American Place Theatre, New York City, 1973
  • O.K. Certaldo, published by Dutton: 1974
  • Kontraption, published by Dutton: 1974; New York Theater Strategy, 1976
  • Coconut Folk-Singer, published by Dutton: 1974
  • Farmer's Almanac, published by Dutton: 1974
  • Emma Instigated Me, New York City, 1976; published in Performance Arts Journal: 1976
  • Owens, Rochelle (1977). The Widow And The Colonel. Dramatists Play Service, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8222-1252-2. New York City, 1977; published in Best Short Plays: 1977
  • Who Do You Want, Piere Vidal?, Theatre for the New City, New York City, 1982
  • Chucky's Hunch, Theatre for the New City, 1981; Harold Clurman Theatre, New York City, 1982
  • Plays by Rochelle Owens: Chucky's Hunch, Futz, Kontraption, Three Front. Broadway Play Publishing Inc. 2000. ISBN 978-0-88145-172-6.
  • Mountain Rites, published by Alexander Street Press: 2003
  • Sweet Potatoes, published by Alexander Street Press: 2003



  • Not Be Essence That Cannot Be. Trobar. 1961.
  • Salt and Core. Black Sparrow Press. 1968.
  • I Am the Babe of Joseph Stalin's Daughter: Poems, 1961-71. Kulchur Press. 1972.
  • Poems from Joe's Garage. Burning Deck Press. 1973.
  • The Joe Eighty-Two Creation Poems, Black Sparrow Press: 1974
  • Owens, Rochelle (1977). The Joe Chronicles II. Black Sparrow Press. ISBN 978-0-87685-296-5. (David R. Godine, Publisher: 1979 edition)
  • Shemuel. New Rivers Press. 1979. ISBN 978-0-89823-006-2.
  • French Light. Press with the Flexible Voice. 1984.
  • Constructs. Poetry Around. 1985.
  • Anthropologists at a Dinner Party. Chax Press. 1985.
  • W.C. Fields In French Light, Contact 2 Press: 1986
  • How Much Paint Does The Painting Need, Kulchur Press: 1988
  • Black Chalk, Texture Press: 1992
  • Rubbed Stones and Other Poems, Texture Press: 1994
  • New And Selected Poems 1961-1996, Junction Press: 1997
  • Luca,Discourse On Life And Death, Junction Press: 2000
  • Triptych, Texture Press: 2006
  • Solitary Workwoman, Junction Press: 2011
  • Out of Ur - New & Selected Poems 1961 - 2012, Shearsman Books: 2012
  • "Hermaphropoetics, Drifting Geometries", Singing Horse Press: 2017


Radio plays[edit]


  • Oklahoma Too, 1987
  • How much Paint Does The Painting Need, 1991
  • Black Chalk, 1994

Sound recordings[edit]

Translations (to English)[edit]

As editor[edit]

  • Spontaneous Combustion: Eight New American Plays, Winterhouse: 1972


  • Journey To Purity, Texture Press: 2009


  1. ^ Gabrielle H. Cody, Evert Sprinchorn, eds. (2007). The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama: Volume D. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-14424-7.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  2. ^ Taylor & Francis Group (2004). International Who's Who in Poetry 2004. Europa. p. 250. ISBN 978-1-85743-178-0.
  3. ^
  4. ^ Gabrielle H. Cody, Evert Sprinchorn, eds. (2007). The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama: Volume 2. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-14424-7.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  5. ^ Gabrielle H. Cody, Evert Sprinchorn, eds. (2007). The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama: Volume 1. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-14422-3.CS1 maint: uses editors parameter (link)
  6. ^
  7. ^ La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Production: Futz (1967a)". Accessed June 20, 2018.
  8. ^ La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Production: Futz (1967b)". Accessed June 20, 2018.
  9. ^ La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Production: Homo and The Queen of Greece (1969)". Accessed June 20, 2018.
  10. ^ La MaMa Archives Digital Collections. "Production: He Wants Shih! (1973)". Accessed June 20, 2018.

External links[edit]

 Collections, University Library, [[University of California, Davis]