William Packard (author)

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William Packard
William Packard.jpg
Born(1933-09-02)September 2, 1933
New York City, U.S.
DiedNovember 3, 2002(2002-11-03) (aged 69)
Manhattan, New York City
OccupationPoet, playwright, editor, novelist

William Packard (September 2, 1933 – November 3, 2002) was an American poet, playwright, teacher, novelist, and was also founder and editor of the New York Quarterly, a national poetry magazine.[1][2][3]

Life and career[edit]

Packard was born September 2, 1933, and was raised in New York. He was a graduate of Stanford University,[4] where he earned a degree in philosophy and studied under the poet and critic Yvor Winters. Packard was a presence in the literary circles of the San Francisco Bay Area in the 1950s and 60s — circles that included Allen Ginsberg, Kenneth Patchen, and Kenneth Rexroth. Packard was most active, however, in New York City, where he lived and wrote for more than half his life.

While in New York, Packard hosted the 92nd Street Y’s poetry reading series, was Vice President of the Poetry Society of America, was a member of the governing board of the Pirandello Society,[5] and was co-director of the Hofstra Writers Conference for seven years.[6] In 1957 he was awarded a Frost Fellowship and, in 1980, was honored with a reception at the White House for distinguished American poets.[4]

Packard's literary career spanned nearly 50 years and resulted in the publication of six volumes of poetry, including To Peel an Apple,[7] First Selected Poems, Voices/I hear/voices, and Collected Poems. His novel, Saturday Night at San Marcos,[8] is a bawdy, irreverent send-up of the literary scene. It is written with “a sharp yet loving bite … Picture the pace of Jack Kerouac's 'On the Road' plus caricature worthy of Portnoy,” according to the New York Times.[9] His translation of Racine’s Phedre, for which he was awarded the Outer Critic’s Circle Award, is the only English rendering to date to have maintained the original’s rhymed Alexandrine couplets. It was produced Off-Broadway with Beatrice Straight and Mildred Dunnock, and directed by Paul-Emile Deiber; a production which Stanley Kauffmann of the New York Times referred to as “the best performance in English of a classic French tragedy that I have seen.”.[10] His plays include The Killer Thing, directed by Otto Preminger,[11] Sandra and the Janitor, produced at the HB Playwrights Foundation, The Funeral, The Marriage, and War Play, produced and directed by Gene Frankel. Three collections of Mr. Packard’s one-act plays, Psychopathology of Everyday Life, Threesome, and Behind the Eyes, were recently produced in New York. Packard was the great-grandson of Evangelist Dwight L. Moody and wrote the non-fiction book Evangelism in America: From Tents to TV.[12]

Beginning in 1965, when he inherited from Louise Bogan the poetry writing classes at New York University’s Washington Square Writing Center, Packard taught poetry and literature at NYU, Wagner, The New School, Cooper Union, The Bank Street Theatre, and Hofstra, as well as acting, and playwriting at the HB Studio in Manhattan. Among his books, he is the author of The Art of the Playwright,[13] The Art of Screenwriting, The Poet’s Dictionary,[14] The Art of Poetry Writing, and The Poet’s Craft: Interviews from the New York Quarterly.[15]

Packard was editor of the New York Quarterly (NYQ) for 33 years — from its founding 1969 until his death in 2002. He published 58 issues.[16] Poet and novelist James Dickey called Packard "one of the great editors of our time". Cited by Rolling Stone as "the most important poetry magazine in America," the New York Quarterly earned a reputation for excellence by publishing poems, and for its “exceptional in-depth interviews”[17] with the prominent poets W. H. Auden, John Ashbery, Paul Blackburn, Richard Eberhart, Stanley Kunitz, Anne Sexton, Franz Douskey, Charles Bukowski, and W.S. Merwin, among many others. In fact, NYQ has, in its thirty-year career, published virtually every important poet in the nation. But the magazine is equally acclaimed for supporting the work of lesser-known poets. The poet Galway Kinnell once said of the magazine, "The New York Quarterly serves an invaluable function — and that is finding and publishing wonderful talents — such as Franz Douskey, Antler, Pennant, Lifshin, Inez, Moriarty — who may not have the recognition that their work so richly deserves."[18]

Packard’s friend, the author Charles Bukowski, was often found in the pages of The New York Quarterly. Bukowski contributed poems, correspondence, and in 1985 he was the subject of the magazine’s “craft interview”.[19] Packard appears in the film, Bukowski, Born into This.[20]

The New York Quarterly temporarily suspended publication when Packard suffered a stroke, but returned to print shortly before his death.[21]


  • New York Quarterly, founder and editor (1969 — 2002)
  • To Peel an Apple (1963) [22]
  • Genius is Desire [23]
  • First Selected Poems [24]
  • Ty Cobb: Poem (1976) [25]
  • What Hands are These (1977) [26]
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Poems On Death (1981) [27][28]
  • Whales and Tombs [29]
  • Voices/I Hear/Voices (1972) [30]
  • Peaceable Kingdom: Poems (1975) [31]
  • Collected Poems (2001) [32]
  • Saturday Night at San Marcos (1985) [33]
  • Phèdre (translation) (1966) [34]
  • The Killer Thing (1979) [35]
  • Psychopathology of Everyday Life (1998) [36]
  • Threesome
  • Behind the Eyes
  • Evangelism in America: From Tents to TV (1999) [37]
  • The American Experience & Other Essays (1979) [38]
  • The Art of the Playwright (1987) [39]
  • The Art of Screenwriting (2001) [40]
  • The Poet's Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices (1994) [41]
  • The Art of Poetry Writing (1992) [42]
  • The Poet’s Craft: Interviews from the New York Quarterly (2000) [43]
  • Dictionary of the Theater (1988) [44]
  • Desire: Erotic Poetry Through the Ages (1980) [45]
  • Four Plays: Sandra and the Janitor, The Funeral, The Marriage, & War Play (1975) [46][47]
  • The Light of Life
  • The White Snake (translation) (1973) [48]
  • Ikkaku Sennin (translation) [49]
  • From Now On [47]
  • In the First Place [47][50]
  • My Name is Bobby (1975) [51]
  • On the Other Hand [47]
  • Once and For All [47]


  1. ^ William Packard, Author and Editor, Dies at 69. New York Times. November 16, 2002. [1]
  2. ^ Poet founded The New York Quarterly; William Packard. Sarasota Herald-Tribune. November 18, 2002. [2]
  3. ^ Shivani, Anis. A Poetry Editor Reveals the Secrets of the Trade: Raymond Hammond on How to Fix the Current Poetry Paradigm. Huffington Post. 11 December 2011. [3]
  4. ^ a b Stanford Alumni Website
  5. ^ The Village Voice. 27 February 1969. Page 38
  6. ^ Jarnot, Lisa. Robert Duncan, The Ambassador from Venus: A Biography University of California Press. 2012. Page 304 ISBN 978-0-520-23416-1
  7. ^ Packard, William. To peel an apple. Experiment Press. 1963 ASIN: B0007E6H38.
  8. ^ Packard, William. Saturday Night at San Marcos. Iuniverse Inc. 2000. ISBN 978-1583489994
  9. ^ O’Connor, Patricia T. New & Noteworthy. New York Times. Quoting Regina Weinreich in the New York Times Book Review in 1986. [4]
  10. ^ Webber, Bruce. Paul-Emile Deiber, Actor Who Became an Opera Director, Dies at 86. New York Times. 24 December 2011 [5]
  11. ^ Hirsch, Foster. Otto Preminger: The Man Who Would Be King. ISBN 978-0375413735 Knopf 2007. [6]
  12. ^ Packard, William. Evangelism in America: From Tents to TV. Paragon House. 1999.
  13. ^ Packard, William. The Art of the Playwright. Thunder’s Mouth Press. 1997 ISBN 1-56025-117-4
  14. ^ Packard, William. The Poet's Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices. Collins Reference. 1994. ISBN 978-0062720450.
  15. ^ Packard, William. Editor. The Poet’s Craft: Interviews from the New York Quarterly. Doubleday & Company, Inc. 1974. ISBN 0-385 03496-2. [7]
  16. ^ Hammond, Raymond. editor. New York Quarterly. Number 59. 2003 ISSN 0028-7482
  17. ^ Baer, William. Editor. Fourteen on Form: Conversations with Poets. University Press of Mississippi. 2004. ISBN 1-57806-671-9. Page vii. [8]
  18. ^ New York Quarterly
  19. ^ Packard, William, editor. The New York Quarterly. Number 48. 1985.
  20. ^ IMDB
  21. ^ Staff report (November 16, 2002). William Packard, 69, Author and Editor. New York Times
  22. ^ Packard, William. To Peel an Apple. Experiment Press. 1963. ASIN: B0007E6H38 [9]
  23. ^ Packard, William. Genius is Desire. Igal Roodenko. 1960
  24. ^ Packard, William. First Selected Poems. Pylon Press. 1977. ISBN 978-0918524003
  25. ^ Packard, William. Ty Cobb: Poem. New Quarto Editions. 1976. ASIN B0006CVDCG [10]
  26. ^ Packard, William. What Hands are These. Outland Press. 1977
  27. ^ Packard, William. Do Not Go Gentle: Poems On Death. St. Martin’s Press. 1981. ISBN 9780312214692.
  28. ^ Gorman, Ed. A Closer Look; Poets Muse on Death. Cedar Rapids Gazette. 14 June 1981. Page 76.[11]
  29. ^ Packard, William. Whales and Tombs
  30. ^ Packard, William. Voices/I Hear/Voices. Barlenmir House. 1972. ASIN B004EN6I3M [12]
  31. ^ Packard, William. Peaceable Kingdom: Poems. The Flats Workshop. 1975 [13]
  32. ^ Packard, William. Collected Poems. iUniverse.com. 2001. ISBN 0-595-13533-1
  33. ^ Packard, William. Saturday Night at San Marcos. Iuniverse Inc. ISBN 978-1583489994. [14]
  34. ^ Racine, Jean. Packard, William, trans. Phèdre. Samuel French 1966. ASIN: B000ORHFRA
  35. ^ Packard, William. The Killer Thing. Bird Girl Press. 1979
  36. ^ Michael Beckett Plays William Packard's Freud. Back Stage. 2 October 1998.
  37. ^ Packard, William. Evangelism in America: From Tents to TV. Paragon House. 1999. ISBN 978-1557781796
  38. ^ Packard, William. The American Experience & Other Essays. Barlenmir House. 1979. ISBN 9780879290504. [15]
  39. ^ Packard, William. The Art of the Playwright. Paragon House Publishers. ISBN 0-913729-77-9. 1987
  40. ^ Packard, William. The Art of Screenwriting: An A to Z Guide to Writing a Successful Screenplay. 2001. Da Capo Press. ISBN 978-1560253228
  41. ^ Packard, William. The Poet's Dictionary: A Handbook of Prosody and Poetic Devices. 1994. Collins Reference. ISBN 978-0062720450
  42. ^ Packard, William. The Art of Poetry Writing. St. Martins Press. 1992. ISBN 0-312-07641-X
  43. ^ Packard, William. The Poet's Craft: Interviews from the New York Quarterly. 2000. Iuniverse Inc. ISBN 978-0595000623
  44. ^ Packard, William. Pickering, David. Savidge, Charlotte, editor. Facts on File Dictionary of the Theater. Facts on File. 1988. ISBN 978-0816018413
  45. ^ Packard, William, editor. Desire: Erotic Poetry Through the Ages. St Martins Press. 1980
  46. ^ Packard, William. Four Plays: Sandra and the Janitor, The Funeral, The Marriage, & War Play. Living Poets Press. 1976. ISBN 0915726033
  47. ^ a b c d e Dooley listing
  48. ^ Mitchell, John Dietrich, ed. The red pear garden: three great dramas of revolutionary China. Packard, William, trans. The White Snake. D. R. Godine. 1973. ISBN 9780879230739 [16]
  49. ^ Mitchell, John. Hoff, Frank. Packard, William. Ikkaku Sennin. Institute for Advanced Studies in the Theatre Arts Press. 1994 [17]
  50. ^ Banes, Sally. Democracy's Body: Judson Dance Theater, 1962-1964. 2002. UMI Research Press. Page 221. [18]
  51. ^ Packard, William. My Name is Bobby. Flats Workshop. 1975

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