Charles Henry Rowell has spent the main of his long literary career as an editor—as editor of Callaloo, as editor of the now defunct Callaloo Poetry Series and Callaloo Fiction Series, and as editor of Ancestral House: The Black Short Story in the Americas and Europe (1995), Shade: An Anthology of Fiction by Gay Men of African Descent (with Bruce Morrow, 1996), and Making Callaloo: 25 Years of Black Literature (2002). He is also editor of the The Callaloo African Diaspora Series, critical volumes by various scholars on literature and culture, published by Johns Hopkins University Press, and editor of Angles of Ascent: A Norton Anthology of Contemporary African American Poetry (2013), a volume that documents new waves of poets, “who, for future memory, extend and refine literary, aesthetic, and other traditions wherever they find them, as well as invent and experiment with new techniques of their own invention.”
Dr. Rowell was born in Auburn, Alabama, where his parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents (former slaves) were self-sufficient land-owning farmers who proudly worked their land and triumphantly reared their families against the backdrop of a racially troubled South. In fact, it was on his father’s farm in Auburn, Dr. Rowell tells us, that he conceived Callaloo as a publication venue for Black South writers—a forum which he now thinks of as a tribute to the heroic triumph of his fore-parents, who were literally deprived of the educational opportunities he now enjoys.
After receiving the Ph.D in English literary studies at The Ohio State University, Charles Henry Rowell, now Professor of English at Texas A&M University, taught at Southern University (Baton Rouge), University of Kentucky, and the University of Virginia.
Charles Henry Rowell
Image © Samantha Iyer