Name Richard Burgin
Literary movement Meta-Realism
|Genre Fiction, Criticism|
Role Fiction writer
|Occupation Novelist, short story writer, poet, literary critic, professor, editor|
Notable works Debut Criticism: Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges (1968) Debut fiction: The Man with Missing Parts (1973) Debut Short Story CollectionMan Without Memory (1989) Debut Novel: Ghost Quartet(1999)
Education Brandeis University, Columbia University
Books The identity club, The Conference on Beauti, The spirit returns, Ghost quartet, Shadow Traffic
Richard Burgin is an American fiction writer, editor, composer, critic, and academic. He has published nineteen books, and from 1996 through 2013 was a professor of Communication and English at St. Louis University. He is also the founder and publisher of the internationally distributed award-winning literary magazine Boulevard, now in its 31st year of continuous publication.
- Selected works
- Short story collections
- Interview Books
- Edited Books
- Prizes and anthologies
- Periodicals edited
- CDs composed and written by Richard Burgin
Richard Burgin (born June 30, 1947), grew up in Brookline, Massachusetts. His father (also named Richard Burgin), was the Concertmaster and Associate Conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and his mother, Ruth Posselt, was a concert violinist- the first American born woman violinist to extensively tour Russia. Both his parents were child prodigies. His sister Diana is a professor, translator, and critic of Russian literature. Burgin went to Brandeis University where he received a B.A.. He later received a Master's with highest honors from Columbia University. His first published book was a collection of interviews he conducted with the Latin American writer, Jorge Luis Borges, while Burgin was still an undergraduate. Conversations with Jorge Luis Borges (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1969) was the first book-length series of interviews with Borges in English and has been translated and published in ten foreign language editions. A substantial part of the book was reprinted in Jorge Luis Borges: The Last Interviews by Melville House in 2013.
In 1975 he was one of the founding editors of the New Boston Review, now Boston Review magazine. In 1985 he published Conversations with Isaac Bashevis Singer, which to date has been translated into eight foreign language editions. A major part appeared as a two-part cover story in the New York Times Magazine. His stories have received numerous prizes and awards, including five Pushcart Prizes. Among his nineteen published books, The Identity Club: New and Selected Stories and Songs (Ontario Review Press, 2005 which included a 20 song disc of music composed by Burgin) was listed by The Times Literary Supplement as one of the best books of 2006. The Huffington Post recently named it one of the 40 best books of fiction in the last decade. The title story of The Identity Club was reprinted in Best American Mystery Stories 2005 and The Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction (Harper Perennial, 2008) edited by Joyce Carol Oates. Writing in the Daily Beast/Newsweek, Joyce Carol Oates said, "What Edgar Allan Poe did for the psychotic soul, Richard Burgin does for the deeply neurotic who pass among us disguised as so seemingly 'normal,' we may mistake them for ourselves." In an interview published in the literary journal Pleiades, Burgin said, “My goal is and always has been to depict people as honestly as I know them, which means writing about their mistakes as well as their victories, their fear as well as their courage (the two are always mixed), their cruelty or selfishness as well as their kindness.” In another interview, with The Philadelphia Inquirer, he said, "One of the things I try to achieve in some of my short stories is a kind of novelistic density or weight. My stories tend to have a number of characters, a period of time going by, and character and thematic development."
As a critic, Burgin has published numerous essays and reviews in (among many others) The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Partisan Review, Chicago Review,The Philadelphia Inquirer, and The Boston Globe, where he was a columnist for both the paper and The Globe Magazine.
Texas Review Press recently published Burgin's novel Rivers Last Longer in November 2010. The anthology L'Ecume des Flammes, a Richard Burgin Reader, was published in February 2011 (in French) by 13e Note Editions. Reviewing the book in Le Monde, critic Florence Noiville wrote, "There is something electrifying, even addictive, in the writing of Richard Burgin." In 2011, Johns Hopkins University Press published Burgin's story collection Shadow Traffic. This was followed by Hide Island: A Novella and Nine Stories (2013). His most recent book is Don't Think, a story collection published by Johns Hopkins University Press in 2016.
Burgin founded the literary journal Boulevard in 1985 and continues to serve as editor. In an interview for the book Creating Fiction: A Writer's Companion (Harcourt Brace, 1995) Burgin said, "At Boulevard we're open to different styles of writing. We try to be eclectic in the best sense of the word and to be mindful of Nabokov's dictum, 'there's only one school, the school of talent'"." Boulevard has been called "one of the half-dozen best literary journals" by Poet Laureate Daniel Hoffman. Pulitzer Prize–winning poet Charles Simic, writing in the New York Review of Books said, "Boulevard [is one of the eight magazines] young writers and poets, of course, pay attention to...since that's where they hope to publish their work." In April 2015, Burgin edited (with Jessica Rogan) The Best Stories from Boulevard, 1985-2015 Volume 1. In addition to Boulevard and Boston Review, Burgin was the founding editor of the New York Arts Journal. He has taught at Tufts University, Drexel University, University of California at Santa Barbara. Most recently, he was professor of communication and English at Saint Louis University from 1996 to 2013.
Burgin has also composed the music and words for six CDs, one of which was co-produced with Gloria Vanderbilt.
He currently lives with his son Richard Daniel Burgin, with whom he co-wrote the screenplay for the short film "All Ears," which his son directed. The movie is based on the elder Burgin's short story "Do You Like This Room?".