More About the Author
James Scully was born 23 February 1937 in New Haven, CT, where he attended Roman Catholic grammar and high schools. His mother was a factory worker. His father, a glass grinder and shipping clerk, had immigrated to the U.S. from Clydebank, Scotland. Neither finished high school. He himself was a beneficiary of the post-WWII economic boom. With free access to a teachers college he found himself, with no defined or generalized expectations, in the unfamiliar world of middle-class culture. Absorbing and challenging in many ways, nonetheless as a 'second language' that culture-- lacking an authoritative presence--did not feel 'real' to him. His initial ambivalence toward it has never been resolved.
In 1964, with the support of a National Defense Fellowship, Scully earned a Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. His first book, "The Marches," received the 1967 Lamont Award from the Academy of American Poets. Later, with a Guggenheim Fellowship, he and his family travelled to Santiago, Chile. They arrived during the first weeks of the Pinochet regime, which on 11 September 1973 had overthrown the Unidad Popular government and murdered its President, Salvador Allende ("Santiago Poems" 1975). Earlier and later he received other grants, including from the Ingram Merrill Foundation (Rome, 1962-63) and the NEA. There were translation awards--the Jenny Taine Memorial Award, and the Islands & Continents Translation Award (Denise Levertov was the judge) and the Bookbuilders of Boston Award for book cover design ("Apollo Helmet" 1983).
In 2007, during a brief, intensive turn through the former Yugoslavia, he wrote a journal recovering suppressed historical information and venturing candid, topical observations. This was published in Serbian translation. Azul Editions would later publish the original English language text: "Vagabond Flags: Serbia & Kosovo" (2009).
"Angel in Flames: Selected Poems & Translations 1967-2011" (Smokestack Books, UK) is the most recent of eleven books of poems. A collection of critical essays, "Line Break: Poetry As Social Practice" (1988) was reissued in 2005 with a foreword by Adrienne Rich. The many translations and co-translations include Aeschylus' "Prometheus Bound" (1975) with C J Herington, "The Complete Plays of Sophocles" (2011) with Robert Bagg, Latin American texts (by Roque Dalton, Teresa de Jesus, and others), plus anonymous Quechua texts or songs teased from Spanish translations.