Walter Holland (November 11, 1953- ) holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from The City University of New York. He is the author of three poetry collections: Circuit (Chelsea Station Editions, 2010) Transatlantic (Painted Leaf Press, 2001) and A Journal of the Plague Years: Poems 1979-1992 (Magic City Press, 1992). His novel, The March, was published in October, 1996 by Masquerade Books and a second revised edition was published by Chelsea Station Editions in 2011. A forthcoming book of poems “Reconstruction” will be published by Finishing Line Press in August of 2021.
His dissertation on American gay poetry since World War II received the 1998 Paul Monette Dissertation Award. He also holds an M. A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from City College. In January 1996 he received honorable mention in poetry for the 1995 David Lindahl Memorial Prize for Poetry, sponsored by The James White Review. In November, 1996, he lectured at The Stonewall Center, University of Massachusetts at Amherst. His topic was “Gay Poetry from 1945 to the Present.” In 1997 he was a presenter at Allegheny College in Meadville, PA as part of an academic conference entitled “History and Memory: Gay and Lesbian Literature Since World War II.” In March, 1999, he was keynote speaker at the first Annual Provincetown Poetry Festival. His lecture was entitled “A History of Gay Poetry.”
He currently lives in New York City on Manhattan’s Upper West Side with his husband whom he met in 1987, Howard Frey (March 28, 1950-). They were legally married April 18, 2012 in New York City. Previously they received their Certificate of Domestic Partnership from the City of New York on March 4, 1993 when it first became available.
Born in Queens, New York, he was raised in Lynchburg, Virginia, having moved there when he was 1 years old. He attended Bard College in Annandale-on-the-Hudson, N. Y. from 1972 to 1976 where he took a B.A. in Dance and Literature. After college he danced in New York City. He returned to Virginia in 1980 to take pre-requisites toward an M. S. degree in Physical Therapy at Columbia University. He completed his studies at Columbia in 1985. Later in 1991 he obtained an M.A. in Creative Writing (Poetry) from City College, where he studied under Ann Lauterbach and William Matthews. In 1998 he received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the City University of New York, The Graduate Center. He has studied poetry privately with William Matthews, Alfred Corn, Nancy Schoenberger and Grace Schulman. He worked for most of his adult life by day as a Physical Therapist but in addition taught for 10 years as an Adjunct Professor of English Literature at both The New School and Eugene Lang College, now part of The New School university system.
His poetry has appeared in numerous publications including most recently in 2020 and 2021 in Exquisite Pandemic, HIV Here and Now, Cutbank Literary Journal, About Place Journal, and Mollyhouse. In previous years his poems have been published in Antioch Review, Art and Understanding, Barrow Street, Bay Windows, Body Positive, Christopher Street, Chiron Review, Cimarron Review, The Cream City Review, Found Object, Men’s Style, Pegasus, Phoebe, Poets for Life:76 Poets Respond to AIDS, Redivider, Rhino, The George Mason Review, The Harvard Gay & Lesbian Review , The James White Review, The Literary Review, The Piedmont Literary Review, Provincetown Magazine, and William and Mary Review and has been featured on B.B.C. Radio. His poetry has also appeared in the British anthology of AIDS poetry, Jugular Defenses: an AIDS Anthology (The Oscars Press of London); and The Columbia Anthology of Gay Literature. He provided editorial assistance on Assotto Saint's last book of poetry, Wishing for Wings. He has written book reviews and essays for Lambda Book Report and The James White Review and most recently he has reviewed in 2020 and 2021 for Lambda Literary Review, Pleiades, and Rain Taxi . His article, “The Calamus Root: American Gay Poetry 1945 to the Present,” was featured in the Spring, 1998 issue of The Journal of Homosexuality (a special issue of the journal entitled “History and Memory: Gay and Lesbian Literature Since World War II”) and later anthologized in Sonja L. Jones’ Gay and Lesbian Literature Since World War II: History and Memory. In April 2002, his essay, “Queer Body of Verse: Gay & Lesbian Poetry in These Times,” appeared in Lambda Book Report. In April 2000, an essay regarding the history of AIDS poetry appeared in Body Positive. The essay was entitled: “A Poetry of Crisis, A Poetry of Witness.”
Holland cowrote with Ted Kociolek the libretto and book for a musical adaptation of Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence based on Holland’s original idea. The musical received two staged readings in 2009 and 2010 respectively at the York Theatre at Saint Peter’s Church in New York City and was featured in The Annual Florida Festival of New Musicals in Winter Park Florida at the Winter Park Playhouse in 2017.
His short stories have been published in Art and Understanding, Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly, and the anthology Rebel Yell. A memoir piece appears in Mama’s Boy: Gay Men Writing About Their Mothers (Painted Leaf Press, 2000).
Spring, 2002, he participated on academic panels at The Graduate Center, C.U.N.Y. (a discussion of poetics in the New York School ). He read at The Ear Inn as part of a World Aids Day commemoration in 2002. Also that year he read with Charles Martin at Fordham University in their Poets-Out-Loud series.
His poem “The Merchant of Grief,” which was recommended for a Pushcart Prize, was published in Art & Understanding magazine in 2021. He is currently at work on a three-part memoir of his childhood in Lynchburg, Virginia; his dance years in New York City in the seventies; and his many personal years in New York City around the literary and arts community. He has donated his papers and memorabilia to The LGBT Community Center National History Archive located at the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center on West 13th Street in New York City.