The collected poetry of Brother Augustine Towey, C.M., is being published for the first time by Arthur McAllister Publishers of Harpswell, Maine. The volume, entitled “The Poem You Asked For and Other Poems,” is due out Nov. 3. It contains almost the entire body of his previous work, plus several new poems.
Towey, director emeritus of Niagara University Theatre, which he founded some 45 years ago, has authored six other volumes of his poetry. “The Poem You Asked For and Other Poems” includes an essay by Towey in which he writes of his development as a poet.
One critic who praised his work said, “If we had to name a living poet writing in English today whom Auden and Eliot, David Jones and Robert Lowell would take seriously, Augustine’s place is as assured as that of his contemporaries, Mary Oliver and Eric Pankey.”
Towey, well known for his work in professional and educational theater, came to Niagara University in September of 1964, teaching classes in English literature and speech. Among them was a course in contemporary literature that was devoted mainly to contemporary poetry, a subject he loves. Eventually, he became involved with the Niagara University Players, and from a few early theater courses the current theater program came into existence.
His interest in poetry remained alive during his 45 years of directing and administering the theater program. The six volumes of poetry he published during that time were: “Waiting for Snow in Lewiston” (1990), “The Things of Man” (1991), “Silences” (1996), “Later Enchantments” (2000), “The Anna Poems” (2005) and “Poems from San Francisco” (2006).
In 1996, he recorded a CD of his poetry, “Waiting for Snow in Lewiston: An Evening of Poetry,” with actors Vincent O’Neill and Josephine Hogan joining him in reading his work. Plans are under way for a second CD incorporating more of his work to be released in the spring of 2009.
“The Poem You Asked For and Other Poems” may be preordered by e-mailing moc.bupcmanull@sredrO and writing “Towey” in the subject line. Instructions will be emailed to those who place an order.