Bryce Milligan (1953–) Biography
Personal, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Work in Progress, Sidelights
Born 1953, in Dallas, TX; Ethnicity: "Irish, Choctaw, Norwegian, Cherokee." Education: University of North Texas, B.A., 1977; University of Texas at Austin, M.A. (language and linguistics), 1980. Politics: Democrat. Religion: "Catholic with pagan leanings." Hobbies and other interests: Restoration of antique instruments, limestone sculpture, study of ancient Near-Eastern languages; "I enjoy restoring antique guitars and occasionally making instruments. I have played music my entire life—cello, trumpet, flute, guitar, and other instruments, and I sculpt in both wood and stone. I am interested in astronomy … and in the history of science."
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, San Antonio, TX, director of literature program 1985–86, 1994–2000; North East School of Arts, San Antonio, director of creative writing program, 2000–02; Wings Press (publisher), San Antonio, owner, 1995–. Editor, Pax: A Journal for Peace through Culture, 1983–87; book critic for San Antonio Express News, 1983–87, and San Antonio Light, 1987–90; founding editor, Vortex: A Critical Review, 1986–90; coeditor, Huehuetitlan (journal), 1989–96.
PEN American Center, National Book Critics Circle, Texas Institute of Letters.
Lone Star Award, Texas Library Association, 1991, for With the Wind, Kevin Dolan; Library Champion Award, San Antonio Public Library, 1998, for enhancement and involvement in San Antonio Public Library; Most Influential Teacher Award, North East School of the Arts, 2001; Bank Street College Best Book of the Year designation, 2002, for Brigid's Cloak.
With the Wind, Kevin Dolan, Corona (San Antonio, TX), 1987.
Battle of the Alamo: You Are There, illustrated by Charles Shaw, Texas Monthly Press (Austin, TX), 1990.
Comanche Captive: You Are There, illustrated by Charles Shaw, Texas Monthly Press (Austin, TX), 1990.
Lawmen: Stories of Men Who Tamed the West, illustrated by Charles Shaw, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1994.
The Mountain Men: Stories of Men Who Tamed the Wilderness, Disney Press (New York, NY), 1995.
Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story, illustrated by Helen Cann, Eerdmans Publishing (Grand Rapids, MI), 2002.
The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions, illustrated by Preston McDaniels, Holiday House (New York, NY), 2003.
POETRY: FOR ADULTS
Daysleepers & Other Poems, Corona (San Antonio, TX), 1984.
Litany Sung at Hell's Gate, M & A Editions (San Antonio, TX), 1990.
From Inside the Tree, Calberg Productions (San Antonio, TX), 1990.
Working the Stone, illustrated by Angela de Hoyos, Wings Press (Houston, TX), 1993.
Alms for Oblivion: A Poem in Seven Parts, Aark Arts (London, England), 2002.
Lost and Certain of It, Aark Arts (London, England), 2006.
(Editor) Don Everett, Albert Steves: A Paternal Portrait, Watercress Press (San Antonio, TX), 1983.
(Editor) Kathleen Silber and Phyllis Speedlin, Dear Birth-mother, Corona Publishing (San Antonio, TX), 1983.
(Editor) Cecilio Garcia-Camarillo, And the Ground Spoke: Poems and Stories, Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center (San Antonio, TX), 1986.
From Inside the Tree (poetry and songs), Calberg Productions (San Antonio, TX), 1990.
(Editor) Linking Roots: Writing by Six Women of Diverse Ethnic Origins, M & A Editions (San Antonio, TX), 1993.
(Editor, with others) American Journeys: The Hispanic American Experience (CD ROM), Primary Source Media (Farmington Hills, MI), 1995.
(Editor with Angela de Hoyos and wife, Mary Guerrero Milligan) Daughters of the Fifth Sun: A Collection of Latina Fiction and Poetry, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 1995.
(Editor) This Promiscuous Light: Young Women Poets of San Antonio, Wings Press (San Antonio, TX), 1996.
(Editor) Corazón del Norte: Writing by North Texas Latinos, Wings Press (San Antonio, TX), 1996.
(Editor, with Angela de Hoyos and Mary Guerrero Milligan) ¡Florricanto Sí!: A Collection of Latina Poetry, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Contributing editor to Stone Drum, 1988–93. Contributor to books, including Texas Trees, A Friendly Guide by Paul W. Cox and Patty Leslie; Sonnets to Human Beings and Other Selected Works, edited by Ernesto Padilla; and Writers at the Lake edited by Marylyn Croman. Contributor to periodicals, including Albuquerque Journal, Chicago Tribune, Current, Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Our Kids, Publishers Weekly, and San Antonio Kids.
Work in Progress
Princess, Priestess, Poet: Enheduanna of Ur for Eerdmans Publishing. Researching Sumerian and cuneiform for young-adult novels to be published as a trilogy.
Texas-based writer and publisher Bryce Milligan told SATA: "I have been called a 'literary wizard,' a 'jack of all genres,' and 'a contemporary muse poet' (Edward Hirsch), among other things. The fact is, for most of my life I have always functioned in several endeavors (and often several genres) at once. I believe that I am naturally inclined to do so, and that my best writing is done while I am actively engaged in other more physical pursuits. I am interested in astronomy (my son is a professional astronomer) and in the history of science. My interests appear in my writing, which is in itself simply another way to explore them."
In Daughters of the Fifth Sun: A Collection of Latina Fiction and Poetry Milligan served as coeditor, together with Angela de Hoyos and Milligan's wife, Mary Guer-rero Milligan, of a collection of poems and fiction written by Latinas. The title includes a wealth of contemporary poets and authors, including Sandra Cisneros, Julia Alvarez, Ana Castillo, and Denise Chavez, among others. Daughters of the Fifth Sun extends to a far-reaching audience; both adults and young adults are meant to benefit from this collection of literatures. USA Today critic Steven G. Kellman noted that the collection includes a "distinctive combination of gender and ethnicity" and is a title that readers will treasure. On a similar note, Donna Seaman commented in Booklist that Daughters of the Fifth Sun is an "all-out celebration" of Latina writers that presents "a vibrant history of Latina literature."
Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story focuses on the legendary tale of a much-loved Irish saint and her celebrated generosity. Critics have applauded Milligan for his narrative abilities in Brigid's Cloak. A Publishers Weekly critic, for instance, noted that the story is "told with the gripping delivery of a well-seasoned storyteller," adding that Milligan "draws in readers" with his evocative use of words. The story of Brigid's Cloak begins when the infant Brigid is presented with a blue cloak by a Druid wizard who also blesses the young girl with magic. The magic bestowed onto Brigid presents itself many years later while she is tending to her flock of sheep. Somehow, Brigid is transported back in time to Jerusalem where she meets Mary and Joseph and witnesses the birth of Jesus. Brigid's renowned act of generosity occurs when she offers Mary her cloak, after which Brigid returns to her own time bearing her blue cloak, now adorned with ethereal stars. Brigid's Cloak also includes illustrations by Helen Cann, whose watercolor and mixed-media artwork was described by Booklist contributor Diane Foote as contributing "both authenticity and wonder to the tale." Brigid's Cloak was named a best-of-the-year book by both Publishers Weekly and Bank Street College.
Milligan acquaints young readers with an ancient Irish folktale that tells the story of a young prince who is sent on a quest to find three magic stallions owned by a giant in The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions. A "geis" (curse) is placed on the prince of Ireland by his calculating stepmother who wants her own sons to rule Ireland. The prince can break the curse only if he succeeds in bringing back the three magic stallions. The story then follows the prince and his two stepbrothers as they seek out and bargain with a giant named Sean O'Donal for the magical steeds. A critic for Kirkus Reviews cited Milligan's "lilt of the language,"while Jeanne Clancy Watkins noted in School Library Journal that the author's "poetic prose demands to be read aloud with a lilt and a brogue, and comely turns of phrase … beg readers to join in."
As Milligan continued to SATA: "My daughter is a published translator and scholar of comparative literature, which perhaps reflects my own life-long fascination with etymology, ancient languages and literatures from different times and places. In graduate school, it was my honor to study with Dr. Ruth Lehmann, a world-class interpreter of Old Irish and Anglo-Saxon, and with Dr. Winfred Lehmann, an internationally recognized scholar of Indo-European.
"After finishing my M.A., I settled in San Antonio, Texas, and became the weekly book critic for the San Antonio Express-News and the San Antonio Light. During this period I founded and edited two literary magazines, Pax: A Journal for Peace through Culture and Vortex: A Critical Review…. My interest in contemporary Latina literature led me to edit the first major anthology of all-Latina writing Daughters of the Fifth Sun, which spent three years on the New York Public Library's Best Books for the Teen Age list. I also edited the first Penguin anthology of Latina poetry, ¡Florricanto Sí!
"In 1995, I purchased Wings Press. The press had published my book of poems, Working the Stone, and then went bankrupt. As the owner/publisher/editor/book designer, I enjoy having complete control over what and who I publish, and I very much enjoy the designing. Since 1995, Wings has published over one hundred titles, over half by women, mostly Latina, black, and Native American.
"My wife is a librarian, and we have shared many years reading aloud. Sharing a life filled with mutual loves—children, books, the change of seasons—is what keeps me grounded and stable. Literature and writing are a great part of my life, but they are not everything. Creativity and craft are crucial, especially as they concern the idea of 'making.' Not much that is good in life just happens by accident. One makes a family, makes a song or poem, makes a book, makes a guitar, makes a garden, one even makes an old house continue to keep out the rain. This is why writers do not retire—to stop making is to stop living."
Biographical and Critical Sources
Booklist, September 15, 1995, review of Daughters of the Fifth Sun: A Collection of Latina Fiction and Poetry, p. 129; October 15, 2002, Diane Foote, Brigid's Cloak: An Ancient Irish Story, p. 408.
Kirkus Reviews, March 1, 2003, review of The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions, p. 392.
Publishers Weekly, September 9, 2002, review of review of Brigid's Cloak, p. 64.
School Library Journal, February, 2003, Sally Dow, review of Brigid's Cloak, p. 136; June, 2003, Jeanne Clancy Watkins, review of The Prince of Ireland and the Three Magic Stallions, p. 131.
USA Today, May, 1996, Steven G. Kellman, review of Daughters of the Fifth Sun, p. 80.
Wings Press Web site, http://www.wingspress.com/ (April 8, 2006), "Bryce Milligan."