Born in Norfolk, Virginia, in 1947, to parents who were both enlisted in the U.S. Navy during World War II, Bill Mohr is an internationally recognized poet, critic, editor, literary historian, and college professor. His poems, prose poems and creative prose have appeared in dozens of magazines in the past 40 years, including 5 AM, Antioch Review, Beyond Baroque, Blue Collar Review, Blue Mesa Review, Caliban (On-line), KYSO (Knock Your Socks Off), Miramar,
ONTHEBUS, OR, Santa Monica Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Solo Nolo, Sonora Review, Spot, Upstreet, Wormwood Review, and ZYZZYVA. In addition to being translated into Italian, Croatian, and Japanese, his poems have also appeared in a dozen anthologies, including all three editions of Charles Harper Webb’s
Stand Up Poetry (1989, 1992; 2002); Suzanne Lummis’s Grand Passion and
Wide Awake; and Coiled Serpent, from Tia Chuca Press. Mohr is one of less than a half-dozen Los Angeles-based poets to have appeared in all editions of those anthologies. His volumes of poetry include Hidden Proofs (1982); Penetralia (1984); Bittersweet Kaleidscope (2006); and a bilingual volume published in Mexico, Pruebas Ocultas (Bonobos Editores, 2015). A CD and cassette release of spoken word was produced by Harvey Robert Kubernik and released by New Alliance Records in 1993. In October, 2018, What Books/Glass Table Collective will published a new collection of his poems,
The Headwaters of Nirvana / Los Manantiales del Nirvana.
Mohr has given readings of his poetry in New York City, San Francisco, and Mexico City, as well as Los Angeles. He was a featured poet at the Idyllwild Poetry Festival five times and was a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute in 1996. His literary history of Los Angeles poetry, Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2011 and has gone into a second printing. Mohr’s critical essays and literary commentary have appeared in journals such as the William Carlos Williams Review, Journal of Beat Studies, and the LA Review of Books.
From 1972 to 1988, he was active in Los Angeles as the editor and publisher of Momentum Press. Its archives can be found in the Special Collections of Geisel Library at UCSD. In addition to publishing landmark collections of Los Angeles poets such as The Streets Inside (1978) and Poetry Loves Poetry in 1985, he also brought out books by poets such as Alicia Ostriker, Jim Krusoe, Holly Prado, Kate Braverman, Jim Moore, Harry Northup, Joseph Hansen, and Leland Hickman. Lee Hickman’s book, Great Slave Lake Suite, was nominated by the Los Angeles Times as one of the five best books of poems published in 1980. Mohr was accorded four grants from the National Endowment for the Arts in recognition of the quality of his publishing projects. He also received grants from the California Arts Council and the Atlantic-Richfield Foundation. In the early 1990s, he was the producer and host of “Put Your Ears,” a poetry show on Century Cable that featured poets such as Scott Wannberg, Victor Valle, Laurel Ann Bogen, and Doren Robbins. In the Spring, 2013, Mohr delivered a lecture as part of the Bonnie Cashin Lecture Series at UCLA. His editorial archives as editor and publisher of Momentum magazine (1974-1978) and Momentum Press (1975-1988) are located at the University of California, San Diego.
His most recent anthology of poetry is Cross-Strokes: Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco, which he co-edited with Neeli Cherkovski. In 2014, he was given the George Drury Smith Award by Beyond Baroque for his services to poetry. Other winners of this award include David St. John, Wanda Coleman, Eloise Klein Healy, Suzanne Lummis, Holly Prado, and Paul Vangelisti. His blog address is billmohrpoet.com.
Bill Mohr has a Ph.D. in Literature from the University of California, San Diego and is a currently a professor in the Department of English at California State University, Long Beach, where he has taught since 2006. Prior to his academic career, Mohr primarily worked for well over 15 years.as either a blueprint machine operator or typesetter for weekly newspapers. He was also very active in the California Poets-in-the-Schools program and was an artist-in-residence for both the California Arts Council and the Cultural Affairs Department of the City of Los Angeles. Along with the poet Max Benavidez, he also led writing workshops in prisons in Chino, California for L.A. Theater Works.
Poet, editor, publisher, scholar, and critic, Bill Mohr is widely recognized as one of the leading literary activists in Southern California in the past 40 years. His writing has been featured in over a dozen anthologies, and translated into Spanish, Japanese, Italian, and Croatian. His work as editor/publisher of Momentum Press received four awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, and his honors include being a visiting scholar at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles and fellowships at the Huntington Library. His highly praised account of West Coast poetry, Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992, was published by the University of Iowa Press in 2011. He is a professor in the Department of English at California State University, Long Beach.