Professor Mark Jay Mirsky, a graduate of Harvard and Stanford is just completing his term as chair of the English Department at City College. Despite the range of administrative tasks that comes with this job he was able to keep teaching, edit and to publish creative and scholarly work.
Mark has taught at City College since 1965 and was the prime mover in establishing the MA in Creative Writing, which attracted distinguished students like Walter Mosley and the Pulitzer Prize winner Oscar Hijuelos.
The MA in Creative Writing was instigated in the late 1970s to augment a very small Literature MA. It benefited from increased resources while Edward Quinn was chair and Mark proposed the Creative Writing MA which was adopted with enthusiasm by Quinn, Ted Gross, Dean of Humanities and Robert Marshak, president of City College.
Mark began teaching in the Program after an amusing revolt by the students of Anthony Burgess who was also renowned for entertaining English Department staff and faculty at impromptu house parties where alcohol and a piano were both accessible.
Other dynamic writers joined the teaching faculty like Fred Tutten, Cynthia Ozick, Jakov Lind, Manuel Puig, John Hawkes, Gwendolyn Brooks, Donald Barthelme, Harold Brodkey, Grace Paley Elizabeth Hardwick, Bill Matthews, Ann Lauterbach, Francine du Plessix Grey, Susan Sontag, Edna O'Brien, Jerome Charyn and Joseph Heller.
Mark is editor in chief of Fiction magazine, which he co-founded in 1972 with Donald Barthelme and has provided an outlet for new voices and for experimental writing that most American periodicals shun.
Fiction is based within the English Department, providing students of the creatve and literature programs opportunities to work as editorial associates, reading, screening submissions and experiencing the full cycle of producing a literary magazine. Fiction also enables City College students to be published alongside Nobel Prize Winners like Jose Camilo Cela, Heinrich Boll and Samuel Beckett and National Book Award recipients such as Joyce Carol Oates.
Former Fiction associates include Walter Mosley, Michelle Wallace (now on faculty), Ernesto Quinones, Ted Mooney, Linsey Abrams (now director of the MFA), and a host of young editors, agents and critics.
Mark’s books include Thou Worm Jacob, The Secret Table, Proceedings of the Rabble, Blue Hill Avenue: a Novel, The Secret Table, The Red Adam, Absent Shakespeare, My Search for the Messiah: Studies and Wanderings in Israel and America, and Dante, Eros, and Kabbalah.
He has edited The Diaries: Robert Musil 1899-1942 and the first volume of The Jews of Pinsk: 1506-1880. He co-edited The Jews of Pinsk: 1880-1939 and Rabbinic Fantasies: Imaginative Narratives from Classical Hebrew Literature.
His interest in Jewish studies is evident from his writings and his role as former head of Jewish Studies at City College.
Mark's short fiction, reviews, essays and criticism have appeared in numerous publications including The Reading Room, American Review, The Brooklyn Rail, Partisan Review, The Washington Post, New York, American Book Review, The Boston Sunday Globe Magazine, Phoenix, New York Sunday Times Book Review, Tree, The Progressive, TriQuarterly, The Chronicle of Higher Education, New York Arts Journal, Mississippi Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Literary Review, Denver Quarterly, Response, The Quarterly, Kerem and Five Fingers Review
Mark's recent publications include a story in the spring/summer 2008 issue of the Chicago literary magazine Make, a critical piece in issue 24 of McSweeney's (2007) on Donald Barthelme, the former star of the MA in Creative Writing faculty and the story Insomnia in Awake edited by Seven Lee Beeber He also had a full production of his play Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, premiered in the summer of 2007 in New York.
His academic and professional honors include a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship, an NEH Senior Fellowship, a CAPS Fellowship, a CUNY Research Foundation Award and a New York Foundation for the Arts Award.See More Profiles
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