Quincy Troupe

Ivor Griffiths, Poet, Novelist & Short Story Writer

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Quincy Thomas Troupe, Jr., born July 22, 1939, in St Louis , Missouri, is a poet, editor (recently the Styx River Magazine), journalist, and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego, in La Jolla, California.


  • 1 Early life
  • 2 Career
  • 3 Bibliography
  • 4 External links

Early life

The son of Negro League baseball catcher Quincy Trouppe (who added a second "P" to the family name while playing in Mexico to accommodate the Spanish pronunciation "Trou-pay"), Troupe Jr. attended Grambling State University on a baseball scholarship; he failed to finish either of his first two semesters and subsequently joined the United States Army. In his free time as a soldier, he developed the passion for writing that would define his career.

Upon his return to civilian life, Troupe moved to Los Angeles, where he encountered the Watts Writers Workshop and began working in a more jazz-based style. It was on a tour with the Watts group that he first began his academic life.


In 1969, Troupe visited Ohio University with the poetry tour; he would soon be offered a position as writer-in-residence. In 1971, he moved to Richmond College on Staten Island in New York City, where he was a lecturer.

In 1976, Richmond College underwent a merger and became the College of Staten Island of the City University of New York. It was during this transition, Troupe later revealed, that he adjusted his curriculum vitae to include a (fictitious) bachelor's degree he claimed to have earned in 1963 from Grambling; he made the addition in order to possibly attain tenure, which he likely could not have done without an academic degree. The fiction would go unchallenged for nearly three decades.

The next few years would see Troupe become a celebrity in the academic world, winning an American Book Award for 1989's Miles, the Autobiography (written with Miles Davis) and earning numerous other accolades. In 1990, Troupe moved to the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) as a professor of literature, where he continued to gain acclaim.

In early 2002 Troupe was named California's first Poet Laureate; he took office June 11, 2002. A background check related to the new position revealed that Troupe had, in fact, never possessed a degree from Grambling; confronted with the information, he resigned the post. After UCSD considered suspending him without pay, he retired from his academic position as well.

Other notable Troupe works include James Baldwin: The Legacy (1989) and Miles and Me: A Memoir of Miles Davis (2000). He also edited Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writing (1975) and is a founding editor of Confrontation: A Journal of Third World Literature and American Rag. He taught creative writing for the Watts Writers’ Movement from 1966 to 1968 and served as director of the Malcolm X Center in Los Angeles during the summers of 1969 and 1970.

The year 2006 saw the publishing of his collaboration with self-made millionaire Chris Gardner on the latter's autobiography, The Pursuit of Happyness. The book served as the inspiration for a film of the same name later that year starring Will Smith.

Among his honors and awards are fellowships from the National Foundation for the Arts, the New York Foundation for the Arts, and a grant from the New York State Council on the Arts.

Today, Troupe lives with his wife, Margaret in Harlem, New York City.


  • The Architecture of Language, poems, Coffee House Press, (October 2006)
  • Little Stevie Wonder, A children's book, Houghton-Mifflin, (March,2005)
  • Transcircularities; New and Selected Poems, Coffee House Press, October, 2002
  • Take it to the hoop Magic Johnson, a children's book published by Jump At The Sun, a division of Hyperion/Disney Books of Children, 2001
  • Miles and Me; A Memoir. Hardcover edition, University of California Press, 2000
  • Choruses, poems, Coffee House Press, 1999
  • Avalanche, poems, Coffee House Press, 1996
  • Weather Reports: New and Selected Poems, Harlem River Press, New York and London, 1991
  • Miles: The Autobiography of Miles Davis with Quincy Troupe, Quincy Troupe, Co-author, Simon & Schuster, New York, 1989
  • James Baldwin: The Legacy, Quincy Troupe, ed., Touchstone Press (Simon & Schuster), New York 1989
  • Skulls Along the River, poems, Quincy Troupe, I. Reed Books, New York, 1984
  • Snake-Back Solos: Selected Poems 1969-1977, Quincy Troupe, I. Reed Books, New York, 1979
  • The Inside Story of TV's Roots, Quincy Troupe and David L. Wolper, Warner Books, New York, 1978
  • Giant Talk: An Anthology of Third World Writing, Rainer Schulte and Quincy Troupe, eds., Random House, New York, 1972
  • Embryo, Quincy Troupe, Balenmir House, New York, 1972
  • Watts Poets and Writers, Quincy Troupe, ed., House of Respect, California, 1968

Audio cassettes and compact discs

  • Quincy Troupe with Pianist Donal Fox, audio cassette, Videmus Records, June 1996
  • Shaman Man, Quincy Troupe, Watershed Tapes, Washington, DC 1990
  • George Lewis Changing with the Times, New World Records, New York, NY, 1993
  • Root Doctor, New Alliance Records, Lawndale, CA, March, 1995
  • 90.3 WCPN
  • The Decline & Fall Of Quincy Troupe
  • Fall From Grace, from The Chronicle of Higher Education, April 4, 2003
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