Christian Taurice Bowman
What is your concentration?
My concentration is Literary Studies.
Why are you majoring in English?
When I first enrolled at Georgia State, I majored in physics. I’m pretty proficient at calculus, so I decided it would be a good idea. As I progressed in my major, I started to feel unfulfilled, and eventually my heart wasn’t in it at all. I’ve always been a reader and a writer, though. As a child, I kept a book in my hand; some of my favorites were Harry Potter, the Boxcar Children, the Uglies series, and Maniac Magee. I got into reading in seventh grade when my teachers placed me in advanced reading. The class took books more seriously, and I felt more accomplished in my reading than I had previously.
I think deep down I was meant to be a literature major. I have an ever-growing panoply of books at home, and the best thing I like to do when I have the free time is pick out a few poetry collections and just read. My roommates think it’s weird because I rarely have the TV on.
What was your favorite English class at Georgia State (so far)?
I liked most of my English classes to be honest, but the two that stand out were African-American Poetry with Dr. Heath and A Study of John Milton with Dr. Dobranski.
African-American Poetry simply resonated with me as a minority, and I was introduced to a bunch of black poets who went under the radar in high school. Learning about my culture’s poetic history helped me better craft my own writing and helped me better understand myself as a black man in America. African-American poetry explored everything from the simplistic soulfulness of Langston Hughes, to the scathing racial criticism of Amiri Baraka, to the urban rhythmic poetics of hip hop. I encourage anyone who has interest in black history and art to take it.
A Study of John Milton blew me away this semester. I had to take a study of a single author and had briefly touched on Milton in Renaissance Literature. However, I was not expecting an author so passionate about his craft and so beyond his years in his beliefs. A Study of John Milton was less like an English class and more like a combination of theology, philosophy, and literature. Let’s be honest: in classes you might skip a few works due to scheduling and other obligations. It’s simply the challenge of college. With Milton’s class, I didn’t want to skip anything. I felt his anxiety at turning twenty three in his Sonnet 7 “How Soon Hath Time” on my twenty-third birthday this year; I felt as if I myself knew “Lycidas” as a personal friend; and I absorbed every single book of Paradise Lost like a sponge.
What are some of your extra-curricular projects or activities?
I absolutely love music so I work at Georgia State’s radio station. I have been here for three years, but for the better part of two and a half years I hosted Crossroads, the blues show, because I’m an old man at heart and love the wailing voice of Junior Kimbrough, the soft Piedmont blues of Mississippi John Hurt, and of course the slow-hand licks of Eric Clapton. Of course, I listen to everything, and being on the radio has opened my eyes to so much more music.
I also work for Georgia State’s undergraduate literary journal on the poetry staff. Underground taught me a lot about publishing and editing, and forced me to take my peers’ poetry more seriously. We always hear about literary movements of the past: the Renaissance, Romanticism, Modernism, etc. I think our generation is really grasping the ambiguities and freedom of post-modernism and pushing it into something concrete. We are at the forefront of social justice, nuanced identity, and intercommunication, and that is reflected in millennial poetry. Who knows, maybe I’ll be teaching “Prog Modernism” or whatever we’ll call it 30 years in the future.
What long-term plans or aspirations do you have for your career?
I hate to say it, but I’m not 100 percent sure. I want to get back into guitar lessons because I’m getting a little bit rusty, but I also want to try my hand at stand-up comedy and maybe even acting. Eventually, I hope sooner than later, I want to go to grad school to get my PhD. I would also like to continue editing and publishing, as they give me incentive to keep up with current books; I tend to get stuck reading the classics (I told you, I’m an old man at heart). As it stands, though, it’s all up in the air. Whatever I decide I think I’ll be fine. I’ve made it this far without going crazy, haven’t I?