Stephen Morrissey’s family roots in Canada are very deep; his family left Mullinahone, County Tipperary, Ireland in 1837 and settled in Newcastle, New Brunswick. A few years later Morrissey’s great, great, grandparents moved to Montreal where Stephen Morrissey still lives. Morrissey has researched and written an extensive history of his family, Patrick Morrissy and Mary Phelan: Some of their Descendants and Relatives in Canada.
Stephen Morrissey is the author of eight books of poetry; The Trees of Unknowing (1978), Divisions (1983), Family Album (1989) and Girouard Avenue (2009) explore themes such as the loss of innocence, redemption through self-revelation, and transformation through romantic love. Morrissey’s “The Shadow Trilogy”—The Compass (1993), The Yoni Rocks (1995), and The Mystic Beast (1997)—continues these same themes and concerns but also shows the influence of the writings of Swiss psychologist C.G. Jung, especially Jung’s concepts of the anima, archetypes, and the shadow. Morrissey was also influenced by the teachings of J. Krishnamurti. Morrissey attended Krishnamurti’s “Talks” in Saanen, Switzerland, in 1974; in Ojai, California, in 1976; and in New York City in 1984.
Stephen Morrissey earned his B.A., Honours English with Distinction, at Sir George Williams University (now Concordia University) in 1973. Morrissey studied with Louis Dudek at McGill University (M.A., English, 1976) where he was awarded the Peterson Memorial Prize in English Literature. In 1997 the Government of Quebec named an island in northern Quebec after a phrase from one of Morrissey’s poems, "La Vingt-Septieme Lettre." Morrissey is also the recipient of several Canada Council writing grants.
Morrissey’s work has been translated into French and Spanish. Morrissey is the co-author of The Aquarian Symbols, The 360 Degrees of the Zodiac (2000) with Carolyn Joyce. Stephen Morrissey has read his work at universities and other venues in the United States and across Canada, from Memorial University of Newfoundland to the University of British Columbia, at Place des Arts and the Salon des Livres in Montreal, and on CBC radio.
Stephen Morrissey is married to west coast poet Carolyn Zonailo; in 1999 they founded Coracle Press which publishes books, chapbooks, and online chapbooks. His literary papers are housed at Rare Books and Special Collections, McLennan Library, McGill University. Stephen Morrissey is a member of The Writers’ Union of Canada, The League of Canadian Poets, and the C.G. Jung Society of Montreal.
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Hamilton Arts and Letters, fall 2012