|Strangers to Us All||
Lawyers and Poetry
Augustine Joseph Bowe
Augustine Joseph Bowe was a Chicago lawyer and jurist who served as chief justice of the municipal court of Chicago. He was also a civic leader, poet, patron of Poetry magazine, and served as President of the Modern Poetry Association.
"Augustine Bowe was born in Chicago on February 26, 1892 to John and Ellen Canavan Bowe. He attended Loyola University and Loyola Law School, receiving the degrees of A.B., M.A., and LL.B. Upon earning his law degree in 1913, Bowe founded the law firm Bowe & Bowe with his brother William, which specialized in worker's compensation cases. He continued to practice law in this capacity until 1960. He was president of the Chicago Bar Association in 1955 and 1956, and elected chief justice of the Chicago Municipal Court in 1960. Bowe was also passionate about civic issues and was active in several organizations including the Chicago Human Relations Commission, the Illinois Committee for Equal Job Opportunities, the Catholic Interracial Council, the National Conference on Christians and Jews, and the Cook County Prisioners Welfare Association.
Writing poetry was another passion of Bowe's. He became involved in Poetry through Inez Boulton, friend of he and his wife Julia and a Chicago society woman who taught poetry workshops and was a reader for the magazine. Bouton introduced the Bowe's to then editor George Dillon in 1940. Poetry was in dire financial straits at this time in the wake of Harriet Monroe's death, and the contentious removal [of] previous editor Morton Dauwen Zabel. Julia and Augustine Bowe came to the rescue of the floundering journal, Julia by offering her expertise in fundraising and Bowe with legal advice. In 1941 they helped form the Modern Poetry Association as a not-for-profit organization whose board members undertook financial responsibility for the magazine. Julia acted as secretary to the board, and continued organize highly successful fundraising events throughout the 1950s and 1960s. These years were not without controversey, and the Bowes were privy to a series of editorial and organizational turnovers that nearly undermined the magazine. Bowe initially published his work in Poetry, but ceased to submit his poems after becoming president of the Modern Poetry Association. He continued to write daily, filling hundreds of legal pads and typed pages with his poems. A book, No Gods are False was edited by friend and fellow poet John Frederick Nims, and published posthumously in 1967." [Biography of Augustine J. Bowe, The Newberry Library, Chicago, Illinois]
Augustine Joseph Bowe, No Gods Are False: Selected Poems (New York: Macmillan, 1968)
Bowe's Poetry in Poetry Magazine
The Queen, Vol. 57, January 1941, pg. 250
Augustine Joseph Bowe Papers
George Dillion Papers