Quincy Troupe

Jazz poet and author Quincy Troupe has led a colorful life (translation: there are bits of scandal mixed in with his achievements). The son of Negro League baseball catcher Quincy Trouppe (father and son spell their last names differently), the poet dropped out of Grambling State University as a young man to join the Army. Once his stint was up, he became writer-in-residence at Ohio University and eventually a lecturer at Richmond College in New York. He won tenure and wrote a number of important books including Miles, the Autobiography (1989), which he co-authored with Miles Davis, James Baldwin: The Legacy (1989) and Miles and Me: A Memoir of Miles Davis (2000).

Here comes the scandal. Troupe was named California's Poet Laureate in 2002. During a routine background check for that position, it was discovered Troupe had added a fictitious bachelor's degree from Grambling to his résumé in 1976 so as to attain tenure. Oops. He resigned as Poet Laureate, gave up his professorship (but kept his retirement package, thank you very much) and kept on writing. In 2006, he co-wrote The Pursuit of Happyness with self-made millionaire Chris Gardner. The book went on to inspire the film of the same title starring Will Smith. Troupe will be reading today at the University of Houston - Downtown, where the professors actually do have degrees. See, colorful. 6 p.m. One Main Street. For information, call 713-221-8000 or visit www.uhd.edu. Free.
Tue., Feb. 23, 6 p.m., 2010

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