Winner of the 2020 Society of Classical Poets Competition and the only American ever to win the Scottish International Open Poetry Competition, MacKenzie has studied the history of the sonnet in five languages. With his M.A. in French Studies and a minor in Italian, MacKenzie's philological approach to English gives his verses a timeless quality readers love.
In 1997, MacKenzie completed his Ph.D. program at the University of New Mexico but was denied his doctorate. When the poet returned from teaching and researching in Paris, he found that his dissertation directress, Claude-Marie Senninger (of the University of Paris, La Sorbonne), had been forced out of her own department by a newly hired group of Marxist "critical theorists." These demanded MacKenzie remove the word "Christ" from his dissertation, as well as any mention of Catholics deported during the Nazi occupation, on pain of forfeiting the Ph.D. he had effectively earned. MacKenzie refused.
Subsequently entering the religious life, MacKenzie went on to study traditional Catholic theology in France, Switzerland, Italy, and the United States. After his ordination to the Minor Orders of Porter, Lector, Acolyte, and Exorcist, he left the clerical state and later met and married the beautiful Lady of the Sonnets who inspires his popular love poetry.
"The divine purpose of poetry is the glory of God and conversion of souls." —Joseph Charles MacKenzie