Thursday, April 26, 2007

Entering the 21st Century!

Well, I guess it's about time I started one of these things. Although it has the potential to become a diary without a key, I thought I'd give it a shot. Most of the folks in my little poetry group have one, so I figured it was time to join the ranks. As I test-drive this baby, I suppose I'll get more of a feel for it and figure out exactly what I want to do with it. Primarily, I will be discussing and promoting my poetry.

I'm a career civil servant, but I have always loved writing poetry. I wrote a lot in my high school and college days, and had a minor in English at Rutgers. (One of my professors was Miguel Algarin, who co-founded the Nuyorican Poetry movement in NYC, the prescursor to the "slam" movement.) But once marriage, career and parenthood kicked in, I put poetry on the back burner. Then in 1999 I had a "personal renaissance" and started writing prolifically, and within a year I had my first real poetry publication: my poem "How to Peel an Orange" was published by the online journal Stirring: A Literary Collection. (That's the origin of my blog's title.) Since then I've been published in over 40 different print and online journals, and I've won prizes and awards from ByLine Magazine, Writer's Digest, Writers' Journal, and The Philadelphia Writer's Conference. I've workshopped with such famous poets as Paul Muldoon, Molly Peaccok, and Terrance Hayes. One of my biggest thrills was meeting Billy Collins recently. My poem, "Last Frame", was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2005. I've published three chapbooks of poetry, the latest being Wire to the Heart, which is available from Maverick Duck Press ( I'm currently a member of Quick and Dirty Poets, a very talented group out of Burlington County, NJ.

My other love is music - not so much as performer (unless you count my experience as baritone horn in the high school band), but as an appreciator of fine music. My tastes run the gamut from pop and rock to jazz, New Age, blues, bluegrass, classical, folk and Celtic. I'm not a big fan of rap, mainstream country, American Idol, or most opera. I have an extensive CD collection and listen to them whenever I have a chance. I've published over a hundred music reviews (many of them Spotlight Reviews) on Favorites? Too many to mention, though I'd start with The Beatles, Pink Floyd, Miles Davis, Richard Thompson, Paul Simon, Altan, Beethoven, Vivaldi, Bach, Philip Glass, et al. Some "newer" artists who have caught my ear are New Pornographers, Spoon, The Decemberists, Sufjan Stevens, and The Shins. I'll talk music with anyone, anytime.

I'm also a sucker for games, especially word games and trivia. I love Trivial Pursuit, acrostic puzzles, and games shows like Jeopardy. I have the distinction of having been a contestant on Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire - twice! Never got to the "hot seat" with Regis, but on the second show I missed it by just 4/10 of a second.

I'm happily married for nearly 34 years to my college sweetheart, and we have four great boys, age 30 to 11. The oldest is finishing his doctorate and just accepted a position at Hofstra University. My two middle ones are graduating from Rutgers in May, and my youngest is looking forward to graduation to middle school.

I guess that's more than enough for now. Watch this space!

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