I had never thought of myself as a writer until I turned to writing poetry in the mid-90s. At that time I’d been working for the State of New Jersey for about a decade, initially as a first responder to allegations of child abuse and neglect, and later assisting homeless families and those with mental health issues, disabilities, and/or AIDS to find permanent housing in the community. As I listened to the many stories, I began to search for a way to record what I had heard in order to give voice to those adults and children who struggle to survive against the odds, and also what I knew as a three-time adoptive parent to bi-racial children and foster parent to inner city teens.
Poetry felt like the right way to go. After countless rejections, I found journals interested in publishing my work, among them Out of Line, Journal of New Jersey Poets, Big Scream, and Pemmican. I branched out and began writing on a variety of subjects. To date, I’ve had more than 450 poems published in over 100 journals and anthologies. In 2018, Big Table Publishing brought out Marriage by Fire, a novella in short stories and poetry, and in 2021, A Little Excitement, poems to blunt the ravages of the pandemic, was published by Kelsay Books.
I’ve been managing editor of U.S.1 Worksheets, the journal of the U.S.1 Poets’ Cooperative in New Jersey for more than fifteen years. The journal was first published in 1973. Until recently we had worked hard to keep a print journal alive and had created a community of poets who looked forward to reading the work of poets familiar to them, if only through the pages of the journal.
I grew up outside of Chicago, attended Brandeis University, and graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Humanities. I arrived in Princeton, New Jersey in 1966 and have lived in this area ever since, with the exception of several extended stays in London. I have three children and three grandchildren, and have had an eclectic career in real estate, politics, community organization, academic research, public relations, interior design, teaching, day care administration and adoption advocacy. I received a fellowship to Ragdale in Illinois and spent several productive summers in Frank Bidart’s Master Class in Poetry at Skidmore.
Plain View Press published my first two full-length poetry books; Down to the Quick in 2007 and One Stands Guard, One Sleeps in 2009; three chapbooks followed-–A Siege of Raptors (Finishing Line Press, 2010), Detours & Diversions (Main Street Rag, 2011), and On Location, a collection of ekphrastic poems (March Street Press, 2011). I returned to my roots in Midwestern Memories (Aldrich Press, 2013) and to my social work career in Running Down Broken Cement, a collection of narrative poems from my eighteen years in the field (Main Street Rag, 2014). Retold fairy tales, The Owl Prince appeared in 2015 and Aldrich Press also published Ah, Men, a retrospective of men in my life in 2016.
My poems have also appeared in numerous anthologies and journals, including Segue, Liberty’s Vigil, Blue Lyra Review, Cyclamens and Swords, The Copperfield Review, New York Quarterly, Canary, Slant, Mudfish, Verse Wisconsin, Raven Chronicles, Exit 13, Stepaway Magazine, San Pedro River Review, Pudding Magazine, Poet Lore,Witness, Literary Mama, The Ledge, Slipstream, Lullwater Review, Chantarelle’s Notebook, Schuylkill Valley Journal, Rattapallax, Tiferet, Cultural Logic, Shot Glass Journal, Caduceus, and The Prose Poem Project.
A few years ago, I realized what I wanted to write about didn’t fit into the poetry format, so I turned to short stories, for example, The Man from Canajoarie (Schuylkill Valley Journal) and The Brass Urn (Kelsay Review). More recently I completed a novel, Shattered, about a young Marine, Matt, returning from Korea with PTSD in 1952 and Laine, the girl he falls for in a seemingly failed romance (reviewed in Misfit Magazine, Fall, 2019). Also newly posted, reviews of A Little Excitement appeared in North of Oxford, Midwest Book Review, and Misfit Magazine.(Spring, 2021).
In 2010, by happen chance, I ventured into the art world with an interest in collage and mixed media. I’ve been lucky to have my work accepted in numerous juried shows and exhibitions, displayed in libraries, galleries, coffee shops, street fairs, and in print and online journals, including epiphany, Rufous Salon, Sea Stories, Still Point Gallery, qarrtsiluni, Shot Glass Journal, The Broken City, Verse-virtual, Section 8 Magazine, The Redheaded Stepchild, The Meadowland Review. Shrew, and MacGuffin, and have begun to win awards.
The opportunities are endless; it just takes a lot of stamina.