written by Nicholas Gordon
I was Born in 1940 in Albany, N.Y., but have lived in New York City or its environs for most of my life. I am married, with three adult children. I have a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Queens College, CUNY, and a master’s and doctorate in English and American literature from Stanford University. I am retired. For much of my working life, I taught English at New Jersey City University.
I began writing poetry seriously in the early 1980s, mostly to celebrate family occasions. While on sabbatical during the academic year 1997-98, I decided to expand the feelings and experiences on which my poetry is based by starting a Web site that would invite visitors to request poems. The inspiration for many of the poems on this site comes from those requests. Eventually, there were so many requests that it became impossible even to open all of the email, and so I had to delete the invitation from the site. But the impetus for many of the poems on the site remains my desire to be a voice for those who want their thoughts and feelings turned into poetry.
That is why my poetry is written from so many points of view and expresses such a variety of philosophies and life experiences. My own thoughts on the matter are summed up in Rule 4 of “Rules of a Skeptic”: “The only way to see something whole is from several points of view.”
My life has been full of the usual changes, disappointments, disillusionments, passions, mistakes, hopes, joys, ecstasies, and sorrows. I was born a “Red Diaper Baby”; that is, into a second-generation American Communist family. Disillusioned early with any ideology or dogmatism, I turned to music, studying at the School of Performing Arts and the Juilliard School of Music. But my hunger for ideas was stronger than my love for music, and so I went to Queens College and majored in English and creative writing.
Married too early, in midlife I went through a divorce, with all its attendant emotional and financial difficulties. I have worked at many odd jobs to try to make ends meet, including a waiter, a shipping clerk, a moving man, and a New York City cab driver. Now in retirement, married happily again, I can recollect my own life in tranquility and, I hope, find some words as well for the lives of others.