Biography of Dan Liberthson

Born in Rochester, NY, I attended Reed College, Northwestern University (BA, history) and SUNY at Buffalo (PhD, English), and now live in San Francisco. My poetry and writing are driven by a few core beliefs: the importance of telling a story, the need to tell it in a disciplined way, and a belief that the sound of the language, too often neglected, is a forceful agent of expression. Most of my books  of poetry are illustrated, as I believe poetry is made stronger presented in combination with visual images. My work been published in small magazines, professional reviews, and newsletters.

My newest book, A Poetry of Birds: Poems About Birds and the Photographs that Inspired Them (2017), comprises 38 poems about various bird species paired with photographs of the birds by naturalist and wildlife photographer Ron LeValley. The poems reflect on the beauty, lives, and behaviors of the birds, both in themselves and as they relate to human life. Prior books of poetry include  Morning and Begin Again (2012), which explores ambiguity and ambivalence in human life, with sections on childhood, love, transience, depression, nature and art, places lived in and visited, and remembrances of loved ones lost. Animal Songs (2010) is a book of poetry that delves into the powerful presence of animals in our lives. Intimates in our homes, predators or prey in the wild, and inspirations in both worlds, they help us realize what it means to be alive. Other books of poetry include The Pitch is On the Way: Poems About Baseball and Life (2008), which explores baseball and what the game means to its fans, and A Family Album: Living with Schizophrenia (2006), poems about my childhood in and growth out of a passionate American Jewish family with a schizophrenic younger sister.

I have also written The Golden Spider (2012), a fantasy/science fiction novel created primarily for children aged 9-14, but, because I don’t “dumb down” either the story or the vocabulary, also a good read for older kids and adults. The cosmic battle of good versus evil and life against death plays out in the adventures of Jeremy Taylor, his friends Sandy and Zack, his wise and telepathic cat, and the golden alien who leads them on a cosmic journey.


Dan and BeauThe dog leans...

Sweet, insistent bunny...

As I Lay Cozily...coyote


A low rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. From far away came the thin, sad whistle of a passing train. Jeremy wondered what sort of people were on the train, and where they were going. You couldn't get to Egypt on a train. He wouldn't get to Egypt at all now that Gramps was gone.

* * *

The two-faced chess clock stared expectantly at Peter, but his indecisive hand froze achingly above the pin. Time was a wedge driven into his forehead. The black pieces gazed amusedly into his eyes, while his white men exposed their vulnerable backs to the enemy, cast their gazes down at the board, and refused to recognize him. Were they ashamed?