Biography of Dan Liberthson

Poetry Awards

William Stafford Memorial Award, 2020, 2nd Place, for "Reading James Wright"
Maine Poets Society Award, 2nd ¬†Place, for “The Lighthouse”
Georgia Poetry Society Contest, 2022, First Honorable Mention for “Robert¬† Gwathney’s “'Cotton Picker'”

Selected Publications (individual poems and stories)

Black Buzzard Review
Chaminade Literary Review
Elysian Fields Quarterly
Encore (a volume of prize poems published by the National Federation of State Poetry Societies)
Graffiti (a Eugene, Oregon tabloid)
Language of Shadows (2021 Anthology of Lane County, Oregon authors, by the Cottage Grove Harpies)
Miraloma Life (a community newsletter)
Passages (2022 Anthology of Lane County, Oregon authors, by the Cottage Grove Harpies)
South Coast Poetry Journal
Spitball, The Literary Baseball Magazine
The Haight-Ashbury Literary Journal
The Neovictorian / Cochlea

Personal History

Born in Rochester, New York, I attended Reed College, Northwestern University (BA, history) and SUNY at Buffalo (PhD, English), and now split my time between San Francisco, CA and Cottage Grove, OR. After 3 years of teaching English at Kent State and Akron universities in Ohio, and a brief period doing the same for the US Navy's PACE program, I segued into a 3-decade career as a consulting technical and medical writer in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Like many writers, I find that the worlds I create and inhabit in my fiction and poetry are often more engrossing and intense than my "real" life. The latest of these worlds is my espionage novel The Bluejay Contrivance. It is primarily set in the mid-1970s, but as a work of fiction rich in history it includes material from as far back as World War II and takes place in many locales throughout the world. I made this foray into a genre I had not previously explored because I enjoy challenging myself with projects of radically different types. My prior novel was a first for me as well: The Golden Spider, a middle-grade fantasy novel, draws on settings and themes from my experiences living in upstate New York and Ohio and stars a telepathic cat and a golden alien who accompany a young boy on a cosmic journey.

I have published five books of poetry for adults, four of which include photos or drawings, as I believe poetry is stronger in combination with visual images. A Poetry of Birds (2017), my latest collection, includes 38 free-verse poems about various wild bird species. The poems are accompanied by full-color prints of the photographs that inspired them, taken by a professional wildlife and nature photographer. The poems in Animal Songs (2010), which explore the power of animals to inspire a fuller experience of life, are accompanied by professionally drawn illustrations. The Pitch is On the Way: Poems About Baseball and Life (2008) explores the game and what it means to fans, and features striking line drawings. Garrison Keillor read the poem "Child's Play" from this book on his radio show "The Writer's Almanac" (Aug 30, 2012). A Family Album (2006) comprises poems about my childhood in, and growth out of, an American Jewish family with a mentally ill sister. Many of the poems are accompanied by old family photos and geometric constructions that express in visual form the emotional tone of the particular family figure or relationship. Morning and Begin Again is a large collection of poems that grapple with the struggles, strife, and occasional triumphs of life. One section of this thematically arranged book comprises elegies, memorial poems and celebrations of close friends ripped away by death; another describes my experiences battling and surmounting the depressions that have dogged me throughout my life; and yet another explores the loves and joys that helped lift me out of the dark places.


Snippets

 

 

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?