Professor Emeritus of English Writing Arts, SUNY College at Oswego.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Lewis Turco was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1934, but when he was five his family moved to Meriden CT where he was brought up. He graduated from Meriden High School in 1952 and joined the U. S. Navy where he participated in the World Cruise of the USS HORNET, an aircraft carrier, in 1953-55. Released from active duty in 1956, he took the B. A. from the University of Connecticut in 1959 and the M. A. from the University of Iowa in 1962. He was the founding director of both the Cleveland State University Poetry Center (1962) and the Program in Writing Arts at S.U.N.Y. Oswego (1968). In 1992 he received a Distinguished Alumnus Award from the Alumni Association of the University of Connecticut; he was inducted into the Meriden, Connecticut, Hall of Fame in 1993, and in 1999 he received the John Ciardi Award for lifetime achievement in poetry sponsored by the periodical Italian Americana and the National Italian American Foundation. In May 2000 Mr. Turco received an honorary degree, Doctor of Humane Letters, from Ashland University in Ohio, and another in 2009 from the University of Maine at Fort Kent. In June 2004 he was honored with a panel and gave a reading at the West Chester University Poetry Conference in Pennsylvania where a festschrift, "Lewis Turco and His Work: A Celebration," edited by Dr. Steven E. Swerdfeger, Ph.D., was published by Star Cloud. In 2007 the Conference gave him its Robert Fitzgerald Prosody Award. He is listed in "Who's Who in America."
The author of fifty books, chapbooks, and monographs, Lewis Turco has published "The Book of Forms: A Handbook of Poetics" (E. P. Dutton, 1968), which, over the decades, has become known as “the poet's bible”; "Awaken, Bells Falling: Poems 1959-1968" (University of Missouri Press, 1968); "The New Book of Forms (University Press of New England," 1986); "Visions and Revisions of American Poetry" (University of Arkansas Press, winner of the Poetry Society of America's 1986 Melville Cane Award for literary criticism, judged by Donald Davie); "The Shifting Web: New and Selected Poems" (University of Arkansas Press, 1989), "The Public Poet: Five Lectures on the Art and Craft of Poetry" (Ashland University Poetry Press, 1991); and "Emily Dickinson: Woman of Letters, Poems and Centos from Lines in Emily Dickinson's Letters" (State University of New York Press, 1993). He was the 1997 winner, with his Italian translator Joseph Alessia, of the first annual Bordighera Bilingual Poetry Prize for his "A Book of Fears" (Bordighera, 1998, judged by Felix Stefanile); a collection of memoirs, "Shaking the Family Tree," was published simultaneously by the same publisher.
"The Book of Literary Terms, The Genres of Fiction, Drama, Nonfiction, Literary Criticism and Scholarship" (1999) was cited by "Choice" as an “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2000. In the same year a companion volume, the third edition of "The Book of Forms" was published and selected to appear in the New York City Schools’ list of “Recommended Books for Teachers.” In 2004 a third volume in the series appeared, "The Book of Dialogue" which was included in the 2005 list of “University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries.” All three of these books were published by the University Press of New England. .
Also in 2004 Star Cloud Press of Scottsdale, Arizona, published "A Sheaf of Leaves: Literary Memoirs" and "The Collected Lyrics of Lewis Turco / Wesli Court 1953-2004"; in 2005 "Fantaseers, A Book of Memories" appeared, and in 2007, "Fearful Pleasures: The Complete Poems of Lewis Turco." In 2008 Star Cloud published "The Museum of Ordinary People and Other Stories" and in 2009 "Satan's Scourge, A Narrative of the Age of Witchcraft in England and New England, 1590-1697." In the same year Bordighera published "La Famiglia / The Family," a book of Turco family memoirs, and Ahadada Books published a free, downloadable, on-line chapbook of poems titled "Attic, Shed, and Barn."
Mr. Turco has collaborated with various artists over the years. At S.U.N.Y. Oswego the poet collaborated first in 1966 with the printmaker Thom. Seawell in three poemprints, "Image Tinged with No Color" in holograph, etching by Thom. Seawell, in a limited edition of 20 copies; "My Country Wife," a serigraph in a limited edition of 12 copies, and "School Drawing," in holograph, a woodcut in a limited edition of 16 copies, all three signed by both poet and artist. Their final collaboration was on a book, "The Inhabitant," poems, with prints by Thom. Seawell, including the inspiration for the book, a huge woodcut, “The House,” by Seawell, both projects funded by summer Faculty Fellowships from the Research Foundation of State University of New York. The book was published by Despa Press in 1970.
"While the Spider Slept," a ballet based upon his poem "November 22, 1963,” choreographed by Brian Macdonald with music by Maurice Karkoff, was performed in 1968 and subsequently by the Royal Swedish Ballet and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet. Collaborations with the Dutch composer Walter Hekster include several song settings which received their world premier by Trio Il Castello: Ilse van de Kasteelen, Jan van der Meer, Koos Verheul, Programma T+Concert, Cantina Vocaal, Amsterdam, Holland, 19 January 2003. Together they wrote and published a chamber opera, "The Fog" (Donemus, 1987).
Four Turco poems from the series titled "The Green Maces of Autumn: Voices in an Old Maine House" appeared in national juried art and poetry exhibits mounted by the Peconic Gallery of Riverhead, Long Island, New York: "Priscilla Bourne" was a part of "The Family" exhibition in the winter of 1991; "Francis Pullen" appeared in the "Heroes" exhibition during the winter of 1992, "William Mason" was shown in the "Imagination" exhibition during the winter of 1993, and “Jason Pullen” appeared in the "Passion" exhibition during the spring of 1994 which traveled subsequently to the Rathbone Gallery of Sage Junior College of Albany. The complete series of poems, "The Green Maces of Autumn: Voices in an Old Maine House" was published in 2000 by the Mathom Bookshop. Turco's "Bordello: PoemPrints," a portfolio with collaborator printmaker George O'Connell, was published during a debut exhibition from April 11 to May 12, 1996, at The Rathbone Gallery in Albany, New York. Another collaboration, "The Jazz Joint," was included in a four-person show, "Some Kind of Narrative," at the Kirkland (New York) Art Center during March 2001. “Collaboration: Poems by Lewis Turco, Prints by George O'Connell, A Retrospective 1981-2001” opened at the Tyler Art Gallery at Oswego State University on October 13, 2001 and ran for one month.
books, collecting books, writing books, criticizing books.