"A poet now whose work and dedication to a demanding and difficult art I admire;
a man who has the gift of inner grace." —Robert Hayden
I'm an epic poet, rhapsode, poet-critic, and the author or editor of ten books. I studied writing under a private tutorial, at the University of Michigan, with the poet Robert Hayden and edited both Hayden’s Collected Prose (University of Michigan Press) and his Collected Poems (Liveright), and am the Literary Executor of the Hayden Estate. I hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from the University of Michigan, the latter in English. At the college and university level, I taught rhetoric, American and non-Western literature, humanities, world religions, etc., for ten years.
I lived for more than fifteen years outside Michigan—in Japan, where I taught at Gunma University in Maebashi; in Arizona, on the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, site of one of the largest internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII; in Illinois, on the central farmlands and on the Mississippi; ultimately returning to my suburban hometown of Rochester.
A Fulbright-Hays scholar to China in 1994, I studied at Beijing University, the Buddhist Mogao Caves on the old Silk Road, and elsewhere in China, including Hong Kong and the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. While a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar in 1995 on India, I further explored the conflicts between the traditional regional civilizations of Islamic and Hindu cultures and modernity.
I have been an outspoken advocate of the United Nations, an accredited participant at the UN Millennium Forum (2000), and attended the UNA Members Day 2012 on the Millennium Development Goals, held in the General Assembly Hall.
I spoke about Robert Hayden at the centennial celebrations held for him at the University of Michigan in November, 2013, and at Wayne State University in April, 2014, as well as read at each event from the canto of my epic poem in which Hayden is a character. Both Hayden centennial essays are included in The Myth of the Enlightenment. YouTube I also spoke on Hayden for Poetry Month, 2017, at the Detroit Public Library and read Hayden's poems about outer space, and read from my epic poem. On May 16, 2017, I lectured on "The Poetry of Robert Hayden" at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.
In 1977 I took a theatre course in the Interpretative Reading of Poetry, learning that the Greek rhapsodes would travel throughout ancient Greece reciting Homer. Before long the idea of writing an epic poem began to compel me toward it and the dream that one day I might also revive the art of the rhapsode.
The Grove of the Eumenides: Essays on Literature, Criticism, and Culture forms much of the background study for The Parliament of Poets.
Political Views: Cooperative Global Governance, under a seriously developed United Nations, or successor institution, preferably prior to a nuclear, biological, or chemical apocalypse. Member/Board Member, UN Association of Greater Detroit UNA-USA. 2000/2012-2013.
Religious Views: Transcendence, Universality—God is not in a box—Tolstoy's Calendar of Wisdom, Emperor Akbar's Divine Faith, Adi Brahmo Samaj, Tagore's Religion of Man, and the universal teachings of Christ, essentially the Shema and the Golden Rule, not the doctrines Tolstoy rightly called "sorcery." That is, my "religious views" seek what all the "mystics," "heretics," and poets have sought throughout human history, East and West. By definition, religion does not consist of "organized" or "institutional religion." "It is written, man does not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God" (Matthew 4.4 KJV). In our global age, we can now see that "every word" means not only the Bible but the Upanishads, the Buddhist sutras, Adi Granth, the Quran, Analects, Dao de Ching, the wisdom traditions of the indigenous peoples, and so forth. Quantum physics and the new age and consciousness movements affirm this spiritual evolution toward universality. Participant/Member of the Leadership Team, Troy-area Interfaith Group, 2010-2013. Rochester Area Interfaith, 2017.
"Theologians may quarrel, but the mystics of the world speak the same language."—Meister Eckhart
"One I seek, One I know, One I see, One I call." —Rumi
"Truth is One; sages call it by many names." —Rig-Veda
"My soul is a Mosque for Muslims,
an Altar for Zoroastrians,
a Church for Christians,
a Synagogue for Jews,
and a pasture for gazelles..." —Ibn Arabi
"The heart of so great a mystery cannot ever be reached by following one road only." —Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402)
"Now it has become clear to me, that it cannot be wisdom to assert the truth of one faith over another. In our troubled world so full of contradictions, the wise person makes justice his guide and learns from all. Perhaps in this way the door may be opened again whose key has been lost." —Emperor Akbar (1542 – 1605)
"Jesus said, 'I am the light that is over all things. I am all: from me all has come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a piece of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there.'" —The Gospel of Thomas, from The Nag Hammadi Scriptures, ed. Marvin Meyer, 2007
"There can no longer be any doubt or hesitation in the mind of one who is completely and finally resolved to seek nothing and do nothing but what is willed for him by God's love." —Thomas Merton, Contemplative Prayer
"One who knows does not speak; one who speaks does not know." —Laozi, Tao de Ching
"The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass, God is waiting for you." —Werner Heisenberg. 1932 Nobel Prize for Quantum Physics
Email for scheduling epic poetry readings, interviews, whatever: email@example.com