About Cal

Reading Turning Pages at Flyleaf Apr 12.jpg

I returned to poetry after a 35 year absence writing poems with science concepts. I am working on stories of my life and times, as it sometimes seems every writer is today—wondering how we got to the place where we are. For me it was a surprise. Life is full of surprises, but never the way it is now. My only degree is in English (Yale '72).

My early influences in college were all the poets in Donald Allen's New American Poetry, and some who weren't, but most notably Charles Olson, Robert Creeley, and the Black Mountain College poets of western North Carolina, years before ever dreaming I'd live in NC.

As a child of the Space Age, my interest in science began at about age 7, as you can see at "Juvenilia" in the Poems section with my first published poem, On Beyond Pluto, written in a snow day while looking out the window on a swirling field of white powder in Livingston, NJ, which the town newspaper published. That same newspaper, The West Essex Tribune, is publishing another poem of mine, “Custodian,” in March ’19 with an interview of me.

I had several brilliant friends at Livingston High School, especially in the cutting edge knowledge of the "new" physics so far beyond me that by age 16 I felt I'd hit my ceiling on science, and didn't study it again until a beginning level History of Science course in my last semester at Yale, taught by a world-renowned professor. I was fascinated by the entire scope of science.

After college I realized how little I really knew, so I kept reading in science (especially physics, astrophysics, chaos theory, evolution, and related subjects), in history, and some novels: Thomas Hardy, and all the works of both Thomas Mann and later Jack Kerouac, whom my professors didn't think worthy of serious study, but I found that I loved his work and his story.

The picture at top shows me admiring a championship medal in discus. I didn't take up discus and shot until the same year I put aside academic science, and in all seriousness, those sports events kept the idea of physics in my mind in a visceral way till I stopped competing at age 45. As one of the old truck drivers who worked for me in my career in transportation taught me, the most important thing to know is: "Gravity always works. Make it work for you."

My most recent work is based on experiences in my life, and much more serious than my earlier work. I’m working much more on revisions and incorporating critiques, and concentrating on every single word. I am revising old poems until I feel they are ready for my first book. The manuscript will be ready within weeks.