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About Earl Coleman

About Earl Coleman
click here for Earl's obituary

It’s everyone’s dream, isn’t it? A long, somewhat successful life, adventurous, hard, rich, poor, traveled, read, children, grandchildren.

The facts are these: born in the Bronx in 1916, dismal, poverty-stricken childhood, terrible student, college dropout, Air Force for five years; busted from PFC to Private for insubordination. Doesn’t sound too promising.

However: Married while in the Air Force, planted a kid before going overseas, came back to write and wound up founding a tiny publishing house.

Fled the anti-Red hysteria of the '50s and lived in France and England, came back to pick up the pieces, now with two kids and the tiny publishing house.

Drawing of Earl Coleman

Kids grew, business grew, and I could only write sporadically, although I always wrote and sometimes got published.

I can speak cavalierly about money only because I have some -- not much, but a little. That’s after divorce and re-marriage, success, failure, success. Leaving the publishing house to write full-time, not even sure that I could burn brightly enough, that I had to do it badly enough. Began pretty much from scratch ten years ago and here I am, miraculously with some of my marbles intact (although the proof of the pudding etc.)

It’s been a life. Quite amazing by anyone’s standards. I try to bring some of it to what I write.

If there is a writing gene it has sparked my lifelong love affair with words. In turn it has attracted me to women of the word: Fran, who wrote both prose and poetry, mother of Allan, world-famous as a writer on photographic subjects and a fine poet himself; his brother Dennis who won a city-wide short story contest at age twelve; my sister Lucille Bandes and my niece Susan Bandes, a law professor whose latest book is Passions of the Law; her brother Ken, who still writes poetry in betwen creating software programs; and my wife Ellen, an amazing critic and editor whose wealth of knowledge about writing is outstripped only by her insightfulness. At the outset of it all, my mother Rose, who insisted on the primacy of literacy and words, and who published a book of short stories in her nineties. One could well make a case for a writing gene, as for an acting gene.

-- Earl Coleman

About the Author: Earl Coleman

Born in New York City on January 9, 1916, Earl Coleman has spent his working life in the fields of publishing and creative writing. His career as a writer of fiction and poetry began in the late 1940s with the appearance of a short story in Esquire; at that time he was a protegé of the noted editor/agent Max Lieber.

In the late 1940s Coleman co-founded what eventually became the Plenum Publishing Corporation, a major New York-based scientific and technical publishing house of which he was President/CEO. By the late 1960s the company was publishing more than 100 Russian scientific journals in translation, plus numerous original-English scientific journals, 300 new scientific books annually, and extensive reprints in the humanities through Da Capo Press, one of its divisions.

Concurrent with his activities as a publisher, Coleman pursued his creative goals. During the 1940s and 1950s he ran writers' workshops -- for both poetry and fiction -- in Greenwich Village. (For a partial list of participants, click here for Workshops.) Out of those workshops came the literary magazine Venture, which appeared from 1954-1956 and presented works by many of the participants, including Coleman's poems and stories. In 1948 his poetry was also selected for inclusion in the anthology 12 Poets of the Fifth Season. A selection of his poems and stories appeared subsequently in New Writers 10 (1971), published by Calder and Boyars, London, that featured him alongside Floyd Salas and Gerald Robitaille.

Upon retiring from publishing in 1991 Coleman returned to his full-time writing. Over the past 10 years he has published more than a dozen short stories and over 300 poems in such journals as Amelia, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Friends Journal, Chattahoochee Review, and Hellas. In 1999 his short story "Weight and Weightlessness" was nominated for the prestigious Pushcart Prize; in 2001, a second story, "Big C, Little a" was so honored. Several completed novels and volumes of his short fiction currently await publication. His first solo book of poetry, A Stubborn Pine in a Stiff Wind, was published by the Mellen Poetry Press in October of 2001. A second, Earl Coleman — Greatest Hits 1960-2003, appeared in 2003. His most recent, Like Father Like Son, a collaboration with Allan Douglass Coleman, came out in 2007.

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© Copyright 2001-2009 by Earl Coleman except as indicated. All rights reserved.
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