everyones dream, isnt it? A long,
somewhat successful life, adventurous, hard, rich,
poor, traveled, read, children, grandchildren.
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. Doesnt
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.
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. Thats 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.)
Its been a life.
Quite amazing by anyones 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
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.
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.