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BIOGRAPHICAL NOTES

He listened to and watched that strange adult world as he grew up in Lakeland, Florida, during the thirties; and, with his grandfather’s help, he started writing poems, usually during summers in Savannah or Buena Vista, Georgia, where he was too sickly to play with athletic cousins. And since he was one of the few kids, back then, who played the piano well, a student at the age of 8 at Florida Southern College, he had a wonderful opportunity to play throughout central Florida and overhear women in Winter Haven and Lake Wales and men in Tampa and Orlando talk about the whispered sides of their lives. He would play Liszt after a luncheon meeting and rush home to write a poem about some slick man with polished nails or the woman who hissed that she never wore underwear.

During college at Washington and Lee and Princeton, where he could not tie himself to one major, and during a year in Europe on a Fulbright, he was a loner, watching and listening and trying to find ways to make verbal music out of human experience. He sat on mountain tops in Switzerland and listened to an echo of voices, slept in cheap youth hostels, fell in love with Australian girls and the Grand Canal in Venice, ate in the cheapest White-Russian cafés in Paris, and tried to write poems more up-to-date than Keats, who had been his first love when he was 12. And then, after a couple of years in the army where, stationed in D.C., he spent most of his time looking at paintings and writing about that, he hit thirty. And then he married and taught at Dartmouth and Drexel and had a family, two daughters, an equestrienne and a scholar, and found that poetry had to be relegated to summer vacations — though the poems kept coming anyway, even after he grew tired of trying to fit into ‘the literary scene,’ a scene that never worked for him except when he was dramatically reading his poems in bars and bookshops of Philadelphia.

And so another 20 years passed and he was 50, retired from teaching he could no longer do with enthusiasm, unhappy with his life, divorced, trying to be a painter or a musician, which he admits he isn’t; but still he wrote poems, volume after volume. And the world turned around, in spite of the stupid wars of power and politics: The poems came with more frequency; he met and married a wonderful musician/physician/ photographer, Andrea Baldeck, from Rochester, New York, who peered out at the world with as much curiosity as he; and they went places where they could explore their own possibilities in their art. They spent several winters on a strange little island called Carriacou where the food was bad and the wine terrible, but the people warm and accepting; they spent several springs and autumns on Cumberland Island, off the coast of Georgia, watching people and gulls and the crashing of waves. And then, following a hunger they had both had since youth, they rented and furnished a flat on the Grand Canal in Venice, where they lived half the time for 7 years. Many poems in Dark Encounter in Mid Air and photographs in Andrea's Venice a personal View were created from or in the windows of that apartment as they watched boats and waved to tourists and tried to help out at the Guggenheim and hugged their way into dozens of friendships.

They continue to have a life in Philadelphia and their Montgomery County suburb, where they are surrounded by gardens and great piles of books and a growing collection of art that’s mostly local or East Asian. Their house is full of boxes of framed photographs for her shows and music they play for themselves and rich smells from experimental projects in the kitchen, a chicken stuffed with kumquats and garlics or bread made with grains they grind. And they have both been generous and active, sometimes in a pushing way, on boards and committees: he on the boards of Curtis Institute, the Wilma Theatre, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art; she on the boards of Vassar, the University Museum of the University of Pennsylvania, and Settlement Music School. “We collaborate even there,” he says, “helping each other dig through annual reports and trying to think through the implications of budgets”. While they consider themselves primarily artists, her scientific training and his financial experiences have helped them be more than check writers for organizations in which they believe.

Her photographs and his poems are a continuing manifestation of a collaboration as well as the result of what they have seen out there in a crazy world. The poems are still his; the photographs are hers — but the work is something they hope will move the reader or the viewer as only music, images, verbal rhythms, and felt ideas can.