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Rockland County Names College English Professor Rockland’s First Poet Laureate

Rockland County Names College English Professor Rockland’s First Poet Laureate

(l to r) Dan Masterson, SUNY Rockland Community College English Professor, was named Rockland’s first Poet Laureate by Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell and Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

DATE: February 26, 2009

CONTACT: Lisa Saunders

(845) 574 - 4244

lsaunde2@sunyrockland.edu

 

Rockland County Names SUNY Rockland Community College English Professor
Rockland's First Poet Laureate

 

Suffern, NY - Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and Rockland County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell named Dan Masterson, a Rockland Community College English Professor, as Rockland's first Poet Laureate for 2009-2011 at a ceremony held on February 24.

 

For the past 45 years, Masterson of Pearl River has been teaching English at Rockland Community College, including numerous poetry courses and workshops.  The world-renowned poet has given more than one thousand poetry readings, lectures and seminars on the national poetry circuit.

 

As first poet laureate, Masterson will help determine the protocol to be used to establish future poets laureate.

 

"We are thrilled to welcome and congratulate Dan Masterson as Rockland's first Poet Laureate," said Vanderhoef.  "With a love and passion for poetry, he has encouraged many and will continue to have a lasting impact on them."

 

Masterson is the recipient of the State University of New York Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, two Pushcart Prizes, along with the Bullis, Borestone, and Fels national poetry prizes.  He is the author of four published books, "On Earth as It Is"; "Those Who Trespass"; "All Things, Seen and Unseen" and "World Without End."  Masterson's work has appeared in various publications including Esquire, The New Yorker and The London Magazine.

 

"Dan is a prize-winning poet whose poems have appeared in major publications on two continents. He has taught and mentored new generations of poets, authors and screenwriters.  He is the perfect person to serve as Rockland's first Poet Laureate," said Cornell.  "Not only will he bring distinction to this post, he will also remind us that poetry has the power to reveal the human condition in all its aspects.  I am particularly pleased that he has agreed to establish a protocol for selection of future Poet Laureates for Rockland."

 

Dr. Cliff L. Wood, President, Rockland Community College, said, "The College is proud to have world-renowned poet Dan Masterson as a member of our faculty.  He has inspired decades of students, from our honors students who have gone on to the Ivy League, to those who simply needed to learn the fine art of expression."

 

Former Masterson student, Art Gunther of Blauvelt, a retired Rockland Journal News editor, earned his associate's at the College while working full-time at the newspaper. Masterson was his instructor for a Creative Writing class more than 40 years ago in 1966. Gunther said, "His approach was to let the student's imagination roam, to draw deeply from life's experiences, to 'write from the soul.' Best advice I ever had."

 

Masterson is grateful to many poets who have inspired him, including legendary Rockland poets Marya Zaturenska and Horace Gregory.

 

Masterson was born in Buffalo, New York, in February 1934.  He resides in Pearl River with his wife Janet, where they welcome their two children and their families.

 

In celebration of Rockland Community College's 50th Anniversary, a poetry event will be held on November 12, 7 p.m., at the College. Masterson will read his poetry and feature the work of former poetry students.  If you were his student, submit a poem to prdan@optonline.net by May 30 and it will be showcased at the event.

 

For more information about the Poetry Event on November 12, contact Poetry Celebration Co-Chairs, English Professors Dr. Neil Kreitzer at nkreitze@sunyrockland.edu, 845-574-4355, or Reamy Jansen, ajansen@sunyrockland.edu or 845-574-4344

 

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Rockland Community College, a unit of the State University of New York, is located 25 miles northwest of NYC. The majority of its students transfer to four-year colleges, and many find immediate employment upon earning their associate's degree or certificate. The College also offers others, from preschoolers to senior citizens, the opportunity to simply learn something new. Quality education...at a price you can afford.

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