Thursday, December 3, 2009

Acceptance In Offcourse

Two of my best poems, “Church Memory” and “Corroded Coin” were picked up by Offcourse, a journal run since 1998 by Ricardo Nirenberg, professor emeritus at SUNY Albany. The university has ties with Offcourse through Nirenberg, and also provides server support for the journal (

SUNY shows nobility and acumen in keeping an association with this journal, for Nirenberg is really really smart, a kind of renaissance genius. As a professor of mathematics, he taught a spectrum of courses, including advanced seminars at the graduate level, topics I can’t even begin to understand. For instance, the title of his thesis is: On Pseudo-Quasiconformality in Several Complex Variables.

He has published two literary novels (Cry Uncle and Wave Mechanics: A Love Story) and a raft of probingly brilliant essays. If you read his prose, you find that he has mastered concepts, theories, and worldviews in a broadly multidisciplinary way. He witnesses the universe through the apex lenses of both mathematics and literature, and it is quite evident in his writing.

It is also apparent in the devastating accuracy of his social critiques. Indeed, one of the truly great things about Nirenberg is his genuine appraisal of the world. The resolution of many beams of insight and knowledge into an ethos radiant with wisdom. Although I am not an aficionado of gurus, if you’re looking for highest learning of a philosophical and psychic nature, read the works of Nirenberg, and also take a look at Offcourse.

Finally, I want to give a special mention to Isabel Nirenberg, who does a good deal of work for the journal, serving as a diligent and patient manager. I have been accepted a few times now, and have not always been the most genteel contributor; but she has always shown consummate professionalism and courtesy. The editors Nirenberg make a great team.

It is a wonderful gift not only to the poetry community, but also the larger realm of learned thought and artistic passion, that they exist and strive.


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