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Rick Black

Rick Black

Born: in Bergenfield New Jersey, USA
Resides: Arlington, Virginia, USA
E-mail: rick (at) turtlelightpress (dot) com

Rick Black was born and raised in New Jersey, earned a B.A. in Classical Greek and Roman Civilization from New York University and subsequently received a two-year scholarship to study Hebrew literature at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. For more than twenty years, he was a professional journalist, including a three-year stint in the Jerusalem bureau of The New York Times. He has also freelanced for numerous newspapers and magazines, including The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, The Chicago Tribune, The Dallas Morning News, The Jerusalem Post, The Forward, Archeology, Cicada, and Cricket. Following his return from Israel in 1991, Rick rediscovered haiku and used them to capture the way in which peace and war are intertwined in daily life in Israel in his first chapbook, Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku from Israel. He has garnered several international awards for his poetry, including first prize in the James W. Hackett Award, sponsored by The British Haiku Society, third prize in the Betty Drevniok Competition, sponsored by Haiku Canada and others. His haiku have appeared in Frogpond, Cricket, RawNervz, Blithe Spirit, Still, and other journals. In 2001, when Rick moved back to New Jersey, he began taking classes at the Center for Book Arts in New York City in order to learn how to make books by hand. It was an ideal way for him to combine his love of words and stories with a longtime desire to work with his hands. Four years later, he founded Turtle Light Press, a small publisher of handcrafted books and fine art note cards. The press sponsors a bi-annual haiku chapbook competition. Two winners have been named so far: Michael McClintock’s Sketches from the San Joaquin in 2008 and Catherine J.S. Lee’s All That Remains in 2010. The press also provides the customized service of turning digital photos into paintings for individuals and businesses. Rick lives with his wife, Laura Ahearn, and their daughter, Melanie, in Arlington, Virginia. He paints sumi-e, gardens, and reads in his spare time.

Awards and Other Honors: First Prize, James W. Hackett Award (The British Haiku Society,1996); Third Prize, Betty Drevniok Competition (Haiku Canada, 1998); Honorable Mention, James W. Hackett Award (The British Haiku Society, 1997); Honorable Mention, The Haiku Award, still: a journal of short verse (1998); selected as the poet-of-the-month for April 2013 by Cornell University's Alfred R. Mann Library.

Books Published: Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku From Israel (Turtle Light Press, 2007).

Selected Work
lowering you down. . .
who will tell them to me, now—
your wartime stories?
1918 cemetery
an olive tree’s new branches
shoot towards the sky
empty sandbox—
a mortar shell explodes
nearby harmlessly
my ailing father,
listening to the crickets;
last day of August
a shy Amish boy
peeking out the black buggy—
blossoming pear trees
last clouds—
if only the violence would
drift away, too

Credits: “lowering you down” - Still (1998); “empty sandbox” – Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku From Israel (Turtle Light Press, 2007); “a shy Amish boy” - Modern Haiku 28:2 (1997); “1918 cemetery” – Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku From Israel (Turtle Light Press, 2007); “my ailing father” – The Red Moon Anthology 1997 (Red Moon Press, 1998); “last clouds” – Peace and War: A Collection of Haiku From Israel (Turtle Light Press, 2007).

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