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“But there are always living poets!”


— Muriel Rukeyser,

The Life of Poetry (Paris Press 2006)

 




 

ABOUT THE POET                                                                                      POEMS >


From Cincinnati to Staten Island

The life of poetry, for Victoria Hallerman, began in the early 1970’s, when a friend lent her a typewriter he had no room for in his apartment. Born in Cincinnati, she moved to Staten Island in 1969, when she began her New York life as a painter and photographer.To clarify her thoughts about art and her confusion about the New York art scene — then in the throes of conceptualism — she began recording her thoughts. Slowly, some of these “typings” became recognizable as poems. She joined several workshops in Manhattan, the most notable of which, at the 92nd St. Y, under Jean Valentine, introduced her to other poets with whom she shares work and travel to this day.

Victoria’s publishing credits and honors are numerous, beginning with Poetry — a regular contributor since 1984, and branching out to include The Nation, Global City Review, The Los Angeles Review and Runes, among others.

During the seventies, she worked at a number of day jobs: dog walker, children’s after school photography instructor, parking survey interviewer, and line cook at the old Beaux Arts haunt of Diamond Jim Brady — Luchow’s, a 19th century German restaurant near Union Square in Manhattan — which has since been torn down. Perhaps her most interesting job included her position as assistant to the chef of The River Cafe in Brooklyn (that chef, the young Larry Forgione).

Becoming an Educator

In 1980, still working part time at The River Cafe, she enrolled at Sarah Lawrence College (MFA, Creative Writing — Poetry), studying with Jay Meek, Jane Cooper, Thomas Lux, Jean Valentine, and Sharon Olds, among others.

After graduate school, Victoria began working as a poet in the schools for various arts umbrella organizations (NYPublic Library, Teachers & Writers Collaborative, Young Audiences, etc.), and began her MSEd in Reading/Literacy at Bank Street College of Education, where she taught — in the field, and in the Reading/Literacy Department, for several years.

A New Role: Health Advocate

In 2002, Victoria’s husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer. While they both struggled with the drastic changes treatment entails, Victoria began writing about diagnosis and treatment from the perspective of the spouse, a journal which ultimately became a health memoir, Surviving Prostate Cancer: What We Did and What We Should Have Done (forthcoming, Newmarket Press, February, 2009).

Now to her credentials as educator and poet, she adds health advocate.Through her recent involvement in the cancer community, she has become a member of Man to Man, the national prostate cancer support group network.This involvement led her to form — along with a colleague, Elaine Albert, MSN, a support group for partners and family of cancer patients and survivors: What About Me? An archive of interviews with wives and partners of prostate cancer survivors from all walks of life is a work in progress.

 

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