July 28, 2014

Tom Weatherly

Tom Weatherly [USA]


Born in Scottsboro, Alabama on November 3, 1942, Tom Weatherly is American poet who is primarily known for his connections with the Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church in New York City. Weatherly’s parents, Thomas Elias Weatherly and Lucy B. Golson Weatherly, were recognized as prominent figures in the African American community, well known as educators and civic leaders.
     Weatherly attended Moorehouse College at in Atlanta at the age of 15, and the Alabama A and M University in Huntsville. He later studied at Hofstra University, CUNY Manhattan, and Columbia University.
    The poet served in the U.S. Marines before moving to New York in the winter of 1966-1967 when he attending the inaugural poetry workshops at the Poetry Project, taught by poet Joel Oppenheimer.
     Publishing in small journals such as Gandhabba, Minetta Reivew, Whetstone, The World, and Exquisite Corpse, Weatherly began describing himself as a poet, publishing his first book, Maumau American Cantos in 1970.
      He worked at the Strand Bookstore (rare and first edition bookstore) in New York City for many years and The Lion’s Head, a famed local pub in Sheridan Square.
     His work career also includes serving as a teacher of creative writing at St. Mark's Church in New York City, beginning in 1972. He served as poet-in-residence at Bishop College in Dallas, Texas during 1970 and 1971. He was a writer-in-residence at State College of New York-Buffalo in the 70’s. He taught Afro-Hispanic art at Rutgers University-Newark and conducted poetry workshops at grade schools, universities, prisons and poetry projects. He was an avid bicyclist, computer maven and music lover. In later years, he split his time between New York City and Huntsville, Alabama.
     In 1971 he published Thumbprint, and in 2006, Groundwater Press published his noted short history of the saxophone. Weatherly also edited and co-edited several anthologies, including Natural Process (1970), New Black Voices (1972), The Poetry of Black America (1973), Uplate (1989), Everybody Goodbye Ain’t Gone (2006), and The Second Set (2008).
     Although Weatherly was photographed by the great photography Andrei Kertesz on the streets of Greenwich Village, according to friend M.G. Stephens, “He preferred to stay out of the limelight.” “I want my work famous not my face,” Weatherly quipped.
      Later in his life, Weatherly converted to Judaism, and was buried in a traditional Jewish ceremony upon his death in July of 2014.

Short history of the saxophone (Groundwater Press, 2006); Thumbprint (Telegraph Books, 1971); Maumau American Cantos (New York: Corinth Books, 1970)
To hear Weatherly’s poem “Trivet,” click below:

For a rare reading by Tom Weatherly from July 1971, now in the PENNSound library,
go here: http://jacket2.org/commentary/tom-weatherly-nov-3-1942-july-15-2014

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