DAVID STEN HERRSTROM
Some Biographical Facts as if Facts Could be True
- Born in Oakland, David grew up with braceros
in California, working the dusty orchards of western Sonoma county, listening to vowels round as apples.
- Coming east, marrying Constance Joy who is.
And building a house, encouraging a daughter, Tristen, and planting a tree ...
- After earning a doctorate in English literature from New York University, he taught
undergraduates for whom he wrote with friends the textbook Writing as Discovery.
- Jonah's Disappearance, a sequence of poems with drawings
by Jacob Landau, was published by Ambrosia Press, and he continues
making chapbooks and
which appear in such magazines as Columbia,
US1 Worksheets, and Nimrod, as well as hypertext poems published in The New River:
"The Nicodemus Glyph,"
"Sorting Things Out and Putting Things in Their Place,"
"Virtual Reality Exhibit at the Singapore Museum," and
"To Find the White Cat in the Snow."
- The results of his struggles to enter into the images of William Blake have
appeared in Blake Quarterly and the Bucknell Review.
His wrestling with the the Gospel of John,
The Book of Unknowing,
takes the leaping goat's approach to the craggy language of John and Jesus rather than
the methodical rock climber's. And along the way, to help him find footholds on
the how and why of John's strategies, he calls on other poets, from Emily Dickinson
to Miguel de Unamuno, emerging finally with a Nicodemean reading.
- Westminster Choir College, Princeton, NJ, presented the premiere
of his collaboration with the composer Laurie Altman, "A
Sonata For J.S. Bach."
For Mark Zuckerman's opera, The Outlaw and the King,
he forged the libretto. It is a tragic story where the bonds of love are rent by
the necessity of self-creation and the demands of succession, one woven into
the fabric of our families and society.
- He once wrote the line: "There is a fire shut in the bones of words."
- He has received a Poetry Fellowship from the NJ State Council on the Arts and been
nominated for a Pushcart Prize.
- Compelled to return to California periodically like a salmon
to its home stream, he stands in an old-growth redwood cathedral near
where he grew up, his body absorbing its moist fragrance and impossibly
delicate light, and he thanks these presences for the privilege of being once
again among them and declares that his religion is California.