Dan Masterson

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Dan Masterson (born February 22, 1934) is an American poet born in Buffalo, New York, United States (US). He became a poet after several jobs as an actor, narrator, disc jockey (DJ), lay missionary worker, advertising copywriter, and theatrical public relations director.


Dan Masterson was born to Stephen and Kathleen Masterson in 1934, during the depression era, and was the youngest of three children. He attended St. Paul's Parochial School in the Buffalo suburb of Kenmore, and graduated from Kenmore High School in 1952; Masterson was the president of his graduating class.

Masterson studied at Canisius College and graduated from Syracuse University in 1956, in what later became the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications. After college, he worked as a disc jockey, back in Buffalo, on WBNY, hosting "Mystic Midnight," a jazz show, from midnight to 3 a.m. After serving in the Signal Corps, he hired on to promote traveling Broadway plays and musicals spanning 110 cities, while his wife established a career as a Madison Avenue copywriter. They moved to Rockland County where Dan became a substitute high school teacher, then becoming a full-time teacher, before joining the English faculty at Rockland Community College, where he has remained since the mid sixties. He and Janet divide their time between their home in Pearl River and their cabin in the high-peak region of the Adirondacks.

Literary career[edit]

Dan Masterson's first book, ON EARTH AS IT IS, was published in 1978, by The University of Illinois Press. He is a biographee in CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN AUTHORS, and has been featured twice in "The Writers Almanac" with Garrison Keillor, as well as on the nationally syndicated film series, The Christophers, produced by NBC-TV; the series devoted five programs to him and his work. In 1986, Masterson was elected to membership in Pen International in recognition of his first two volumes of verse: ON EARTH AS IT IS -and- THOSE WHO TRESPASS. The complete texts of those two volumes are available online in the permanent collection of The Contemporary American Poetry Archives (http://capa.conncoll.edu). He's been a manuscript judge for The Associated Writing Programs' national manuscript competition, and continues as a contributing editor to the annual PUSHCART PRIZE ANTHOLOGY. He has also been the recipient of two writing fellowships from The State University of New York, and was the first Writer-in-Residence at The Chautauqua Writers Center. He is the editor of the international ENSKYMENT POETRY ANTHOLOGY (http://www.enskyment.org) which he founded in 2005. In 2006, Syracuse University's Bird Library assumed stewardship of "The Dan Masterson Papers" for its Special Collections Research Center.


A recipient of the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, Masterson has taught at Rockland Community College (RCC), State University of New York, since the mid sixties. During eighteen of those years, he also served as an adjunct full professor at Westchester County's Manhattanville College, directing the poetry and screenwriting programs. Upon his retirement from Manhattanville, the college's Board of Trustees established The Dan Masterson Prize in Screenwriting.


Poetry Collections[edit]

  • On Earth As It Is - University of Illinois Press 1978
  • Those who Trespass - University of Arkansas Press 1985
  • World Without End - University of Arkansas Press 1991
  • All Things, Seen and Unseen - University of Arkansas Press 1997


  • Contemporary Poetry in America - Random House
  • The Best Poems of 1976 - Pacific Books
  • The Pushcart Prize Anthology III - Pushcart Press
  • Light Year - Bits Press
  • Patterns of Poetry - LSU Press
  • The Pushcart Prize Anthology XIII - Pushcart Press
  • Vital Signs - The University of Wisconsin Press
  • After the Storm - Maisonneuve Press
  • The New Geography of Poets - The University of Arkansas Press
  • The Intercultural Nation - McGraw Hill
  • Heart to Heart: New Poems Inspired by 20th Century Art - Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
  • Elements of Literature - Houghton-Mifflin
  • Holt Language Arts - Holt
  • Poets Against the War - online anthology
  • Caught in the Net - Poetry Kit UK
  • Perfect in Their Art: Poems from Homer to Ali - Southern Illinois University Press
  • The Poets' Guide to the Birds - Anhinga Press


  • Poetry Northwest Bullis Prize
  • The Borestone Mountain Poetry Award
  • Pushcart Prize 1978
  • Pushcart Prize 1988
  • The CCLM Fels Award
  • Rockland County (NY) Poet Laureate 2009-2011
  • Rockland County (NY) Poet Laureate 2011-2013

External links[edit]