Paul Fericano

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Paul Fericano
BornPaul Francis Fericano
(1951-01-16) January 16, 1951 (age 68)
San Francisco, California, United States
OccupationWriter, poet, satirist
Literary movementStoogism, New American Poets

San Francisco native Paul Fericano (born January 16, 1951) is a U.S. poet, writer, and satirist. His stand-up poetry and controversial satires have been brought to the public's attention since 1971 mostly through the dedicated efforts of independent publishers and a loyal group of readers.

He also is the Director of SafeNet (under the nonprofit Instruments of Peace), a program that offers help to survivors of clergy sexual abuse with a primary focus on the healing process. Fericano publicly revealed he was a survivor of clergy sexual abuse in 1993. He attended St. Anthony's Seminary in 1965, a vocational high school for young boys studying for the priesthood operated by the Franciscans of the Province of St. Barbara in Santa Barbara, California.


From 1974 to present, Fericano has been editor/publisher of Poor Souls Press (formerly Scarecrow Books). In 1976 he launched the mock literary movement known as, "Stoogism," satirizing the pretensions of all literary schools. "Stoogism" was later embraced by other poets and writers, including Allen Ginsberg, Elio Ligi, Joyce Odam, Peter Cherches, Charles Bukowski, A. D. Winans, Ronald Koertge, Richard Grayson, Ann Menebroker, Don Skiles and Gerald Locklin. In 1977 Fericano edited Stoogism Anthology, both a rare collection of satiric work by 47 writers, and a unique poetry and film tribute to The Three Stooges comedy team.

In 1978, one of his poems, "The Three Stooges at a Hollywood Party", from his book, Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets, provoked outrage in some Republican members of the California State legislature who claimed the poem libeled actor John Wayne. Published by Second Coming Press and funded by a grant from the California Arts Council, lawmakers used this as a reason for denying Jane Fonda's appointment at the time to the California Arts Council by Jerry Brown during his first turn as governor of California.

Fericano also received a federal grant in 1980 for the Small Press Racks in Library Project from the National Endowment for the Arts,a federal arts funding organization that would run afoul of conservatives in the 1990s.

Yossarian Universal News Service[edit]

In response to former California governor Ronald Reagan's election to the Presidency in 1980 and the growing conservative movement, Fericano co-founded (with Elio Ligi) the first parody news and disinformation syndicate, Yossarian Universal News Service (YU), which the Los Angeles Times dubbed, "unbelievable news for unbelievable times." The service was named after the protagonist of Joseph Heller's satirical anti-war novel Catch-22.

As a media content provider with subscribers as diverse as Saturday Night Live, Punch (London), Mother Jones, La Prensa (Managua), and Paul Krassner's The Realist, YU News Service quickly became the ideal counterpoint to Reagan's "Great Communicator."

During George W. Bush's first year in office in 2001, Fericano chronicled the president's lies and blunders in weekly YU News Service dispatches emailed to thousands of subscribers all over the world. Three days after 9/11 he identified Bush's crusade against terrorism as his "re-election campaign war." In 2002-2003, at the height of the president's popularity, a collection of these stories, I, Terrorist: Dispatches from the Front, was rejected by more than 20 U.S. book agents and publishers.

Fericano continues to use YU News Service as a vehicle for his social and political satires, and since June 2004 he's been writing and performing for radio (The One Minute News Hour) with fellow satirist and broadcaster Mike Amatori.


In 1982, as a commentary on the absurd nature of all competitive awards, Fericano perpetrated a successful hoax on the literary community, specifically Poets & Writers, Inc. of New York, when he awarded his own poem, "Sinatra, Sinatra", the fictitious "Howitzer Prize." Nearly 500 writers and publishers requested applications from the bogus Howitzer Prize Committee for the 1983 prize before the author exposed the hoax.


SafeNet was first created as a volunteer organization by Fericano and John McCord, also a survivor from St. Antony's Seminary in Santa Barbara, California, with the purpose of helping everyone who had been impacted by the crisis, including the offenders themselves. Fericano founded the organization to help promote a dialogue to promote healing and reconciliation among survivors of sexual abuse by priests. The first revelations of abuse happened in 1990.

Fericano has stated that his own healing process has included forgiveness, which he maintains must be a willing act to have any real effect or meaning in a person's life. “It’s a gift you give yourself,” he told the Santa Barbara Independent in 2008. “It has nothing to do with the other person accepting responsibility for his actions. It’s a great act of mercy and compassion you have for yourself.”


  • I Played Fifth Chair Trombone, So. San Francisco, CA: Greydog Press, 1974.
  • Beneath the Smoke Rings, Geneseo, NY: Dithyramb Poetry Series, 1976.
  • Cancer Quiz, Millbrae, CA: Scarecrow Books, 1977.
  • Loading the Revolver with Real Bullets, San Francisco, CA: Second Coming Press, 1977.
  • Stoogism Anthology, (Editor) Millbrae, CA: Scarecrow Books, 1977.
  • Driving to Reno with Freud, Oakland, CA: Malignant Press, 1978.
  • The Quantum Theory of Gravity, San Francisco, CA: Stan and Ollie Press, 1978.
  • The Answer, Broderick, CA: Hearthstone Press, 1979.
  • The Condition of Poetry in the Modern World: A Stoogist Manifesto, Millbrae, CA: Poor Souls Press, 1980.
  • The Ventriloquist, Seattle: Cold Creek Books, 1981.
  • The Dummy, Seattle: Cold Creek Books, 1982.
  • Sinatra, Sinatra: The Poem, Millbrae, CA: Poor Souls Press, 1982.
  • Commercial Break, Millbrae, CA: Poor Souls Press, 1982.
  • My Lover, Benito Mussolini, and Other Stories My Grandmother Made Up, San Diego: Pocket House Publications, 1984.
  • A Rumor of Fools, Portland, OR: Retaliation Press, 1984.
  • The One Minute President (with Elio Ligi), Millbrae, CA/Munich, Germany: Poor Souls Press/Stroessner Verlag, 1986.
  • Don't Look Now, but I Think We're About to be Killed, Walnut Creek, CA: Erehwon Books, 1989.
  • The Best of Yossarian Universal, (Editor) Millbrae, CA: YU News Service, 1992.
  • Interview with the Scalia, Washington, DC: Peabody Press, 1995.
  • More of the Best of Yossarian Universal, (Editor) Millbrae, CA: YU News Service, 1999.
  • The Night I Dreamed I Gave the Commencement Address at Harvard Law School, San Francisco: First Gone Press, 2002.
  • The Worst of Yossarian Universal, (Editor) Millbrae, CA: YU News Service, 2004.
  • I, Terrorist: Dispatches from the Front, (YU News Service, 2006)
  • It's Not Enough of Elvis, (Poor Souls Press, 2010)
  • The Three Stooges at a Hollywood Party, (24th Street Irregular Press, 2011)
  • A.D. Winans: A Brief and Casual History, (Poor Souls Press, 2012)
  • The Year of the Lunkhead, (Forthcoming, 2014)

External links[edit]