(NEW CITY, NY) Rockland County Executive C. Scott Vanderhoef and County Legislature Chairwoman Harriet Cornell will hold a press conference to announce the reappointment of Dan Masterson as Poet Laureate of Rockland County and the posthumous appointments of revered Rockland poets, Marya Zaturenska (1902-1982) and her husband Horace Gregory (1898-1982) as honorary Poets Laureate.
Dan Masterson, who was named the county’s first Poet Laureate in 2009 will be appointed to an unlimited term. Masterson is currently completing his 49th year at RCC, is the college’s first Poet-in-Residence. He is the recipient of the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the author of four published books, the latest, his New and Selected: All Things, Seen and Unseen.
His work has appeared in an eclectic array of journals including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The London Magazine. Elected to membership in PEN International in 1978, the 79-year-old poet and founding editor of the Enskyment Online Poetry Anthology, has been awarded two Pushcart Prizes, as well as the Bullis, Borestone, and Fels Poetry awards. In 2006, Syracuse University assumed stewardship of “The Dan Masterson Papers” for its Special Collections Research Center. Masterson is continuing his ongoing project of working with student poets enrolled in county high schools.
Marya Zaturenska, the American lyric poet, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1938 and thereafter garnered many additional honors including the Shelley and John Reed prizes from Poetry magazine. She was born in Kiev, Ukraine, in 1902, and came to the United States with her parents in 1909. An outstanding student, she won a scholarship to Valparaiso University; she later transferred to the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she received a degree in library science and met her future husband.. Widely published and read, much of her poetry appeared in The New York Times Book Review and the aforementioned Poetry magazine. In 1922 she wed the poet Horace Gregory.
Horace Gregory, in 1965, was awarded The Bollingen Prize for Poetry; he joined the likes of Robert Frost, Theodore Roethke, W. H. Auden, and Ezra Pound as recipients of the coveted honor that recognizes a poet’s lifetime achievements. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1898, the young Gregory was schooled mainly at home. His mother led him into a lifetime of reading.
He visited New York City in 1918, returned home to start writing poetry, earn a degree from The University of Wisconsin-Madison, marry the poet Marya Zaturenska, and head back to Manhattan with his bride. He managed to make a living as a copywriter and reviewer, and in 1933 joined the faculty at Sarah Lawrence College where he taught modern poetry and classics until his retirement in 1960. Professor Gregory’s poetry reveals his facility for shaping elegiac monologues, especially through the focus of working people.
His interest in spiritualism took root in his poetry as a result of meeting W. B. Yeats during a trip to Dublin, Ireland. Their 60 years of marriage ended with their deaths from natural causes, months apart, in 1982. Many of their last years were spent at their home in Palisades, Rockland County, New York.