Carmine Dandrea
Carmine Dandrea
Undertaking the
American Dream

Carmine Dandrea, Professor of Literature and Creative Writing and former editor of  Blossom Review,  a magazine of the arts, was educated at Hobart College, Brown University, Elmira College, and Cornell University from which he received the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. He has taught at Elmira Free Academy, Elmira College, Corning Community College, and Lake Michigan College.  Mr. Dandrea served in the United States Marine Corps and during the Korean War was awarded the Purple Heart Medal. He was a national winner in the Discovery '69 Program of the New York Poetry Center. His first book of poems, Heart's Crow, based on experiences in India, was published by P.Lal's Writers  Workshop  of Calcutta in 1972. His poems have been published in Plaintiff, Transition, Ego Flights, Michigan Magazine, Husson Review, Albion and other literary journals and anthologies. Over 30 of his poems have won prizes and awards. In 1977 the editors of the International Who's Who in Poetry awarded him a Certificate of Distinguished Contributions to Poetry. Wyndham Hall Press sent him to a Poetry Workshop near Limerick, Ireland, and published his book-length sequence of poems, American Still Life, in 1992. He has been a Scholar at the 1993 NEH Institute of Chinese Culture and Civilization at the East-West Center in Hawaii and has participated in the Center's 1994  Field Study in the People's Republic of China and its 1995 Field Study in India. His third book, Liberation: a Journey to India, was published in 1995 by P. Lal of the Writers Workshop of Calcutta, India. An ardent practitioner of poetry as oral art, he has read his own poetry and others' in Beirut, Istanbul, New Delhi and throughout India, in Katmandu, Honolulu, the People's Republic of China, and in the United States.


Counting Out My Growth In Deaths     
A Karate Expert Kills A Car     
The 1st Of November     
The Image In The Mirror     
Sunrise In Chicago     
Alone In The House     
An Elegy In Spring     
Rising After Midnight     
The Man From Yesterday     
The Flower Man Is Gone     
An Escape From The Institution     
A Trinity For Maladjustment     
How The Old Man Died     
A Report From The Clinic     
Everything Is Springtime And Great Beauty     
Farm Auction     
Dreamland And Charles Bukowski     
On The Eve Of The Gunfighter's Death     
Undertaking The American Dream     
The Will That In The Sunset Finds Release     
Dirge For The Dead Anatoly     
A Bird In Winter     
Upstate March     
Visiting The Cages In Bombay     
In The Madras Market     
The Highway To Delhi     
Waiting For The Third Wave In     
To A Korean Comfort Girl, Shot Sniping     
I Find The Dead Chinaman     
Easter, 1951     
Rescue By Helicopter     
The Blue Sky Motel     
A Dead Horse In The Supermarket     
Piece De Resistance     

Sequence: Those Inscrutable Chinese:
       Lady With A Small Dog     
       Lunch At The Chinese National Art Institute         
       Shao Shi Peng Speaks Toilets     
       Mr.Gupta, Mr. Li      
Everyone Loved Fala     
Her Room At Night     
The Universe Of Death     
A Fable Of Flies     
M. Del Papa     
My Rich Croatian Uncle, Andy Smith     
The School Photographer Takes My Picture     
All The Little Comforts     
Jumping Off The Eiffel Tower     
I Love You, Minnie Wantagh, In The A.& P.     

From the Book:


This sun-filled Sunday morning
when I woke,
I knew that you would  not;
I knew that you had gone,
and that your eyes
were closed to Sundays
and to sun.

All my life
I have counted out my growth
in deaths
until they have become
the total of my time
as every stone
that makes a cairn
becomes a marker of the spot;
and your death, Grandfather,
is only one
among the many deaths
I register;
but how special to my growth
it is, I think I know.

At ninety years, your  mind alive
to Sundays and to sun,
you simply fell asleep at five-
a quiet afternoon of naps-
and died. No pain we knew of
crossed you in that hour.
Of course, you were alone,
and that was fitting too.
The family had gone home
and left the dream you had
to you .

Who could have known,
although we were aware
at ninety every moment spins
a pinwheel in the sky,
and every arrow spun
is ever pointed straight.
Death smiles, sweet and sure
as lovers do in summer sun,
each time you close your eyes.

With you, another part of time
that calibrates my growth
and scales love has gone.
The sun of yesterday
will not be here tomorrow.
The sun, however, rises
as perhaps I do.
But you, old dial, stand still
the farthest measure of my hour.

I have counted out my growth
in deaths,
and yours is shortening
my life's shadow.
My growth slows
with fainter, thinner line
to mark my moments
in creative light.
The sun at noon is nude,
and so am I.


I've been reading evolution theory,
trying to get back
into the primal  mud of pond behind the farm.

How hard it is to do
after Adam and the naming of things:
after the tawny lion and the slippery toad,
after the giant Redwood and the warty weed,
after the telescoping of giraffe,
the chipmunk chittering and the lisp
of squirrels sliding the telephone lines,
after the titmouse teetering
on the thinnest branch and the great crow
curving through the sky
in sheer, black-robed telegraphy.

How hard it is to do
after the  wonderful fib
of Eve and Adam's rib,
after the infamy of apple,
the notoriety of glitter
surrounding the snake,
the Father filled with wrath,
unforgiving, relentless, but
promising some future fruit.

I'm sure that science is a useful thing,
but how drab and gray it is
beside such metaphors
that ring and sing.

Undertaking the American Dream
is a 112-page hand-stitched paper book with spine.

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