About Steven Paul Lansky
I began watching, listening, drawing and telling my mother stories when I sat upon her knee. She wrote down some of these early efforts. I made tissue paper collages, and a colleague of my father’s liked one enough to commission me. In the fifth grade, at Clifton Elementary in Cincinnati, we were assigned to write autobiographies. According to family lore, I came home at lunch crying after taking a grocery sack full of material to morning class. Teacher said I had too much material.
At sixteen, through a series of eleventh-hour opportunities I became editor of the Hughes Guise, Hughes High School’s student newspaper. We churned out three issues over several months, sold the tabloid for a dime in the hallways, and covered, commented on, and featured contemporary issues unusual for such a publication in 1975.
At Harvard, age 17, I comped for the daily, The Harvard Crimson. I had two very minor pieces published, then learned a lesson when my article was pulled by an editor and I had no original copy to defend my work. This was at a time when we typed on teletype rolls on manual typewriters in an open room. I felt wronged, turning to creative writing instead of journalism.
That first semester I took one drawing class, found my work less appreciated as the weeks progressed, giving me the impression that instruction bound me, and self-directed work liberated me.
After a stint as a cabinet maker, kindergarten assistant, doing light hauling, warehouse work, bicycle mechanix, data entry, janitorial, admissions processing, bookstore retail, barback-busboy, and trying some of these positions several times, I found that janitorial work was the one for me. I had a sojourn in Columbus, Ohio after my West Coast communal living experiment ended. In Columbus at first unwillingly, I warmed to The Ohio State University where I made art on my own and studied writing. In 1982 I returned to Cincinnati, settled in Over-the-Rhine in 1984 on Main Street, and shortly afterward was recognized by a local contest as the neighborhood poet laureate. This led to finishing a BA at The Union Institute (1988), publication in some local newspapers, a volunteer job at WNKU, 89.7 FM, the Northern Kentucky University NPR affiliate in 1989, as a board operator. The next year I began hosting Night Music, a Sunday night program featuring spoken word and music of my selection. The show grew from one to three hours and lasted until 1998. In 1994 I was selected Volunteer of the Year by station management.
In 1989 I also became a contract supervisor of a vocational rehab crew that cleaned the Pauline Warfield Lewis Center. Here was a new kind of poetry for me. I had swept the sidewalk in front and behind the bicycle shops where I fixed ten speeds, swept the porch and walkways around the Harë Krishna temple in New Orleans where I stayed for four days in 1978, and in 1989, in a mode of recovery, helped others to sweep away the cobwebs of self-neglect. From this position I moved into social work, including some kitchen duties at a residential treatment facility. After years in the social work field, I returned to college at Miami University for a MA in Creative Writing in 1999. By then I had published in a few places locally and regionally, had a good stint of Public Relations writing, tutored English as a Second Language, and recorded my audio novel, Jack Acid.
After teaching Creative Writing at Miami University for several years, I published two chapbooks of poetry on Seaweed Sideshow Circus: Main St. and Eleven Word Title For Confessional Political Poetry Originally Composed for Radio. Main St. is out of print. Eleven Word Title is available by writing to the Contact form for $7.00 USD plus shipping and handling
I retired from teaching in 2014 while completing an MFA in Creative Writing at The University of Tampa. In 2017 Seaweed Sideshow Circus published A Black Bird Fell Out of the Sky, a novella, with support from The Ohio Arts Council and This: A Serial Review. Black Bird is available by writing to the Contact form for $12.00 USD plus shipping and handling.
In 2018 Dos Madres Press published a collection of vignettes and sketches: Life is a Fountain. It is available at select record shops, bookstores and directly from Dos Madres Press.
Book Signing TBA