About Gayl Teller

Nassau County Poet Laureate for 2009-2011 and the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association 2016 Long Island Poet of the Year, Gayl Teller received an MA from Columbia University and another MA from Queens College, CUNY. Her poetry collections are At the Intersection of Everything You Have Ever Loved, Shorehaven, Moving Day,  One Small Kindness, Inside the Embrace, and Hidden in Plainview (WordTech/Cherry Grove, 2015).  She is the editor of Toward Forgiveness, an anthology of poems (Writers Ink Press, 2011). Director and founder of the Poetry Reading Series, under the auspices of the New York State Council on the Arts, at the Mid-Island Y JCC, in Plainview, NY, for the past sixteen years, she reviews the works of feature poets and judges the annual poetry contest for adults, teens, and children. She has been teaching in the English department and Writing Studies and Composition department of Hofstra University since 1985. As Nassau County Poet Laureate, she originated "Stray Feet," a roving poetry show visiting high schools and middle schools, nursing homes, senior and rehab centers, and libraries in Nassau County, and in 2010, her workshops/anthology project "A Poetry of Forgiveness" was awarded a New York State Council on the Arts' LI Decentralization Grant for the Arts, which has culminated in her editing Toward Forgiveness, a poetry anthology of 99 LI poets, including five LI poets laueate, published by Writers Ink Press, in 2011. She has conducted numerous poetry workshops and seminars and been the feature reader at many universities, poetry centers, and libraries. She has served as a judge in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest, which encourages the nation's youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and performance. Her work has received the Westmoreland Arts & Heritage Festival 2013 Poetry Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Prize, the Peninsula Library Poetry Prize, a National Federation of State Poetry Societies Prize, a National League of American PEN Women Prize, and The Connecticut Writer Prize. Her work was featured in the Poets in Nassau Storycorps Event Sandy Project in 2014. One Small Kindness was a finalist for the Blue Light Poetry Prize. In 2011, she received The North Sea Poetry Scene Recognition Award. In 2012, she received the Mid-Island Y JCC Service Award. Her poems are widely published and anthologized, and her reviews of poetry books have appeared frequently in Small Press Review and other journals. Her website is www.gaylteller.com. Her e-mail is poetry@gaylteller.com.

LI Decentralization Grant For the Arts Awarded To Local Artist - Click To Read  


Excerpt-- "My goal in every poem is language that resonates with essential truths. I seek language rich with figures and connotations that reach out like a flashlight to illuminate wider and wider swaths of reality and the essential truths of the human condition, how despite vast cultural, ethnic, and individual differences, we share common needs, feelings, frailties, struggles, and dreams. My goal is to heighten our awareness and understanding of our common human family. ... Our understanding of essential human truths is always partial. We need to keep deepening it, and poetry is a vital bridge to each other. ...Poetry is one of the great arts nourishing fundamental human needs to understand the broad human spectrum by creating an experience that engages the whole person, dissolving boundaries between heart and intellect, to enhance empathy for each individual and awe for our ineffable mysteries, to see reality in the light of certain unifying ideas, to give order to the chaos of our lives like an all-inclusive, essential religion."


                Let us pray to the high moral ground

                      that we each think we hold,

                          that none of us holds,

                         that we can hardly see.

                         Let our arms open fire

                             around each other

                           with human healing.

             Let us not turn to stone at the carnage,

                      O the carnage of lost focus

             trailing from trucks trampling babies,

                   terror-by-explosive ignorance,

                       pressure-cooker poverty,

          Jim Crow arms that tear flesh two ways,

chronic unemployment, abysmal educational opportunities,

              social dislocation, prejudice, indifference.

            Let us pray in the religion where we breathe

                            deeper through the other,

                               as if in a vacationaire,

                         walking along a marginal way

              along each other's coastline of splendors.

                   Let us see the grandeur of an ocean

                             teeming with life inside

                                      each outcast.

                         If we take care of our own,

                      let us remember our blood ties.

                 Let us see the abducted girl in Nigeria

                 as the girl dying of cancer in our ward.

                           We are each other's own.

    Let us pray to what shaminism, Judaism, Hinduism,

                         Buddhism, Taoism, Islam,

Confucianism, Christianity, and atheism have in common--

                       a need to be consoled, protected,

                      an escape from absurdity, despair,


                  Let us revere life as sacred connection.

              Let us share without dividing the enjoyment

               of each enhanced by the enjoyment of all.

                            Let us pray to our likeness

                   shedding light on our grand mystery.

                               Let us remember Luca,

                                of 4 billion years ago,

       our venerable common ancestor of all living things.

                              In the logic of my prayer

                             perhaps this can save us,

                  that somehow we see we are still that

                                         single cell

             precariously clinging to a volcanic sea vent.


(Luca, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, a cell of 4 billion years ago, believed to be the ancestor of all life, emerged in a sea vent) 












A feature presenter at numerous universities, libraries, poetry centers--

City College, CUNY; Queens College, CUNY; Nassau Community College; C.W. Post, LIU; Hofstra University; Walt Whitman Birthplace; Jefferson Market Library; Glen Cove Library; Book Revue; NY Poetry Forum; World Congress of Poets for Poetry; Liberty Museum/ Art Center; Providence Athenaeum; Locust Valley Library; Hillside Public Library; Westbury Memorial Library; Joh Donne/ George Herbert Poetry Group, Riverside Church; WBAU Radio-- "Sounds of Poetry"; many Barnes and Noble Bookstores; Canio's Books; "Poetry TV"-- Queens Public TV, Israel Halpern, Producer; LI Fringe Festival, Tilles Center, C.W. Post, LIU; Sachem Public Library; "Poets for Peace"--Ellsworth Allen Town Park, Farmingdale, NY; Nassau County Library Association Keynote Speaker, Nassau Library System, Uniondale, NY; Bellmore Memorial Library; The North Sea Poetry Scene's Arts Forum TV Show-- Channel 20 Cablevision, Riverhead, NY; Plainview-Old Bethpage Public Library; BJ Spoke Gallery, Huntington, NY; National English Honor Society Induction Keynote Speaker, Tresper Clarke High School, Westbury, NY; Personal Enrichment in Retirement, Hofstra University Senior Citizen's Program; Molloy College; National English Honor Society Induction Keynote Speaker, Mepham High School, Bellmore, NY; Poetry for the HART Teen Poetry Project Awards Judge and Speaker, Huntington, NY; Summer Gazebo Readings, Schoolhouse Green, Oceanside, NY; Mid-Island Y JCC, Plainview, NY; Lindenhurst Memorial Library; Mac's Backs Paperbacks, Cleveland Heights, OH; Deep Cleveland Reading Series, Strongville, OH; Graphic Eye Gallery, Port Washington, NY; Gerson Cultural Arts Series, Council Senior Center, NYC, NY; Freeport Memorial Library; New Hyde Park Public Library; Red Harlem Readers, Indian Cafe, NYC, NY; Wantagh Public Library; Floral Par Public Library; New York Public Library, Bloomingdale Branch, NYC, NY; LI Violin Shop, Studio Series, Huntington, NY; Walking With Whitman Series, Walt Whitman Birthplace; Rogers Mansion--Poets Laureate Reading, Suffolk County, NY; LI Poetry Archival Arts Center, The Poetry Place; LI Writers Guild, East Meadow Library; "Women's Words"-- 30 Year Celebration Of the League of Professional Theatre Women, Cherry Lane Theatre, NYC, NY 


Mid-Island Y JCC Poetry Series Director (18 years); Dowling College Writers Conference; Five Towns Music and Art Foundation; Five Towns Senior Center (15 years); Great Neck Senior Center; Westbury Public Schools Language Arts Professional Development Event; BOCES Visiting Poet; "A Poetry of Forgiveness"--6-week workshops at Mid-Island Y JCC, Plainview, NY; at Hillside Public Library, New Hyde Park, NY; and at East Meadow Public Library, East Meadow, NY; Professional development workshop presenter, "Poetry as Flashlight," Reading Specialists Council of Suffolk County, NY

Founded and directs "Stray Feet," a roving poetry show doing readings and workshops at middle and high schools, senior and rehab centers, and nursing homes in Nassau County, NY

Intellectual Property © 2009 Gayl Teller