Northern Virginia, Federal Government Employees

John Elsberg
(August 4, 1945 – July 28, 2012)

422 Cleveland St., Arlington, VA.

Elsberg wrote 15 books and chapbooks of poetry, including All This Dark: 24 Tanka Sequences (co-written with Eric Greinke, 2012), Sailor: The Father Poems (1999), Offsets (1994), Home-Style Cooking on Third Avenue (1982), Walking, as a Controlled Fall (1980), The Price of Reindeer (1979), and Cornwall (1972).

Elsberg taught at the University of Maryland, then spent many years as editor in chief of the US Army Center of Military History. Elsberg also had a deep commitment to small press publishing. In the 1970s he was the fiction editor of Gargoyle. He edited Bogg magazine from 1980 until his death, and also co-edited the Delmarva Review and Delaware Poetry Review in his later years.

For nearly twenty-five years, he hosted an open mic series at The Writer’s Center in Bethesda. He also led workshops, most notably introducing high school students to experimental poetry. Elsberg loved experimentation with language and language play; one of his chapbooks, A Week in the Lake District (1998), was published in the shape of a lady’s fan, and others included poems with alternative spacings. Elsberg also had a life-long interest in poems written in traditional Japanese verse forms.

After his retirement, he split his time between Arlington and a house in Henderson, MD on the Eastern Shore.


Beltway Poetry Quarterly