Patti Tana

2009 Walt Whitman Birthplace Poet of the Year

The Walt Whitman Birthplace Association is pleased to announce the selection of Patti Tana as our 2009 Long Island Poet of the Year. This award honors poets who are native to or live on Long Island, have published poetry of excellent quality, and have worked to foster the growth and appreciation of poetry in local communities. Patti’s poems are richly textured and moving, often giving readers a shock of recognition that makes her poems memorable. She has been teaching poetry for over forty years, and she has supported many poetry programs and publications on Long Island.
Patti moved to Long Island in 1968 to teach at C. W. Post College. Since 1971 she has been teaching at Nassau Community College, where she is Professor of English and was Coordinator of the Creative Writing Project from 1998-2002. NCC conferred on her The Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for her poetry books:
How Odd This Ritual of Harmony     (Gusto Press, 1981)

Ask the Dreamer Where Night Begins: Poems & Postscripts (Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, 1986)

The River (Birnham Wood Graphics, 1990)

Wetlands (Papier-Mache Press, 1993)

When the Light Falls Short of the Dream (Eighth Moon Press, 1998)

Make Your Way Across This Bridge: New & Selected Writings (Whittier Publications, Inc., 2003)

This Is Why You Flew Ten Thousand Miles (Whittier Publications, Inc., 2006)

Patti’s poem “A Caravan of Coffins” won the 2009 Nassau Review Poetry Award. The Review nominated “Skin Knows Skin” and “Buy or Lease?” for a Pushcart Prize, and Patti recorded them on Other poems have received recognition from the Long Island Poetry Collective, C. W. Post Poetry Center, The Shelley Society of New York, Peninsula Public Library, Xanadu: A Literary Journal, The Lake Ronkonkoma Historical Society, Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry, and the Volcano Arts Center in Hawaii where she was Artist-in-Residence. Make Your Way Across This Bridge: New & Selected Writings was considered for a Pulitzer Prize.

Since George Wallace founded the Long Island Quarterly in 1990, Patti has been associate editor. She also served on the editorial board of the Hiram Poetry Review and Esprit: A Humanities Magazine. As associate editor of Raining Leaves (Great South Bay Poetry Co-op, 1986), she helped Maxwell C. Wheat, Jr., publish an anthology of forty-three poets, most from Long Island. Patti has performed her poems at Cedarmere, the Heckscher Museum of Art, the Nassau County Museum of Art, and at various libraries, schools, Ys, and senior centers. She has also conducted poetry workshops at Long Island senior centers and libraries, as well as several at Dowling College for the Live Poets Society.
Patti’s most recent project was editing Songs of Seasoned Women (Quadrasoul, Inc., 2007), an anthology of sixty-three poets, almost all from Long Island. She is now is writing poems for Any Given Day, which will be published by Whittier Publications, Inc., a Long Island publisher.

Visit to listen to Patti read her poems, or click here:

Fall Back

Eros and Civilization

Laughing Thoroughbreds

Late at Night

My Son’s Shadow




Post Humus

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