Mr. Stern graduated from Taylor-Alderdyce High School in 1942 and attended the University of Pittsburgh, where he was refused military service because of his poor eyesight. He was surprised when the military changed its mind after World War II ended in 1945.
“I only had one semester,” he told the Iowa Review. They passed me this time. I said, “What do you mean? We have a date tonight.”
He served in the Army Air Corps in 1946 and 1947, spending much of his time as a security guard at what is now Andrews Air Force Base. He then resumed his studies, earning a BA in Political Science from Pitt College in 1947 and completing his Master’s degree. He received a degree in English from Columbia University in 1949. He then spent a year in Europe and is believed to have worked for his doctorate, but he never completed his degree. However, if he“red coal” 1981 poem. The poem opens with “Sometimes I sit in a blue chair trying to remember/What the spring of 1950 was like/Before burning coals entered my life.”
“When poetry entered my life,” Stern explained in a video interview, explaining what the work is about. Told.”
The poem refers to his friendship with another Pittsburgh native, poet Jack Gilbert. They read poetry to small gatherings at the Webster Hall Hotel restaurant across from the Pitt campus.
Upon returning to the United States, Mr. Stern married Patricia Miller in 1952 (they divorced in the 1980s). He made her second trip to Europe with her and taught high school for a while in Scotland before returning to the United States in 1956 to take up a teaching position at Temple University in Philadelphia.
Over the years, he has taught at many institutions, including Pitt, Columbia, Sarah Lawrence College, New York University, and Princeton. He also taught poetry at his workshop at the University of Iowa’s Writers.