Lou Lipsitz was born and grew up in Brooklyn, NY, within sight of the night game lights at the Dodgers’ famous (and long defunct) Ebbets Field. He attended the University of Chicago and Yale University, where he earned degrees in Political Science. However, it was always his intention to become a writer.
He began reading seriously in high school, discovering Hemingway, Eugene O’Neill, Aldous Huxley, G.B. Shaw, Thomas Wolfe, Walt Whitman and William Carlos Williams. He found the American poetry of this period constricted and over-intellectualized and searched for better models to learn from.
Through the critical writing and translations he stumbled on in Robert Bly’s influential magazine, The Fifties (and later The Sixties), he began to find non-English language poets who influenced his work: Pablo Neruda, Garcia Lorca, Rolf Jacobsen, and Zbigniew Herbert. Among American poets, he derived inspiration from Galway Kinnell, Denise Levertov, James Wright, Gary Snyder, Robert Bly and the Beats.
His first book of poems, COLD WATER, was published by Wesleyan University Press in 1967. By that time, he was teaching in the political science department at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was active in the anti-Vietnam war movement and wrote many political poems during this period.
Ten years later, REFLECTIONS ON SAMSON was published by George Hitchcock’s kayak press of Santa Cruz, CA. During the next twenty years, Lou wrote a widely-used textbook on American politics and a play based on a political trial.
As a result of his own intense experience in therapy, he decided to give up his academic career and obtain training as a psychotherapist. He graduated from the University of North Carolina with a Master’s in Social Work and has since been practicing as a psychotherapist.
His third book of poems, SEEKING THE HOOK, appeared in 1997. In this book, his involvement in the men’s movement was markedly evident. Many of the poems explore the emotional consequences of father/child relationships and issues of grief, anger and comradeship so significant in men’s lives. He remains involved in men’s work today through the Men’s Council of the Triangle area in N.C.
His most recent book, IF THIS WORLD FALLS APART, won the 2010 Blue Lynx Prize, awarded in an annual competition by Lynx House Press of Spokane, WA. He is currently working on a new book of poems about the process of psychotherapy as seen by both patient and therapist.
Over the years, his poetry has appeared in many anthologies, including some used in college and high school literature classes; and also anthologies published in Germany, Australia and India.