Lenny Emmanuel, with approximately 175-200 publications, is an internationally published poet, essayist, and editor, and currently resides in Pass Christian, MS. He was born in Brooklet, GA, but considers Savannah his hometown, though he escaped to Tybee Island off the coast of Georgia as often as possible. He was an athlete in high school and college, excelling in boxing, track, and football. At Commercial (Groves) High School, he was a “first string” running back for three years, making All-City, All-Region, and All-State honors, as well as being Captain of the football team his junior and senior years. In Elementary School (Henry Street Grammar School), Mrs. Woolsey introduced him to The Trojan War, The Iliad and The Odyssey; then in high school he was fortunate to have the brilliant Miss Elinor Gaines as his English teacher who introduced him to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, and Hamlet, encouraging his interest in literature. Moreover, Miss. Gaines drilled the knowledge of sentence structures and parts of speech into the psyches of her students, at least those who had a genuine thirst for learning.
After serving with the U.S. Marines, Emmanuel attended the University
of Miami. His injuries in the Marines prohibited him from ever playing
football again, but he participated and earned sports letters in boxing
and track for which he received a tuition scholarship. Though he went
to the semi-finals in boxing while at Miami and excelled in track, he
was never the athlete he had been before his injuries in the Marines.
He maintained two majors and two minors at Miami and was awarded a B.S.
degree in chemistry and a B.A. degree in English, with honors in
organic chemistry and English literature. He made the very highest
grades in organic chemistry and was especially notable for finishing
hourly examinations in thirty minutes or less in the classes of the
brilliant Professor Robert Schultz. He also excelled in Physical
Chemistry taught by Professor Ralph Mills. He began graduate school at
Miami in chemistry; but after his first year, he decided to attend
Tulane University in New Orleans as a graduate student in English, from
which he received his M.A.with his thesis on the metaphysical poet John
Donne. He met Len Desroche of New Orleans while finishing his thesis
and they were married the following year after which they moved to Iowa
City to continue his studies in English literature.
Before entering the University of Miami, through Tulane, and while at
the University of Iowa, Emmanuel worked in a number of exclusive
restaurants and hotel resorts as a bartender and often as a waiter,
especially during the summer months, notably The Brass Rail (Tybee
Island, GA), The King and Prince Hotel (St. Simons Island, GA), The
Flame (Miami), The Court of Two Sisters (New Orleans, LA), and The
Carousel (Iowa City, IA). Most of his studies in English at Miami were
with Professors Fred Shaw, Richard Janero, Natalie Lawrence, and Scott
Mason. At Tulane, Richard Harter Fogle was his favorite professor and
advisor, though he took a number of courses with Irving Ribner and
Richard Adams, writing his thesis with Mildred Christian. While at the
University of Iowa, he worked as a reagent and developmental chemist in
clinical pathology at the University Hospital and VA Hospital. He also
worked as a bartender at Joe’s Place. His studies at Iowa were
primarily focused on the poetry of the 17th and 20th centuries, taking
courses with Paul Engle, Donald Justice, Mark Strand, George Starbuck,
Murray Krieger, Clark Griffith, Itrat-Hussain Zuberi, Rhodes Dunlap,
Archibald Coolidge, Kurt Zimansky, and Robert Scholes. While working
on his doctorate, he and his wife Len lost their first child Stephie,
after which he no longer pursued the doctorate.
Emmanuel accepted a position as Assistant to the Chairman Dr. Carleton Nordschow in Pathology at the Indiana University Medical Center in Indianapolis and remained there with dual appointments in Pathology and English until December 31, 1996. At the time of his retirement, he was Fiscal and Senior Administrative Officer in Pathology. While at Indiana, he also completed studies for his M.B.A. with concentration in financial analyses at the University of Indianapolis with six courses in computer science at Purdue University. Emmanuel has attended seven universities (Armstrong University in Savannah, Miami, Tulane, Iowa, Indiana, Purdue, and the University of Indianapolis) and has taught at three universities -- Iowa, Indiana, and the University of Southern Mississippi (the Gulf Coast Campus).
He and Len have two academically successful children, Karyn receiving
her M.D. from Indiana University Medical School and Brett receiving his
LLD from Loyola University Law School in New Orleans. Karyn is a
neurologist and practices medicine in Illinois. Brett has worked as an
attorney in the City Attorney’s Office in New Orleans, with The Supreme
Court of Louisiana, and is currently in private practice. Emmanuel has
an older son, the son of an earlier marriage to Doris “Ting” Fulcher of
Savannah. Kim lives and works in California as a computer executive,
and “Ting” Fulcher Blessington is a well-known artist, painting and
residing on Tybee Island, GA. Emmanuel lost his father in 1981 (he was
81) and his mother in 2005 (she was 93). Karyn married Patrick Catt of
Illinois, and there are two grandchildren, Elizabeth and Ethan.
When Emmanuel retired from Indiana University in 1996 and returned South in 1997, he became Poetry Editor of The New Laurel Review. He has since been Contributing and/or Managing Editor and joined the associate faculty of the University of Southern Mississippi (the Gulf Coast Campus) in 2003. Over the years he has taught Technical (Professional) Writing, Expository Prose, The Essay, Poetry, World Literature, Basic Composition, and special or honor courses in the Creative Process and Problems of Aesthetics. Though Emmanuel “belongs” to no literary group, he is active in the writing programs in New Orleans (The Gold Mine Saloon at Dauphine and St. Peter Streets) and the Pass Christian Book Readings (Pass Christian, MS). He performs regularly at The Gold Mine in New Orleans' French Quarter, reading his and poems by other poets, playing alto saxophone and the harp.
From time to time Emmanuel has been asked why he writes or makes poems, and his answers have almost always resembled the following: “It seems absolutely necessary for me to write. God knows I’ve tried to do everything else and often wish it were otherwise, that I had become a physician, a pathologist, for example. But I continually need to convert certain emotions from my heart and mind onto paper. And the product on paper almost never seems as right, correct, or enjoyable as before it got onto paper. More often than not I tend to be attempting to convert adversity into something else. I seem to have this addictive need to witness or experience an event or incident, though I may not be directly involved in that event or incident, and recreate it onto paper. Writing, then, seems to be my purpose for living, and in doing so I seem to find meaning in my life, reasons and courage to be, to continue the journey. I suppose it sounds ridiculous to some folks, but I simply must make poems or write to remain somewhat, relatively sane. Really though, I don’t see this process so drastically different from the person who enjoys making figures out of wood, like brick masons who enjoy getting those bricks in formation just so, and not so drastically different from our ancestors who found it necessary to carve hieroglyphics into stone.”
No part of these computer sites may be reproduced in any form by any electronic, mechanical or chemical means - including photocopying, filming, video or audio recording, digital encoding, or any other informational storage and retrieval system now or in the future - without permission in writing from the author or publisher, except in brief and partial quotations used in reviews and/or in critical articles for research, scholarly and/or educational purposes.