NYTimes’ Poet-in-Residence

Beginning in 2008, Dr. Larry Eisenberg  (see below)  contributed more than 13,000 letters to the Editor of the New York Times.  His huge output most often took the form of limericks regardless of the topic upon which he commented.  He was called “the closest thing this paper has to a poet in residence.” He died last December.  Here are some samples of his work.


In a 2011 feature, he was asked to supply a brief biographical summary for readers.  20 minutes later, this was his answer:


A nonagenarian, I

A sometime writer of sci-fi,

Biomed engineer,

Gen’rally of good cheer, With lim’ricks in ready supply.


About baseball he said:

True, the Mets lost their place in the Sun,

But the year has moved onward by one, Wounds have healed, time to grin

At each has-been brought in,

Chance of winning? Between slim & none!


A TV review went this way:

“Homeland” with time brought up to date,

Owes to “Manchurian Candidate”?

Is the theme tired, And hardly inspired?

Production and cast are first rate.



After the 2016 election of President Trump, Dr. Eisenberg said:

In 2011, he spoke on the topic of social media:

Was there no Life before there was Twitter?

Was it stodgy, lackluster or bitter?

I find Life too fleeting

To spend time in Tweeting,

I’m a face-to-face kind of critter!


After the 2016 election of President Trump he said:

A mauler, a grabber, abuser,

A do whatever you chooser

Non-thinker, non-reader

A spoiled-children breeder

An every trick-in-the-book user.


About his passing, the Times said:

Larry Eisenberg, whom we well know,

Has died (and his age is below)…99.

He opined on the news

With limericks, whose

Delightfulness leavens our woe.






About rcarmean

Two things... First, why have I decided to establish this blog? I like to put essays together. I research an idea or topic looking for information, statistics, stories, quotes, pictures, etc. I enjoy the process and seeing a finished product. I’m told that as I get older, new activities can help maintain energy and keep my brain alert. In other words, I am not doing this for money or fame. Second, regarding the gentleman in the collage of pictures above...it's not me. Those are photos of Christy Mathewson. Why him? When I was young, my primary activity was being sick. It took up much of my time. Eczema (a case so bad I was written up in a medical journal showing doctors what their patients COULD look like), asthma, and allergies. You know allergies: don’t eat this, don’t wear that, and, for Heaven’s sake, don’t touch any of these things (eg, dogs, cats, horses --I only saw horses in cowboy movies and TV shows, dust, swimming pools, my brother --OK, that’s an exaggeration, Rick was a fine brother). In my spare time between doctors' appointments, pills, and ointments, baseball kept me sane. In the 1940s and 1950s, when I grew up, pro footballI and basketball had not yet become extremely popular. Baseball truly was “the national pastime.” I listened to games on the radio (remember it? TV without the picture). I read magazines, books, and newspaper accounts of games. I collected baseball cards. I learned about the game’s history, as well as present. The same with its stars. One man stood out: Christy Mathewson. He was a great pitcher for the New York Giants in the early 20th century. But there was much more to him. At a time when professional athletes made little money (yes, there was such a time) and ball players were considered on the same level as actors, artists, and prostitutes, Mathewson stood out. One of his nicknames was: “The Christian Gentleman.” Most men is baseball drank, smoked, cursed, and fought —with other players, umpires, and fans. The fights were physical, not just verbal. Mathewson did none of these things. But he earned the respect of other players who did them all. Even Ty Cobb and John McGraw. There’s more. He was a college graduate (Bucknell University) when most men were lucky to have a high school diploma. He played other sports, including pro football which you wouldn’t recognize. He was handsome. He played in New York City, then as now, the largest city in the country. Excellence and popularity there meant fame and money. He dressed well. Today, his commercials would rival LeBron’s. And, finally, a hero’s life must have tragedy. After his playing career ended, WWI arrived. He suffered from influenza and was exposed to mustard gas. Chemical warfare. His lungs were damaged and he required treatment for the rest of his life. (Like my Grandfather who also fought in The Great War.) He died in 1925. He was 45 years old. I have his picture here because you need to know more about him than me. He was what an athlete could be. Players like him and their accomplishments got me through a sickly, painful childhood and can still sustain me in difficult times. *****
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1 Response to NYTimes’ Poet-in-Residence

  1. Marc Kuhn says:

    This was a good fun read

    About a man quite the steed

    When it comes time to gather a rhyme

    Count on him to be at a gallop pace

    Quickly gathering words that chime

    And cross the finish line to win the race.

    (RIP Larry Eisenberg, you have no worthy
    competition from me!)


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