Ray Pospisil
POSPISIL--Ray, colleague of journalists and poets, is remembered dearly by them after his death last week at home in Brooklyn. Pospisil, 54, was born in Bogota, Colombia, and early in his life moved with his parents to Union, New Jersey. He spent most of his life in New York City. A Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Rutgers University in 1975, Pospisil began his career in energy and environmental journalism in 1981 working for Fairchild Publications. In 1984 he joined McGraw-Hill and later became a free lance journalist, working for two years in the early 1990s in San Francisco before returning to New York. Until his death, he worked chiefly for McGraw-Hill's stable of energy publications, although throughout his career he worked for other publishers in the United States and the United Kingdom. It was poetry, though, that was his passion. Pospisil's poems, which he often read for audiences in the East Village and elsewhere in Manhattan, were intensely personal, filled with vivid imagery and ranging from the humorous to the harrowing. His work has been published by Lyric, Iambs & Trochees, The Newport Review, Rogue Scholars and others. In 2006, his chapbook of poems, Some Time Before the Bell, was published by Modern Metrics Press. A collection of his work is scheduled to be published in Ireland by Seven Towers Publishing in 2009. In recent years, Pospisil enjoyed tutoring immigrants in how to read and write English at the Brooklyn Public Library. He is survived by a brother, Carl, sister-inlaw Mary, niece Brook and nephew Bryan, all of Daytona Beach, Florida. Other survivors include cousins Scott Fisher, of Hollywood, Florida; Joe and Irene Pospisil of New Jersey; and Sue Arave, of Columbia, South Carolina. The date for a memorial service has not been set.
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Published by New York Times on Feb. 3, 2008.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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88 Entries
Its been many years, yet Ray's voice and wry smile are right where we left off. I wish you were here Ray. Letting us know the straight story of what's going on. Treating us to some beautiful metrical poem of your own or a recitation of a Shakespeare sonnet. I will always appreciate you Ray. And am honored that you were my friend.
Su Polo
January 31, 2021
I miss Ray's kindness, his wicked sense of humor, his ability to spot and call out "fake news" wherever he saw it. I bet he would have had some wonderful stories to tell about our world today.
Sandy Fong
January 29, 2021
How fast time has gone by. Ray you are so missed and loved. Wish we could talk once again and laugh at the stories you told. Karen, Bryan and Brook
Karen (Pospisil) Wenzel
January 28, 2021
Love and miss you so much. Forever in our hearts. Karen, Bryan, and Brook
Karen Wenzel
January 31, 2020
I miss and love you Ray. RIP Ray my brother in law
Karen Wenzel
January 29, 2019
Recently came across my autographed copy of Rays poetry book Some time before the bell. Been reading the poems and thinking of Ray. From No Closure, Please - I never want serenity but storms inside my heart to launch a retribution spree that rips the calm apart.
Sandy Fong
January 28, 2019
Valenda Newell
May 26, 2017
Ray was my Kung Fu student from 1992. He will be greatly missed. We must honor him and others who have passed by ending the suffering in this world,
With loving respect, Sifu H.L. Schauer
Sifu Schauer
June 16, 2012
I miss Ray. Now that I'm almost 14 and have met many grown-ups, I see why my mom's friends, my aunt, uncles liked him so much. I still think about the questions he ask me: once at dinner he looked worried and said: “You think Mussina's gonna make it?” I didn't know then that my mom had told him that I thought Mussina should retire. So I got into it, “Yeah”. Then Ray said I guess my favorite guy is Lee Richmond though I'm afraid he plays for Boston… “Richmond?” Here I thought I was the expert! I said: “Richmond?” Ray was like “Lee or Larry Richmond?” So before desert, I snuck into my bedroom to look him up in my encyclopedia and saw that he played in 1901! But this is favorite memory. First, my mom likes to pull up the shades in the morning and say “Let's see what God painted today!” Once she thought I was getting really bored by that so she started saying: Ray says: “The sky is the daily bread of the eyes.” “Come in get up!” She said that 100 times. After Ray passed my mom told me many things, one was that Ray didn't make up that “daily bread” saying, Emerson did. I didn't know who Emerson was. “A very deep, peaceful and brilliant man like Ray”, I think Ray was quietly cool.
Solomon Wise
February 8, 2012
From Al
January 30, 2012
Al Samuel
January 30, 2012
Dear Friends of Ray,
There is scheduled today, Jan. 30, 2012, a reading of poems of poets who have passed on featuring several works by Ray Pospisil at the Saturn Series Poetry Reading and Open Mike at Nightingale Lounge at 7pm at 213 Second Ave. in NYC. Ray was a regular at this poetry series for many years and will be remembered in our hearts and through words written by him and some for him as well. He was a kind person and inspiring poet and writer and a dear friend and is greatly missed.
Su Polo
January 30, 2012
Four years ago you left us, way to soon. Miss you. RIP Ray

Karen Pospisil Wenzel
Karen Pospisil Wenzel
January 28, 2012
"From Bogota to Brooklyn"
From 2 - 3 PM, 4th Floor Auditorium - FREE
Please come to Ray's hometown and celebrate his work. His book "The Bell" Is now "on the shelf" and we invite you to read his work in the open mike and dedicate this hour to the remembrance of this wonderfully talented writer.
11 South Broad Street
Elizabeth, NJ 07202-3486
(908) 354-6060
... DIRECTIONS ... NJ Transit light rail at NY Penn Station takes you directly to Elizabeth (DO NOT get off at North Elizabeth) go to corner and then walk to right close by, across from Court House.
Su Polo
April 20, 2011
It's with deep appreciation, which invigorates my soul (and I believe I speak for many others), and with great sorrow, that I pay my respects to Ray's memory.

He was faithful to the most meaningful aspects of what friendship is supposed to be.

In his work as a journalist, he combed tirelessly through pages and pages, ferreting out the naked facts for the Thursday night deadline.

In his poems (an inspiration and a comfort to us all), he allowed himself no room for anything but truth as he knew it, and meter.

Despite an excess of brilliance and wit, he listened to other poets at the many readings with utmost care and modesty, and however novice or dashed-off the lines were that were read, he meted out only supportive doses of criticism.

A master of dry, understated humor, of the droll, and of self-parody, he let himself experience everything at full throttle, from the heavenly to the mundane.

I've never met anyone as gentle and as kind. To echo Solomon Wise, he was a true gentleman.

"Move on," we commonly hear; or "Get some closure!" When someone passes who so inspires us, why would we want to forget him? Yes, January 28 is a day of sorrow, but like the sunbeams streaming down into Tintern Abbey, this time of year is also, thanks to him, full of grace.
Tania Taubes
February 7, 2011
Like so many, I feel Ray's loss profoundly, remember him with much love, and am so very grateful for the warmth of his friends and family over the past three years, many of whom have contributed here. Wanted to share a photo I took just this morning of the church that inspired Ray's poem, "The Bell". Living nearby, I pause to listen most Sunday mornings, the bell still ringing a little before nine.
Anne Chamberlain
January 27, 2011
Ray, you were a wonderful colleague and human being. There needs to be more Ray Pospisils in this world. You are missed. Bob M., Henderson, Kentucky
bob matyi
January 27, 2011
Dear Ray,
We will never forget you.
Many of your fans were moved and inspired meeting at Nightingale Lounge to read your poems and remember you on Monday night.
You will always be in our thoughts and prayers.
January 26, 2011
Patricia Carragon
January 24, 2011
Patricia Carragon
January 24, 2011
Dear Ray,

I miss you and wish you only peace and joy on the other side. Your memory lives on in our thoughts.

Peace be with you,

Patricia Carragon
Patricia Carragon
January 24, 2011
Ray, I will think about you this week, especially on Friday, January 28. I miss you and Mom so very much as do Bryan and Brook. The kids were with me at Christmas this year and we talked about all the good times we had with you and Mom. So sad to think you are both gone now, but I have pictures of you and Mom to look at everyday and remember all the good times we had. Love you both forever.
Karen (Pospisil) Wenzel
January 24, 2011
Remembering the Poetry of Ray Pospisil...

Saturn Series Poetry & Open Mike
Monday Jan. 24, 2011 Sign up at 7pm Starts 7:30
Features Efrayim Levinson and
- A Remembrance - the Poetry of Ray Pospisil.
We will have Ray's books there to read from or bring your poem or story. Ray passed away on Jan. 28, 2008 - a fine metrical poet & very cool cat.
Nightingale Lounge, 213 Second Ave. at 13th St. NYC
Sign up at 7 starts at 7:30 to 9:30 - age 21 & up.
Su Polo
January 23, 2011
We lost Ray in 2008 on Jan. 28 yet his memory continues to brighten my thoughts and I'm sure there are many friends and poets and coworkers who feel the same. It's so easy to remember his wry smile and song-like voice. And that quiet demeanor that always kept you wondering what he was thinking/perceiving and whether it would end up in one of his exquisite poems or stories sometime. Ray, wherever you are, you are always on the mike, and in our thoughts, always.
Su Polo
January 20, 2011
In January we think about Ray a lot. He was really generous. That's my memory of him when I was eight and nine. Now I'm twelve and he was definitely different. Now that I've seen a lot of movies - the best word I can think of is that he was the "gentleman" character. Ray was very kind. I really looked forward to when he came to dinner. I wish I could remember exactly why. But I did. We called our place "The Fifth floor Bistro" - because we live in apartment 5C. And I made fancy menus on the computer of the food we were going to eat whenever Ray came over. He was really appreciative of my efforts. One day he picked out two movies at Film Forum he thought we would all like. To be honest, I wasn't too interested but ...I went. Wow, was I surprised! One was "White Mane" and the other one was "The Red Baloon". I love "The red Balloon." It made a big impression on me to this day although I'm more into The Good, The Bad and The Ugly, True Grit and more action films. After the film we walked and walked and went to a Cafe called Le Figaro. Ray was making it a French afternoon - now that I come to think of it. We ate gigantic bowls of chocolate ice cream. It's hard to put into words why he was so special. I meet lots of older people. One difference I can think of - Ray was really, really smart about so many things but he wasn't a show of. He was the opposite. I also felt he really liked me, not just "Oh isn't he cute." That's it.
Solomon Wise
January 15, 2011
Solomon Wise
January 15, 2011
This legacy book brings many of us great comfort. Ray was taken away from us decades too soon. I think I speak for many. Ray's humanity, wry humor and thoughtfulness among many other qualities are sorely missed. The poems in the Bell have an uncanny way, at least momentarily, of bringing you back to life, Ray. I hope to hear from his community and his family soon. Knowing you, I doubt you ever imagined that you would be so missed. Of course, life goes on, as your poems echo, but it's not the same. Tanaquil Taubes
Tanaquil Taubes
November 20, 2010
Yes, two years. I spent time this weekend with Ray's book, The Bell, which was published last summer. His poetry embodies a distinctive voice that was very much the voice I knew long before I read his poetry. The humor, the seriousness and the humanity. I'm glad we have poetry. I think most of his friends and family know about The Bell. It was published by Seven Towers Agency in Dublin, Ireland.
Rick Mullin
February 1, 2010
Ray, I did bring your picture and book to the Saturn poetry reading last Monday and read one of your poems to start the night off in your honor. There were several of your poet friends there and many new people who appreciate your words.
Su Polo
February 1, 2010
Ray, I thought about you all day Thursday. I love and miss you and Mom so much, life is just not the same without the two of you. Forever in my heart. Karen(Pospisil)Wenzel
January 31, 2010
Ray, Two years since you left us way too soon---- I really miss our sarcastic conversations about the State of the World, People and sports. But I'll never forget the hearty laughs and good times we shared though out our lives. I'll always laugh out loud thinking of the time you put the golf club through D.R.'s bedroom window ------- lest we forget the baseball through the windshield of our neighbors New Pink Cadillac -- Not to mention arriving Late at Yankee Stadium to A First inning 8-0 Detroit Lead! I could go on ------ Wish we had more time, It's too hard to say Good-Bye Miss you dude. Cousin Scott
January 30, 2010
I think Ray's book THE BELL should be in the New York Public Library. This would be a fitting tribute to Ray and keep his book ever in the public eye.
I plan to buy several copies and donate them to the library.
Anyone who would like to join me in doing this feel free to contact me ....or.....you could donate Ray's book to your local library if you like the idea and wish to do this on your own.

Maureen McElheron [email protected]
Maureen McElheron
June 11, 2009
Ray's book The Bell will have it's launch on Wed., June 17th - 7pm at Nightingale Lounge NYC 13th Street & 2nd Ave. where Ray frequently read and featured on Monday nites at Saturn Series poetry reading. The event is sponsored and hosted by the publisher Seven Towers. Several of his fellow poets will read his work. All are welcome http://virl.com/20b8e
Su Polo
June 10, 2009
A year has past and our hearts are filled with memories of Ray that will be cherished forever.
Ray, your poetry lives on ... a gift to all ... your legacy.
Until we meet again on the other side.
We love and miss you "Bro".
Carl and Mary
Mary Pospisil
January 28, 2009
Ray, It's one year ago today that you left us. We miss your sense of humor, your smile, and the way you always had a funny story to tell whether past of present. You left us way to soon. Love Always, Karen, Bryan, and Brook Pospisil
Karen (Pospisil) Wenzel
January 28, 2009
I never met Ray but we are linked through Rutgers and through concern for the environment. My sympathies to his friends and family.
Phillip Gordon
November 5, 2008

Modern Metrics Press
in association with MTP-Montauk Theatre Productions

The Poetry of Ray Pospisil

with readings by
R. Nemo Hill, Quincy Lehr,
Thomas Fucaloro, Rick Mullin,
Jane Ormerod, Oran Ryan, Michelle Slater

Saturday, 14 June, 2008 ~ 7:30 PM
The Shooting Star Theatre
40 Peck Slip
at South Street Seaport

Directions to the Shooting Star:

By subway: take the 2, 3, 4, or 5 to Fulton or the A or C to Nassau.
Walk east on Fulton toward South Street Seaport.
Turn left on pearl, walk two blocks (Beekman, then Peck Slip).
Turn right on Peck Slip.
The Shooting Star Theatre is on the south side of the street, at #40, on the Third Floor.

By Bus: M15 down Second Avenue to Peck Slip stop.

There is parking available across from the theater.
R. Nemo Hill
June 13, 2008
I met Ray in 1980,,,I lived in the E Village then and we'd often ride bikes across the Verazanno Bridge and BBQ on my E 6th St, fire escape.

Ray would laughingly recite the most grim poems....
"Dust and ashes dead and done with
Venice spent what Venice earned."

Ray was the most sensitive soul I ever met.
I am so honored that he invited me
"down the shore" to meet his Uncle, mom
and cousins in Manesquan.

Ray was an unearthly combination of common man and angelic being.

I did not know Ray died....I was sitting in a cafe tonight on McDougal Street with a pal.
I saw Ray ....I was sure it was Ray...sitting at a sidewalk table alone, reading.
No plate was in front of him.
I did not want to ignore my friend so I let the moment pass....I was thinking of approaching Ray though I hadn't seen him in years.
I looked up and he was gone.
I went home and googled Ray and found out
he died via this memorial page.
I believe Ray appeared to me to let me know he had died.
God Bless you Ray. We will pray for you, please pray for us.
Now you know how much you were loved.

Maureen McElheron
May 23 '08
Maureen McElheron
May 23, 2008
Hi to everybody, I want to say how lovely the 2nd memorial event for Ray was on Friday evening April 25. The space is delightful and the hosts were welcoming and caring. Thanks so much to Bill Coffel for creating this wonderful event and to those who were there who read sang and attended or who were there in spirit... a big hug to you all. We will keep the fires of poetry and writing glowing always for Ray.
And Big Al, don't worry, I have a feeling Ray will find extraodinary ways of keeping in touch with us all.
Sincerest peaceful wishes to Carl and Mary and family,
Su Polo
Su Polo
April 28, 2008
Me again. I am in Maryland; I can't attend this memorial. Ray was one of few friends I have that I considered close. What will I do without a critic and someone to laugh at my odd ideas? Only Ray and maybe Richard follow my streched connections and absurd ideation. Who will be willing and able to help me sort notions I have into those with shreds of validity and the majority that are, as I have come to understand, kooky. Who? This sucks; this is about me; again I want my friend back.
Al Samuel
April 24, 2008
Announcement for 2nd Memorial Gathering
in celebration of Friend and Poet Ray Pospisil

Friday 4/25 - 7:30pm - 9:30pm
Ozzies Coffee @ 249 5th Avenue (btw. Carroll & Garfield)
"R "train to Union St. (Park Slope, Bklyn)

Anyone who would like to bring something or has a contribution of a poem for
Ray or would like to read one of Ray's poems at the gathering would
kindly be welcome.

Ray frequented Ozzie's Back Room poetry open mike in
Brooklyn and all Ray's poetry friends and family
are invited.
Bill Coffel
April 22, 2008
A sweet soul
Valerie Weiss
April 21, 2008
I know that Ray was happy and in love the last few months of his life. I take some comfort in that.

But why? Why did someone as thoughtful and brilliant, as kind and as conscionable as you Ray, have to suffer from such a ruthless illness. It wrenches my heart and overwhelms my mind. Why you?

Ray, you're so very, very missed. Your star - that curiosity and wit and deep humanity of yours - won't go out.
T. Taubes
April 1, 2008
"I'm just a simple country boy from Jersey" Ray once wrote me, "...with a Czech soul"

Another excerpt from an email that was so typical of Ray's humor and mania for detail:

After seeing the movie I am Legend, Ray wrote me:

"Mr. Know-It-All Energy Journalist gets his come-uppance. After my strident rant about how the movie"I Am Legend" supposedly perpetuates the public's childish ignorance about energy by assuming that, with the whole world wiped out, power plants would somehow, magically continue to produce electricity for Will Smith's computer, lights and tread mill......Well, I guess I'm not such a big shot. The second scene in the movie shows portable generators in Will Smith's basement -- small, Honda units that he could find from any hardware stores, and which are easy to connect to a building's electrical system. And the film shows him hand-pumping gasoline out of a filling station tank, into a container, to fuel the generators. The film even shows a propane gas tank that feeds his stove and hot water heater. No explanation for the water supply, though. I guess he could periodically fill the tank from jugs of Poland Spring he could grab at grocery stores. I know I'm a nerd, But am I too much of a nerd?"
Tanaquil Taubes
March 29, 2008
Dearer Su and Dave (and anyone else),

A few weeks ago I happened to open your site and saw there the mention of Ray's passing. Perhaps this was before you organized tonight's memorial. In any case, I didn't spot a Memorial listing then. Maybe I was too distracted by the actual fact to see it.

I was quite struck by reading about Ray. We were never especially close, yet in the time since I learned of his death he has been on my mind a lot. In some way I felt he and I understood a small portion of each other even though we were only acquaintances. I'm sorry I didn't learn until this very evening of the Memorial, long after it would have been too late to attend. Even so, I'm not sure I would have known what to read if I had known in time to come. But I remember him positively. I think my response to this will emerge in time, maybe in a way not easily recognizable to anyone else.

I am glad you arranged the Memorial. Ray deserved it and more.

Allen Tice

(sorry for any typos: this machine lacks a spell checker)
Allen Tice
March 26, 2008
Ray was a poet, friend and gentleman and one of my first supporters when I was a newcomer to the circuit over 4 ½ years ago. I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to hear him read at the Saturn Series. He will always be remembered as a first class “metrical” and “free verse” poet. His legacy will live on in his poetry.

In deepest sympathy,

Patricia Carragon
Patricia Carragon
March 26, 2008
The Memorial Gathering for Ray Pospisil is scheduled for this Wednesday, March 26, 2008 at Nightingale Lounge - 7:30 pm.
All are welcome. Located at 213 2nd Avenue, NYC on the Northwest corner of 13th Street on 2nd Avenue.
Su Polo
March 24, 2008
May peace and love be with family and friends on the passing of Ray. May he rest in peace.
March 9, 2008
March 4, 2008
Evie Ivy
March 1, 2008
Ray, thank you. It was wonderful sharing with
Evie Ivy
March 1, 2008
Belated but sincere condolences to Ray's family and friends -- of whom he obviously had a wealth.

A rush sadness at the news, was met by fond memories of Ray with whom we shared our duplex home in San Francisco's Bernal Heights for a few years. The relationship between my wife, Anne, myself and Ray quickly went from landlords / tennant to friends in short order.

At the time (mid 90s)I worked out of our home as a freelance film and vodeo producer, while downstairs in our garden flat Ray plied his trade covering the energy beat. His work ethic was amazing and influenced my work no small amount. He was an old school tough guy when it came to getting his copy out on deadline.

But when the work was done there was always time to talk of the news of the day, movies, sports, and the bizarre politics of San Francisco. I clearly remember Ray's dismay and alarm when California's PUC was in the process of deregulation. Ray saw all of the wretched crud Enron, Dynegy and other power crooks pulled in California long before those events came to pass.

Here on the west coast we will remember Ray always as an interesting, intelligent, intense, private yet personable man who met life on his own terms.

Rest in peace, Ray.
john cremer
February 26, 2008
I have been a regular at the Saturn Series reading for the last two years. During that time I was honored to get to know Ray a little bit. Ray was a craftsman as a writer, but he was big enough to recognize the value in what the most inexperienced writer was doing, and to point that out to them. I always tried to sit next to him at the reading to get his angle on things. I think we learn most from those who are different from us, and I think Ray felt that way too. As I will miss the little connection that Ray and I had, I send my sincerest condolences to his family and loved ones whose loss is greater, and share a poem I wrote in honor of him.

Elegy for a Fallen Poet

Buttoned down anguish
Regular guy
Close shave maelstrom
Behind sunken eyes
Cool reserve pressed chinos
Faraway pallid smile
Wheels within wheels revealed
The workings of your inner mind
I remember you working it out
I remember you pacing the floor
On a sultry summer evening
In the muggy month of July
In the city of crashing subways
And smoky killer cars
Of insomniac static
And cold sweat staring dreams
You reasoned with the demons
Evaluating data streams
You had fun with the conundrum
Every breathing moment leaves
Can we people live together?
Can mankind endure world pain?
Anxiety, destiny, guilt
Grief, self-loathing and regret
The bulls and the bears and your federal reserve
Che Guevara and the baseball game
Snowfort sliding memories
With a hint of fresh rainbow shine.
I did not really know you
But could someone really know you?
I know it's hard to be a human being
A mighty challenge to be yourself
But I'll remember you pacing the floor
Rocking forward onto your toes
I wanted you to work it out
I wanted you to show me the way
But a poet is like a children's top
It topples when the momentum stops.
David Lawton
February 22, 2008
I'm shocked and terribly saddened to hear this news. I knew Ray from his wonderful poetry, sharing meals after many a reading in Brooklyn, and from casual visits and larger celebrations to discussions of things politic and feline. What a loss to poetry -- to life. My deep condolences to his family and friends.
Janet Kaplan
February 21, 2008
Condolences and gratitude to all who've created/contributed to this site in memorial of Ray. He's deeply missed. I didn't know Ray well, but I always looked forward to talking with him and hearing him read at the Modern Metrics poetry reading series and other venues around town. He did stalk the stage like a tiger, as one of you said. He was wonderful on stage, rendering his grounded-yet-lyrical poems. He was a uniquely intelligent, lyrical soul grounded in a basically edgy landscape: a consumate realist. Such a terrible loss. So sorry.
Wendy Sloan
February 20, 2008
Carl and all,

This is my second entry regarding my close friend Ray. When I bought a sailboat too large for my experience, Ray had guts to sail with me several times when seasoned sailors called me nuts to take the boat out in its questionable condition. Ray purposely miss used sailing jargon to annoy me with hilarious effect. In his apartment there hung a framed copy I gave him of a blown up photo he took for me from Hell Gate Park in Astoria. It shows my boat passing under the Triboro at slack tide. I treasure that photo since at the time I did not know he was even there taking it and it is highly unlikely I'll ever sail through Hell Gate again. Another copy hangs over my fireplace (please dispose of Ray's copy unless someone wants it). I have a short but impressive video mpg of he and I sailing at hull speed (fastest) in Long Island Sound. If anyone would like me to email this short intense vid, easily downloaded in under a minute on any connection, let me know via the contact link here and I'll send it. We got a few funny stories of voyages between Port Jefferson and Port Washington.

Al Samuel
February 17, 2008
I was shocked and saddened to learn of Ray's death. He was a gentle soul with a tough exterior, as someone else has already pointed out, and could write poetry in form like no one else I knew in Brooklyn. He was also a lot of fun to watch football with, and I remember a fateful Sunday when my husband and I watched the Jets actually win a playoff game with Ray celebrating at our side. Mostly, I know he was a serious journalist and poet, and his poetry was growing and strengthening all the time. Still waters run deep and Ray ran deeper than most. I will miss him a great deal.
Alexandra van de Kamp
February 17, 2008
I have worked professionally with Ray for about 15 years. Ray wrote great prose, great stories about arcane electric power issues. He’s one of the few people I know who could define both BACT and trochee, and he had the cleanest copy this side of Noe Valley. It was also precise and well written. So I didn’t often have to call him for clarification on a story he had written. On the occasions when I did, we would often end up swapping stories. I have a long tape loop of his one-liners in my head that will be running for a long time to come, but I still miss him.
Peter Maloney
February 15, 2008
New York has lost a tremendous talent and a tremendous person. I met Ray through his poetry. When he was outraged, in Richard Loranger's words, he stalked the stage like a tiger. But he also had a sweet, affectionate side which was all the more moving for being concealed in a tough-seeming exterior.
James Wilson
February 15, 2008
I was shocked & saddened to hear of Ray's passing. We met at the Saturn Series Reading years ago, often discussing the writing process as poets back then. Ray got on my jazz/poetry performance mailing list & after attending some of my gigs, would give thoughtful, insightful feedback. I especially remember his comments on my phrasing of Cole Porter's "Every Time We Say Goodbye". I appreciated his listening, & his voice.
DeeAnne Gorman
February 15, 2008
I remember the sensitivity of Ray's voice and the precision of his words. His love of poetry, his kindness and intelligence, sense of rhythm, curiosity, laughter and talent. My deepest sympathy to his family and friends. Ray is greatly missed.
Jane Ormerod
February 14, 2008
I was one of Ray's editors at Platts. I'm writing this around that time of the morning when I would normally be getting an e-mail from Ray – like clockwork – "I'm in all day, will call with news" was usually what he wrote. Over the course of a typical day, we'd talk three of four times at least, most often about the stories he was working on, but at times digress to other of Ray's favorite topics, such as New York politics, movies and of course his poetry readings. I and other editors here were always impressed with the precision of Ray’s stories, how cleanly written and clear they were. He was an editor's dream in that regard. As a practice, he was usually one of the last to file a story, waiting until just around deadline, wanting, I figured, for his story to be perfect. I always ascribed that habit to the fact that Ray was a poet first and foremost, and the words were all important to him. I can still hear his voice in my head calling to pitch a story. I miss him.

Rod Kuckro

Washington DC
Rod Kuckro
February 14, 2008

Ray was much a part of my life for the past twelve years, and I will always appreciate his talent, kindness, sense of humor, and many good times. I also appreciate having had the chance to get to know his many extraordinary friends and family members.

In response to a few requests, I am posting a photo of Ray, about three years ago with his "#1 girlfriend", his late cat Molly. She was a loyal companion, and as we often joked, a demanding editorial assistant, sometimes contributing vocally to important interviews!

My best wishes to all of you at this time.
Anne Chamberlain
February 12, 2008
Ray was a regular at the Saturn Poetry Reading, which I co-host with Su Polo. A modest and retiring guy, he was one of the finest poets on the circuit. He regularly de-emphasized the formal metrical structure of his work, with a reading style that suggested free verse. Unlike many formalists, he embraced the every-day in his poems. Ray was both as accomplished and real as they come, and regularly offered helpful feedback to others. He aided me in improving mine more than a few times.

I’m going to miss Ray’s new poems, friendly smile and fresh insight. Everyone at the reading will miss him.

Here is a poem I’ve written in tribute to Ray:


“Do your best,” my nightmare snickers. “What the hell –
You’ve got some time before the bell.”
Ray Pospisil – “EXAM DAY”

Your bell resounds, echoing
on though our nights-
the toll you thought would wait
a long day’s dreaming yet
tumbling us down into that blackness
you struggled to chart, lost and found
your way through time and again
by feel and tenacity.
But peeling for joy too –
brilliance punching through
confounding gloom.
Black square after white, you
strove to game the whole board.
As quickly as light pierced dark
you’d smack into eclipse from sunlight.
Living in this chiaroscuro
hodge-podge of laughter and loneliness
insight and despondency
you watched illuminated angels
square-dance demon partners,
studying their steps, barking
the tune in peerless couplets
or eloquent blank verse.
Thinking there was time yet
you danced to get the steps down pat
relishing every do-si-do –
time before the bell
a chance to tell it all,
you who told so well.

David Elsasser – Manhattan, NY
[email protected]
David Elsasser
February 12, 2008
I was so sorry to hear about Ray's death. I didn't know him well, but it is the mark of his excellence as a poet and his kindness and dignity as a human being, which I sensed, that started what I felt might be the beginning of a deep friendship, just from having met him a few times. He truly seemed to be a wonderful person, and a charming and erudite poet. My deepest sympathy to his family.

I am enclosing an original poem I wrote, and read at the memorial for other poets that I also admired deeply, and it's called


When time has caught us
with our boots off
and the slow, steady reign of years
into eternity begins,
even poets pause

Uncertainty lies in the space
between life, and all else
that has been conjured,
between paths we walk
and the unknowable darkness.
Hesitant or canny, the poet digests
mood and moment, crochets ideas,
defines the unthinkable...
Sometimes we weep....

But when Death makes others
kneel and pray, the poet
sharpens tongue and writes --
And though galaxies will swallow
us whole into the memories
of those who loved us or feared
us, those who bestowed praise
or blame, who recall us with
anger or delight or desire,
who whisper our names
on moonless nights --
we will be enveloped in pillows
of infinite stars, take clouds
for beds in that seamless night...

Then let death come!
Not as the thunder of hoofbeats
under ochre desert skies,
but soft as butterfly wings
upon your cheek,
sweet as dew-drizzled lilacs,
light as winged hope ascending...
O let it be a rolling dreamless
iambic sleep....

(c.) 1993
Leigh Harrison
February 9, 2008
I worked with Ray professionally for about 15 years. He wrote great prose, great stories about arcane electric power issues. He's one of the few people I know who could define both BACT and trochee, and he had the cleanest copy this side of Noe Valley. It was also precise and well written. So I didn't often have to call him for clarification on a story he had written. On the occasions when I did, we would often end up swapping stories. I have a large tape loop of his one-liners in my head that will be running for a long time. I miss him.
Peter Maloney
February 8, 2008
Ray and I emailed a lot and we often sent each pictures of cats, our own and others. In mid-rant about politics, Ray sent me this photo of a soldier in Iraq. I think it expresses Ray's appreciation of love and tenderness in the face of an often hostile world.
With love, Oriane
Oriane Stender
February 7, 2008
Carl and Family,
I am deaply saddened to hear of Ray's passing. My memories will always be of my "big" cousin who I chased around and annoyed.
Irene Pospisil-Lightcap
Irene Lightcap
February 7, 2008
I already signed this but forgot to include my name. Ray, Sorry.

February 3, 2008
I'm not sure if I'm addressing Ray or Ray's friends. Either way, he was intensely interesting and so devoted to finding the meaning. I saved two emails from Ray--he responded to my poetry with insight and creativity. I told him he was an honorary Swede...he sometimes tended to a northern style of recalcitrance as he leaned against the long bar at the Saturn and watched us all. I really miss you. I really miss him

Sarah Sarai
New York City
Sarah Sarai
February 7, 2008
I was one of Ray's editors at Platts. I'm writing this around that time of the morning when I would normally be getting an e-mail from Ray – like clockwork – "I'm in all day, will call with news" was usually what he wrote. Over the course of a typical day, we'd talk three of four times at least, most often about the stories he was working on, but at times digress to other of Ray's favorite topics, such as New York politics, movies and of course his poetry readings. I and other editors here were always impressed with the precision of Ray’s stories, how cleanly written and clear they were. He was an editor's dream in that regard. As a practice, he was usually one of the last to file a story, waiting until just around deadline, wanting, I figured, for his story to be perfect. I always ascribed that habit to the fact that Ray was a poet first and foremost, and the words were all important to him. I can still hear his voice in my head calling to pitch a story. I miss him.
Rod Kuckro
February 6, 2008
Not only was Ray my Brother-in-law and Uncle to my children, he was a kind and loving person to everyone he met. His love of writing and poetry was what he lived for. I will most miss his sense of humor and kind spirit. We love you Ray and will dearly miss you.
Karen Pospisil-Wenzel
February 6, 2008
I count Ray among the few close friends I have. He and I and others above sought laughs at Clarkes for years. We felt comfortable in a bar John Gotti called his favorite. What we did there is relax, encounter people from everywhere (sometimes with lasting consequences), argue absurdities of the day, contradict each other, and compose obnoxious lyrics. Here we’d evaluate rude composition against our mutually understood standards for rudeness and sometimes the public’s. Ray was a tougher critic than the others. I knew I’d hit the mark when his laugh would come out and light up Third Avenue with blazing sunshine.

Our interests have not diverged over the years; I don’t think we changed at all. With me in Maryland for over a decade every conversation with Ray in person or on the phone or by email was like it had continued from yesterday, same values, same tension, same sense of the absurd.

I want my friend back.

Al Samuel
Al Samuel
February 5, 2008
More than anything this week, I am thinking of Ray’s laughter. And of his questions—of his complete engagement in a conversation, his passion and his sense of humor. I loved spending time with Ray, and I miss him very much.
Rick Mullin
February 5, 2008
Ray is a character in the following poem which I wrote in 2006. He's not the first poet I mention (the featured reader on the evening in question) but the second one, my "fellow reader on the open mike." I thought it would be nice to share this with Ray's family and friends.


It is a night the featured poet
shows us how to put the “super”
back into “superficial,”
and nobody seems to notice my verses—
especially not the new one I am trying out
for the first time.

One fellow reader on the open mike, however,
offers me words I expect to remember
And so I decide
that on this particular evening
poetry has taken another giant step forward.
Steve Bloom
February 5, 2008
To Ray's family, Please accept my deepest condolences on the loss of your brother, brother-in-law, uncle and cousin.

I worked with Ray from 1986 to 1990 at the McGraw-Hill Company's Energy & Business Newsletters (EBN) group. I will always remember his professionalism as well as his impish sense of humor even at work. "Work hard, play hard" was the motto of the office as I remember.

Along with hard work, Ray brought a deep sense of humor and thirst for irreverence to the office--we took the work seriously but not ourselves. Egos were deflated with glee on a regular basis--not with unkindness but with tongue planted firmly in cheek. After work, we spent many evenings bonding over food and glasses of Dewar's on the rocks.

After leaving EBN for the proverbial greener pastures, I still kept in touch with a core group of work friends including Ray. The friendships created at EBN have remained solid over the years and provided a support in times of prosperity as well as trouble. In addition to the memorial service planned by his poetry circle, I hope to meet with the EBN "family" to mourn the loss of our dear friend, Ray Pospisil. May he rest in peace.
Sandy Fong
February 4, 2008
Many here have written about Ray's talents, which inspired us all. But his sense of humor is what I remember most fondly about him. I'm afraid that citing the best of it would run afoul of the New York Times', uh, style rules.
There were four of us guys known as the Roosters--which included Ray, myself, Al Samuel and Rob Ingraham--and we would often meet at PJ Clarkes to compose raunchy songs and vignettes. We were often all in tears at times from how far it would go. I think Ray was very happy on these occasions. His way with words coupled with his wicked sense of humor were indeed inspiring.
Ray and I ourselves had a great friendship and we would often commisserate with each other on our career and love lives. Even on those occasions, it didn't remain serious very long, and humor and a sense of the absurd would often win the day.
I miss Ray a lot.
Richard Schwartz
February 4, 2008
I worked with Ray at McGraw-Hill and stayed in touch tangentially through friends, and was lucky enough to see him read "Insomnia" at Modern Metrics two years ago. He was one of those people that everyone likes and admires, but that somehow seems to bring more joy joy to others than he could keep for himself. I am certainly glad I knew him, and am sad to see him go this young. Also am thankful, and a bit awed, that he did the incredibly hard work of committing his thoughts to verse. That way we can continue to know him. Thanks to those of you who post pictures and link to videos.
Ron Dionne
February 4, 2008
My only contacts with Ray were on a professional basis when he called for comments and wrote on energy issues involving the New York Power Authority. He was a true professional. His writing was always accurate and fair. I see from reading the entries here that Ray was much more than an energy reporter. I should have figured that out because his writing style was so excellent. When my colleague brought in the news that Ray had died, it was if the wind was knocked out of us. We all had good working relationships with him. Though our contacts were limited to phone conversaions, we came to know him as special and will miss working with him.
Connie Cullen
February 4, 2008
My deepest sympathy goes to all of Ray's family and friends. Please see the link below for a web page I've created in memory of Ray.
Information will be posted there re: a dedicated memorial gathering being planned to honor Ray. http://www.supolo.com/Ray_Pospisil2008.html There are some photos and direct links to
several videos of Ray you can see on bambamslam.com web site of his performances at Saturn Series. I'm going to miss Ray so much.
I have always looked forward to hearing his lovely words. His poetry and insight will continue to be an inspiration to me.
Ray frequented the Saturn Series Poetry reading at Nightingale Lounge, Monday nights in NYC. He featured for us several times; most recently on Sept. 3, 2007. Ray would also recite Shakespeare with ease and tell unusual stories. His wry sense of humor mixed with environmental awareness and befuddlement of society's incongruity coupled with his innate ability to write it all down in metric form so smoothly flowing in almost song like delivery as he rocked on his heels to tell us what he discovered, will always glisten in our memories like that golden glint from the light in his window in which he found so much inspiration.
Su Polo
Su Polo
February 4, 2008
Ray was a good friend and a brilliant poet. He will be missed.
Quincy Lehr
February 4, 2008
Carl, thank you so much for the pictures. They are a treat. I had not seen Ray for such a long time; the phone was as good as it got. During that time, it was my pleasure to rely on the professionalism of his work, and his caring for its accuracy. I always meant to delve further into his poetry world, but never got beyond just a little bit. Now that I have made it a little further in, I'm awed by the power of what he expressed there. He has left that beauty to all of us.
I would like to refer people who may not already know of it to a lovely web page that Ray's friend Su Polo made for him; the page will give information soon about a memorial event at the Nightingale Lounge. Her page is at: www.supolo.com/Ray_Pospisil2008.html
Kathy Larsen
February 3, 2008
I'm not sure if I'm addressing Ray or Ray's friends. Either way, he was intensely interesting and so devoted to finding the meaning. I saved two emails from Ray--he responded to my poetry with insight and creativity. I told him he was an honorary Swede...he sometimes tended to a northern style of recalcitrance as he leaned against the long bar at the Saturn and watched us all. I really miss you. I really miss him.
February 3, 2008

The raging torrent
rips the gully
Tossing tons of prehistoric rock
about - like playthings

Thunder booms on and on
Resurfaced landscape
The young genius
awaits the next storm
Bittersweet and foolish
A last tumultuous roar before . . .

The gully opens
The river carries the storm
to the great sea

Tess Kelly, San Francisco
Tess Kelly
February 3, 2008
That's me, and my brother Ray on the right. 1957 or there abouts. He got the brains in the family..... I got the cool shirt.
Gonna miss you, bro..... Carl
Carl Pospisil
February 3, 2008
February 3, 2008
February 3, 2008
February 3, 2008
Ray and I missed out first deadlines together. We met at an orientation for the WRSU radio news department at Rutgers College during our freshman year in 1971. Assigned to rewrite some local political story for the 5 pm broadcast, we hashed over the story, debating what the politicians should have done instead and, not even looking at the clock, eventually turned in the written piece at 5:20 pm. But it was good enough for the announcer to record for use the next morning.

Ray and I sometimes laughed that we were unlikely business journalists, but we were both good at it and cared deeply about the craft and the public interest. I can thank him for bringing me into energy reporting in 1984 -- and we each plied our trades for the next two dozen years, as friends and colleagues, across the continent and the Internet.

Each time I returned to the New York area, I'd try to see him and we'd walk the Village to trade stories over Indian food or coffee. I was planning to do that again in April. It will be a somewhat lonely visit without my great friend to share another debate about how things should be. ao'd
Arthur O'Donnell
February 3, 2008
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