Peter Payack

64 highland ave
cambridge, MA 02139

Author's Bio

Peter Payack was the first Poet Populist of Cambridge Massachusetts (2007-2009). His innovation, Phone-a-Poem, the Cambridge/Boston Poetry Hotline (1976-2001) along with his work and realia, were recently archived at Harvard’s Lamont Library in the Woodberry Poetry Room. Payack is the widely acclaimed poet and writer including multiple appearances in The Paris Review, Rolling Stone, The New York Times, The Cornell Review, The Boston Globe and over three dozen poems in Amazing Science Fiction Stories, Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazines and Creative Computing. He has Published over 1,500 poems, stories, prose poems, photos and articles. His Poem, The Migration of Darkness, won the 1980 Rhysling Award, signifying The Best Poem in Science Fiction Poetry, and was recently named the number one poem that unites science and art (Quirk Books.) His work has been anthologized extensively including pieces in Knowing & Writing, New Perspectives on Classical Questions (Harper Collins), Astronomy, from the Earth to the Universe (Saunders College Publishing), and The Poets’ Encyclopedia (Unmuzzled Ox), The Paris Review Anthology (Norton), The Alchemy of Stars (SPFA) and Burning With a Vision (Owlswick Press.) Payack is the inventor of the world-renowned Stonehenge Watch™, an infinitesimal replica of the megaliths at Stonehenge inside of an old-fashioned pocket watch, which can be used as a shadow clock to tell time, mark the seasons and predict eclipses. The Stonehenge Watch™ has been featured at The International Sky Art Conference at MIT, on BBC-TV, in Astronomy and has been for sale at the Stonehenge site itself. And is now the featured exhibit at The National Watch and Clock Museum. He has published 10 nationally distributed books, the latest, The Book of Conceptual Anarchy, (Assembly Line Studios), and over two dozen chapbooks. As a Sky Artist Payack has been commissioned to do environmental poetry projects for The New York Avant Garde Festival, The International Sky Art Conference (MIT), The Harvard 350 Celebration and Boston’s First Night. Peter has taught as an Assistant Professor Communications at The Berklee College of Music, University of Massachusetts Lowell and UMass Online for over 30 years. When not writing poetry, teaching or inventing new things, he can be found coaching The Cambridge Rindge & Latin School wrestling team or running. He has run 24 marathons, including 12 Boston Marathons.

Publications and Prizes

Blanket Knowledge
(Zoland Books, 1997)
, No Free Will in Tomatoes
(Zoland Books, 1989)
, Stonehenge Unraveled
(The Idea Works, 1992)
, The Book of Conceptual Anarchy, Volume 1
(The Idea Works, 2012)
, The Growth of Human Ideas
(Vehicule Press, 1980)
, The Zen of America
(The Idea Works, 1992)
Knowing & Writing
(HarperCollins Publishers, 1992)
, Paris Review Anthology
(W. W. Norton & Company, 1990)
, The Paris Review Anthology
(Norton, 1990)
Asimov's Sci-Fi Magazine
Prizes Won: 
1980 Rhysling Award for the Best Poem in Science FictionFirst Poet Populist of Cambridge Massachusetts2017 Marquis Who'sWho Lifetime Achievenent AwardThe 2010 Haskell Memorial Award for Distinguished Teaching, University of Massachusetts LowellCommendation from The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, for Outstanding Contribution of Bring Arts to the Commonwealth, 1985   

More Information

Listed as: 
Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Italian American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
Born in: 
Morristown, NJ
Raised in: 
Boonton, NJ, NJ
THE EVOLUTIONARY RACE I run the beach, six miles in two hours, pathetically slow, but not bad for a 67-year-old guy with two knee replacements. Then I pass a horseshoe crab that has gone almost nowhere in roughly half a billion years (this poem is coming out soon in Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine)
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Last updated: Oct 10, 2017