Peter Fortunato


Ithaca, NY
New York US

Author's Bio

Peter Fortunato’s poetry reflects his commitment to Buddhism and a passion for the natural world first honed in California after he completed graduate school. During those years, he was a poetry apprentice of Gary Snyder, through whom he met many of the persons associated with the Beat movement. Upon returning to Ithaca in 1977, he began teaching writing at both Cornell and Ithaca College. Winner of numerous awards for his writing and grants for his stage performances, Fortunato recently lived in the Persian Gulf for four years while teaching at Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar. His 2023 memoir Desert Wind: My Life in Qatar is a rousing account of his adventures and insights into both Islam and his own prac tice of Buddhism. He has also for many years maintained a private counseling practice specializing in hypnotherapy. His 2013 book, Late Morning: New and Selected Poems, represents the continuity of the themes that compel him. His 2017 poetry collection, Entering the Mountain melds family history, myth, and the magic of the natural world.  His novel, Carnevale, published on All Saints Day, 2019, fictionalizes his Italian American upbiringing in the Hudson Valley and his development as a visual artist.  Learn more at his website

Writers Retreats: 

Publications & Prizes

Carnevale (Fomite Press, 2019)
Entering the Mountain (Cayuga Lake Books, 2017)
Late Morning: New and Selected Poems (Cayuga Lake Books, 2015)
Letters to Tiohero (Grapevine Press, 1979)
A Bell or a Hook (Ithaca House, 1977)
Journals: , ,
Voices in Italian Americana
Prizes won: 

Emily Dickinson Prize, P.S.A. Cecile Hemley Award, P.S.A. Pablo Neruda Award, OK. Arts Council Randall Jarrell Fellowship, U.N.C.-G. Honorable Mention W.B. Yeats Society of NY

Personal Favorites

Favorite authors: 
Gary Snyder, Denise Levertov, William Blake, Allen Ginsberg, Thomas Pynchon, W.B. Yeats, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson, Pablo Neruda, A. R. Ammons, Adrienne Rich, Ursula K. Le Guin, Mary Gilliland
What I'm reading now: 
A History of God by Karen Armstrong, Cornell '77 by Peter Conners, Collected Poems by Gary Snyder, The Friend by Sigrid Nunez

More Information

Gives readings: 
Travels for readings: 
Identifies as: 
Italian American
Prefers to work with: 
Fluent in: 
English, Italian
Born in: 
Poughkeepsie, NY
New York
Raised in: 
Wappingers Falls, NY
New York
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Last update: Jan 26, 2024