John Roche

John met a number of poets associated with the Beat Movement while earning a B.A. in English from the University of Connecticut and a PhD at SUNY/Buffalo. These included Allen Ginsberg, Philip Whalen, Diane DiPrima, Ed Sanders, Michael McClure, and Anne Waldman. While at Buffalo, he studied with Robert Creeley, a groundbreaking American poet who had taught at the experimental Black Mountain College in the mid-1950s before heading to San Francisco to hang with Jack Kerouac and to NYC to collaborate with a number of avant-garde artists there. After teaching for seven years at Michigan State University, Dr. Roche took a position at Rochester Institute of Technology in 1999, taking over the creative writing and poetry classes, as well as advising duties for Signatures Magazine, from retiring professor and noted New York Beat poet Sam Abrams. While at RIT, Dr. Roche has brought a number of noted Beat poets to Rochester, including Ed Sanders, David Meltzer, and the late Janine Pommy Vega. In 2010 he organized a three-day symposium called Black Mountain North, and also served as a judge to Rochester’s Poets Walk project. John Roche has published three books of poems with FootHills (Kanona, NY), including On Conesus ((2005), Topicalities (2008),and The Joe Poems: The Continuing Saga of Joe the Poet (2012), and has also edited three collections, one a tribute calledUncensored Songs for Sam Abrams (Spuyten Duyvil, Brooklyn, 2009), another an anthology of poems by inmates at Auburn prison, and the third a memoir with poems by Black Mountain alumna Martha Rittenhouse Treichler. John Roche also published his own poetic memoir in the Kerouac tradition, called Road Ghosts (theenk Books, Palmyra, 2010), which the legendary SF Beat poet David Meltzer calls: an on-the-ground poetic document of radicalized students coming of age in the late 60s & early 70s. Its clarity of external & internal detail is often startling. Its detached camera eye lucidly documents the process of portent, pretense & Utopian fervor associated with that brief opening in U.S. dissident cultures & the generational clashes inspired by idealism, psychedelics, & quest fever. It’s a profound personal essay on being & becoming