Doing Good In The Neighborhood

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Writing is constantly produced and released into the world. Some of this writing is snatched up and transformed into new material by poets like SUNY New Paltz Journalism Professor, Howard Good.

In his recently released book, “Fugitive Pieces,” Good pieced together bits of previously published works and incorporated his own writing to make collage poems. This is Good’s 12th book and is available in print-on-demand form from the internet printing service All proceeds are being donated to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is a branch of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York founded in 1990 with a mission to get rid of hunger and the waste of food, according to their website. They currently operate out of a 55,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Cornwall-on-the-Hudson and, in conjunction with the Regional Food Bank, serve 1,000 member agencies in 23 counties.

For some of the poems, Good used the clips he found in books, newspaper articles, advertisements and song lyrics as “stepping-off points” or prompts for his own writing, yet he said other times he simply rearranged many clips to form a new poem.

He described the method as “taking text that had a given meaning and unmaking them and then remaking them often with a subversive or contrary meaning.”

When describing why he comprised these poems, in the author’s note he wrote, “the poems represent an attempt to break through conventional meanings and create a free order of consciousness.”

Good said the decision to donate all proceeds to the food bank came easy and with encouragement from his publisher, Right Hand Pointing. He said he and his wife have donated to the food bank in the past and he found it to be a very noble purpose and particularly appropriate around the holiday season.

Although there are private donations and fundraising events for the food bank, this is the first time anyone has committed the proceeds of one of their published works as a donation, according to the food bank’s Associate Director, Ron VanWarmer.

So far, Good estimates they have raised about $500 and hopes they will reach $1,000.

Dale Wisely, editor of Right Hand Pointing who has been working with Good on various projects over the past decade, said Good is particularly skilled at this type of new and somewhat up-start poetry that requires reading a lot and with alertness.

Wisely chose the title “Fugitive Pieces,” which happens to be the name of a poem in the book, because it adds a hint of outlaw connotation to the work and the method.

Although Good did not need to get permission from the authors to use these clips, he did give credit to all sources in the book.

According to a biographical profile of Professor Good on, he has been teaching in the Digital Media and Journalism department at SUNY New Paltz for 20 years.

Before “Fugitive Pieces,” he wrote 11 books starting with his 1986 Ph.D dissertation which he wrote while at the University of Michigan titled “Acquainted With the Night: The Image of Journalists in American Fiction, 1890-1930.”