Born in 1946, I grew up in a then-flourishing factory town in western Pennsylvania, US, ten miles west down the Ohio River from Pittsburgh, then called "Steel City." From my earliest childhood, my mother was severely depressed, and my family in constant conflict. At the same time, my father, originally a violinist, gave me the gift of love for classical music. He taught me how to listen, not only to the main theme(s), but also for the entire musical score, from the basses to the high woodwinds. Ours was one of the few Jewish families in a largely Italian Catholic town. Much of the time in grade school and high school, I felt like an outsider, and had a tenuous sense of belonging. Jew-baiting was common, and I tried desperately to compensate by helping fellow students with homework. Still, I was mostly kept at arm's length, and branded with the role of "the brain." When I would attend Hebrew School several days a week for many years in the Jewish district in Pittsburgh, I was "the outsider" there as well, since I was from a small town rather than from the Jewish section of Pittsburgh. Together, these eventually in part underlay my attraction to anthropology, to ethnic and American studies, to the psychoanalytic depth of often unconscious lived experience, to my penchant for holistic thinking (linking what at first seem to be distinct, unrelated, facets of culture, family, and history), to my attentiveness to my-self as a research instrument, called counter-transference), my use of my own poetry as a means toward understanding workplace organizations and wider culture), and to striving to help other people, organizations, even international relations, by listening deeply to people and helping them to listen to each other, soul-to-soul. This lay at the core of my role as clinical some fifty years as teacher of medical students, family medicine interns and residents, PAs, and many other health care professionals. My deep interest in the unconscious roots of organizational life became the foundation of much of my research, writing, teaching, and consulting. I attended the University of Pittsburgh, obtaining my A.B. in historical musicology in 1967, and a Ph.D. in psychological anthropology in 1972. After teaching for seven years in the Dept. of Psychiatry at Meharry Medical College, in Nashville, TN, I spent the rest of my career in the Dept. of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, in Oklahoma City, OK. I was "farmed out" to teach clinical behavioral science to Family Medicine residents in rural Oklahoma residencies in Enid, Shawnee, and Lawton, OK. I fell in love with rural wheat farming families and culture, and devoted much of my over forty years in Oklahoma to rural medicine and rural health.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
My research, applied anthropology/psychoanalysis/poetry, and professional contributions are located at the point of convergence/ intersection of many academic fields and interests: among them, applied, psychoanalytic, medical, and organizational anthropology; psychohistory; psychoanalytic study of workplace organizations; rural medicine and rural health; rural Oklahoma wheat farming families and culture; the culture of Oklahoma; political psychology; ethnic studies; ethnicity in American life; the White Ethnic Revitalization Movement of the late 1960's and 1970's, and other revitalization movements/ crisis cults such as that of Donald Trump; American studies; Slavic-East European studies; psychodynamic exploration of "managed social change" since the early 1980's (e.g., downsizing, RIFing, reengineering, restructuring, deeskilling, outsourcing/offshoring, managed healthcare, etc.); cultural psychodynamics of deregulation; psychodynamic-cultural exploration of the Age of Trump; storytelling and story-listening in organizations and beyond; uses of applied poetry in organizational and cultural research, interpretation, explanation, and consultation; the importance of "listening deeply." Much of my organizational psychodynamic writing and writing about the Age of Trump has been influenced by and often in collaboration with Michael Diamond and Seth Allcorn. Over the decades, many colleagues in numerous fields have told me (often in rejecting journal and book manuscripts) that, while my ideas are always interesting, they are "neither fish nor fowl," that they do not fit into any academic specialty, that they fall between the cracks. I have been fortunate along the way to find places and people in which this is a virtue rather than a fatal flaw. From all this have emerged some 32 published books (including 10 poetry books and chapbooks), over 200 published chapters and essays, and over 700 poems.
I love to sit out on my front porch among the scrub oak and post oak trees, to be immersed in the natural world as well as protect myself from its many dangers (ice storms, tornadoes, floods, drought); take short walks in Nature (with limitations of physical disabilities); listen to classical music and attend concerts (prior to COVID-19 epidemic); spend time with my 27 year-old son, a bright and sensitive person who loves many musical styles and is an outstanding drummer; play and rest with my cat-person, Leia (and, for 16 years until his recent death, her feline-person companion, my constant companion, Luke); selectively read many genres, including psychoanalysis and poetry; have intense, intimate, and Real conversations in person, on the telephone, and over the internet with individual people and groups; write in many kinds of styles; drink and enjoy fresh, strong, hot coffee.