Al Ortolani


Al Ortolani was born in Huntington, New York and grew up in Pittsburg, Kansas.  He was educated at Pittsburg State University where he received his B.S. in Education, an M.A. in English and an Ed.S. in Higher Education. He has taught secondary English in Baxter Springs, Pittsburg and Overland Park (Blue Valley) as well as an adjunct at Pittsburg State University.  He has worked as a house painter, chimney sweep, antique dealer, juvenile counselor, pony handler, canoeing instructor, gas station attendant and soda jerk.  Many of his poems have been inspired by his friends, family and students.  He once claimed to have cooked the best bowl of chili in the state of Kansas.  Al Ortolani is a co-editor of The Little Balkans Review.  He has performed with White Buffalo Poetry and Song in Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado.  His poetry has appeared in the Midwest Quarterly, the New York Quarterly,The Laurel Review, Wilderness, The Quarterly, Cottonwood Review, Coal City Review, The English Journal and many others.  His haiku have appeared in numerous journals on 4 continents.  He has published one chapbook, Slow Stirring Spoon, High/Coo Press and two collections of poetry from Woodley Press, The Last Hippie of Camp 50 and Finding the Edge. *

--- Bio provided by Al Ortolani

Bibliography ( - housed in Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection)

  •  On the Chicopee Spur (New York Quarterly Press, 2018)
  •  Paper Birds Don't Fly (New York Quarterly Press, 2016)
  •  Ghost Sign: Poems from White Buffalo (co-authored with Melissa Fite-Johnson, J.T. Knoll, and Adam Jameson, 39 West Press, 2016)
  •  Francis Shoots Pool at Chubb's Bar (Spartan Press, 2015)
  •  Waving Mustard in Surrender, Poems (NY Quarterly Books, 2014)
  •  Cooking Chili On The Day Of The Dead (Aldrich Press, 2013)
  •  Wren's House (Coal City Press, 2012)
  •  Finding the Edge (Woodley Press, 2011)
  •  The Last Hippie of Camp 50 (Woodley Press, 1989)
  • Slow Stirring Spoon (chapbook) (High/Coo Press, 1981)


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Title Alternate label Class
Finding the Edge Author Book
Ghost Sign: Poems from White Buffalo Author Book
Cooking Chili On The Day Of The Dead Author Book
Wren's House Author Book
The Last Hippie of Camp 50 Author Book