We were very sorry to hear that John Elsberg, a poet, editor, and long-time friend of The Writer's Center, passed away on Friday, July 27. We are posting an appreciation Board member Wilson Wyatt wrote for the Eastern Shore Writers' Association E-News.
On John Elsberg
by Wilson Wyatt,
In July, we lost a fellow writer, a poet extraordinaire, and a friend. It is with sadness we write of the passing of long-time ESWA member John Elsberg.
John enjoyed the personal side of writing, quietly celebrating small achievements with other writers, to build something better, writing for a greater purpose, a step at a time. This was evident at “The Delmarva Review,” where he was the poetry editor and close advisor for five years. After editorial meetings, he would often say, with a pleasant smile on his face, “Let’s go have a glass of wine.” It was his way of ending business discussions to enjoy the camaraderie of others, in respect for every small effort to build the Review. He always took the long view, but he wanted to celebrate each step of progress.
John passed away last week after a bout with cancer. The great loves in his life were his wife Connie, their family, and writing. He was devoted to writing, both to his own poetry and the work of many others. He was an early member of the Eastern Shore Writers Association and became a founding advisor to help create “The Delmarva Review,” as a regional journal showcasing new literary work. His devotion to writers on the Eastern Shore included judging the regional arts councils’ poetry competitions and “open mic” poetry readings in Greensboro. In retirement, he was looking forward to moving from Virginia to his and Connie’s second home in Henderson, Maryland.
John was a highly regarded poet, reviewer, editor, and historian. The author of over 14 books and chapbooks of poetry, his work has been published in many anthologies. He started the open poetry readings at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and in the 1970's was fiction editor of “Gargoyle” literary journal. Since 1975, he was the editor and publisher of “Bogg,” a magazine of contemporary writing from America and the U.K. As a young man he taught at the University of Maryland and then spent many years as an editor/publisher of history books. In his professional life, he directed a publishing program for the U.S. government.
John is survived by his wife Connie, his son, Steve, and two grandchildren. The family requests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Caroline County Humane Society, 407 West Bell Street, in Ridgely, MD 21660 (410-820-1600). You may send a note of sympathy to Connie Elsberg at 422 North Cleveland Street, Arlington VA 22201.