Ned O’Gorman, Harlem School Founder Passes

March 10, 2014

OGorman-obit-master675Ned O’Gorman, poet and founder of the Children’s Storefront, a tuition-free school in Harlem created to combat what he saw as “the pervasive lack of imagination” in children’s education. A former Benedictine brother, he tried to become a priest, was refused twice, and so was “wounded into poetry,” he said. His poems are lush and exultant, as seen in these lines from “The Spring,” in a 1959 issue of Poetry magazine:

“My rector comes in the runes and spells of spring

when the dew falls low in the grass

and the morning-glory storms the garden walls.

In the zodiac of April, God, being my Governor

falls in the mint and flowers of the sun.”

“These children need more than reading, writing and arithmetic,” O’Gorman told the Los Angeles Times in 1992. “They need a whole universe presented to them that they can live in and hope in” (source).

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