Adam Penna is the author of Talk of Happiness (S4N Books, 2018), Small Fires, Little Flames (Finishing Line Press, 2017), Little Songs & Lyrics to Genji (S4N Books, 2010), and The Love of a Sleeper (Finishing Line Press, 2008). His work has appeared in many literary magazines and journals, including Cimarron Review, Nimrod and Verse Daily. Penna is a professor of English at Suffolk County Community College and lives in East Moriches with his wife and family.


14 Responses to Bio

  1. Claudia says:

    2/22/09 – Hello Adam Penna
    I enjoyed your words about Merton’s poetry and Fred Smock’s new book. I envy your participation in a writing group inspired by Merton’s work. I have found myself also inspired or sparked by his work in the past 6 months and a few poems have blossomed forth.
    I also am reading Merton’s first journal and he speaks often of Dante’s Inferno.
    Have you read the book Echoing Silence Thomas Merton on the Vocation of Writing Edited by Robert Inchausti? Starting on page 20 there is an essay written on October 24, 1958 “From Poetry and Contemplation: A Reappraisal.” Here Merton describes his experiences of a contemplative/mystic and compares it with his experience of an artist/poet.

    I enjoyed the depth of your writing in your January 13 2009 blog and agree with your definition of poetry. I have found “sacred poems” flowing out of my life.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
    Claudia Hill Duffee, MA
    Adjunct Professor, Computer Information Management
    Bluegrass Community & Technical College,
    Lexington, Kentucky
    Educational Program Curriculum Design; multimedia web based programs
    Poet: Sacred and Nature
    Prayer and Healing Ministry: exploring the link between writing and recovery of health and wholeness currently exploring The Artist Way by Julie Cameron.

  2. Adam Penna says:

    Thank you for your kind words, Claudia. I don’t think I’ve read the essay you mention. But I will now. I am particularly interested also in what you call “the link between writing and health.” I wonder what you have found.

    • Claudia says:

      Hello again – a few years later…
      I took a course on Thomas Merton at Bellarmine University in Louisville, KY last Spring 2010 and also found Merton’s poetry difficult to catch the spiritual essence. I also read Fred Smock’s book (a Bellarmine professor)and enjoyed it but also pull back at the political role of the poet. The Prophetic Poet insight is important for our world but I agree with you I am looking for the sacred conduit of Divine essence to flow.
      Found two books that support this poetic focus in my ongoing research.
      Saved by a Poem by Kim Rosen (secular use of poetry for healing focus) and Poetic Medicine by John Fox.

      I have also discovered that many of the Christian Church Fathers and Mothers wrote poetry as a spiritual discipline in addition to their more well-known scholarly and academic work or in the case of women, their mystical writings.

      More on that later…

      • Adam Penna says:


        It’s wonderful to hear from you again. Thanks for the list of books. I’ll check them out. Good luck with your research, and keep me updated.


  3. Bill Jantz says:

    Hello, Professor Penna,

    I was rereading “Iron John” today and remembered that it was you who recommended it in class. I googled your name to see what you’re up to and voila- here I am. Love the website. The essays are thought-provoking and helped me to remember the joy I felt attending your class.

    p.s. Merton’s translation of “Wisdom of the Desert” might be the best thing he ever did.

    • Adam Penna says:

      Hi, Bill,

      It’s good to hear from you, and I’m glad you’re liking the blog. Email me sometime over at the SCCC address and let me know what you’re up to.

  4. walter us says:

    HI Adam We met at Canio’s. I love your writing and it hits me in the heart. I would love to talk to you more.

  5. Faith Raynis says:

    Greetings Professor Penna,

    During the winter break I read Letters to Gengi, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

    • Adam Penna says:

      Hi, Faith. It’s good to hear from you, and I hope you are well. I’m glad, too, that you liked the poem. All my best.

  6. Claudia says:

    Hello again….
    In response to your interest (Feb 2009 blog entry) in the connection between writing and wellness I am including the link to my magazine article published in January 2016 by Bellarmine Magazine.
    It is a concise article of my research and implementation in workshops and small groups.
    Claudia Hill Duffee

  7. Anthony Alfano says:

    You were the first English professor I ever had, back in 2003. It was an 8:00 am English 101 class. It changed my views on writing, on reading, and on life. I believe I took 4 or 5 other classes with you through my roughly 3 years at SCCC. To this day, you continue to be an inspiration to me, although we haven’t spoken since probably 2006. Thank you.

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