Before the Pen Runs Dry
A Literary Biography of Samuel Hazo
Imprint: Franciscan University Press
5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: February 2022
Through the lens of Samuel Hazo’s engaging poems, Janine Molinaro tells the story of this fascinating man’s life and career. Facilitated by extensive interviews with the poet and deeply moving excerpts from his personal journals, Molinaro provides insights into Hazo’s family history, childhood, military service, and teaching career; his forty-three-year stewardship of the International Poetry Forum, which brought more than eight hundred international poets and performers to the city of Pittsburgh; his beloved wife Mary Anne and son Sam; and his views on politics, education, love, friendship, mortality, war, gender, poetry, and a host of other topics.
The book captures pivotal periods and significant events in Hazo’s life that shaped the person and writer he became as well as the remarkable individuals who added meaning and vibrancy to his life’s collage. Candid, wise, and conversational, Hazo’s poems are central to this pioneering biographical form—guiding the narrative as opposed to merely adorning or supporting it. Hazo once noted, "There are too many analytical books about authors and not many that see life as a story—which is what life is ." Before the Pen Runs Dry is such a story: an intimate portrait of the man who penned a lifetime of compelling and memorable poetry.
"This wonderful biography by Janine Molinaro take the ingenious step of focusing on carefully selected poems and then providing backstories and details. We learn of Sam's family origins and Lebanese heritage, his scholarship to Notre Dame and inspirational professors, his time in the Marines, and his academic career of forty-three years as a professor at Duquesne University. He was founder and director of the International Poetry Forum and a great promoter of the city of Pittsburgh. His wife Mary Anne and his sone Sam Robert were the loves of his life. Molinaro captures well the availability of Sams's poetry and prose as he takes up important issues like love, war, time, chance, and silence. The greatest tribute I can pay to this creative and well-developed biography is that Molinaro's prose resembles Hazo's in its sharpness, insight, and manageable length."~Rev. Edward A. Malloy, CSC,, president emeritus, University of Notre Dame
"Teacher, poet, writer, literary impresario, and above all devoted husband and father: Sam Hazo has lived a varied and consequential life. In Janine Molinaro he has found an ideal biographer. Before the Pen Runs Dry is an imaginatively conceived and exquisitely written book."~Andrew Bacevich, professor emeritus of history and international relations, Boston University
"Janine Molinaro has written a beautiful and insightful biography of Sam Hazo."~Eva Marie Saint, Academy Award recipient
"Sam Hazo is one of the most endearingly autobiographical of our major poets. By melding biography with a generous selection of his poems, Janine Molinaro shows us how Hazo transmuted the rich loom of his life into poems that shimmer and dazzle while addressing in clear, unornamented language the secret ways of mind and heart. I know of no other literary biography quite like this one. It is a marvelously enjoyable introduction to a master of many literary genres, a poet whose public recitations charm audiences into rapt silence. This is not the man in full, but it is the man in round. All that is missing is the sound of his resonant, earthenware voice."~Kenneth L. Woodward, author of Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Ascent of Trump
"The life and works of acclaimed poet Sam Hazo bask in the vibrant color that Molinaro casts on this literary mogul as she weaves together themes of time, culture, spirituality, and love eternal in this pioneering biographic style. Her unique approach eloquently combines Hazo's reflections with insightful literary analysis, historical context, and expertly curated perspectives from scholars who have been influenced by Hazo's unstoppable pen."~Brian Bayer, MID,, author and editor-in-chief, The Progress Pages