Tortorella ’80 Publishes Anthology of His Poems

Instructor in English Paul Tortorella ’80 has recently published a book of his poems entitled “The Common Poems.” “The Common Poems” is filled with poetry set in remote locations or as he calls it, “the middle of nowhere”. Having grown up on a common in upstate New York known as “White Heather”, Mr. Tortorella wanted his writing to explore the similarities between “nowhere” and “somewhere”. To write his book, Tortorella traveled around to the outskirts of cities and to small towns to observe life in these locations. In writing about these remote locations he hoped to find the commonalities of life. Mr. Tortorella said, “The poems are intended to be read through as a story. I want people to be able to see the connection between these places and how these places affect our daily lives. In total, the book took about one and a half years to complete.” For his first book, Mr. Tortorella said, “I chose to write poetry, rather than a novel, because I hoped to provide images of the locations I visited, but at the same time, I encourage the reader to take the images and form their own stories.” He considers the ideas of his poems accessible to all, but at the same time there are some interpretations that the reader will have to work for. Mr. Tortorella first arrived on the Phillips Andover campus as a student for the 1979 to 1980 school year. Having completed high school in Syracuse in just three years, Mr. Tortorella came to Andover to complete a post-graduate year before heading to college. At Andover, he played goalie on the Varsity Hockey squad and deepened his passion for literature. Mr. T.ortorella credits his English teachers Ms. St Pierre and Mr. Kalkstein for adding to his interest in English. After graduating, Mr. Tortorella entered Yale University as an English major where he continued to play hockey. As an English major, he decided that he wanted to teach and set a goal to return to Andover as a teacher. This goal was postponed temporarily when the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabers drafted him. After training camp, the team assigned him to their IHL developmental team. Tortorella was not satisfied with this level of play and decided to follow a new path. In his mid-20s, he left the Sabers organization and worked in the business industry, saving money so that he could afford to be a teacher later on in life. Eventually, he returned to the Buffalo area to begin teaching. Mr. Tortorella officially realized his dream of teaching when accepted a faculty position at Andover as an English Instructor. Now, in addition to a teacher of many popular electives such as Gothic literature, Mr. Tortorella has been a dorm advisor to America House and Girls’ Junior Varsity Soccer coach. In writing this book and teaching English, Mr. Tortorella tried to show that the inner life is just as important as the public life. Mr. Tortorella considers himself a ‘natural’ person, and he thinks that this side of life is very important. Everyone needs to get in touch with their imagination before they enter the disciplined, public, real world. The strong imagination is one of the things he believes that reading and writing develops. At this time, Mr. Tortorella plans on writing at least one more book. His book The Common Poems is available at the Andover Book Store and online.