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Flushing poet’s verses span half a lifetime of love

By Stephen Stirling

Zuckrow recently published “Love and Death and Love,” a collection of 95 poems the Flushing House resident wrote over the last 45 years. Zuckrow's poems chronicle his journey through the grief of losing his first wife, who died when he was in his 40s.”It was my way of trying to handle that, and I did, bit by bit,” Zuckrow said. “I still [write poetry]. I don't know if I'm getting better, but I'm getting older, that's for sure.”Through his classical and lyrical prose, Zuckrow documents his journey through the stages of grief following the death of his first wife and later how he was able to bounce back and learn to love again.”Expected-the despair, the sigh and tears and moans, because she has gone where body is stripped to bones.”Yet?-silliness? laughter? frivolity? and mirth?-so scandalous after that consignment to earth!” one of his poems reads. Zuckrow, who has been a widower two times, has a son and daughter by his first wife, four grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Soon after he moved into Flushing House on May 31, 2001, he met another recently widowed resident there, Meryl Braverman. The two became close companions and had a “commitment ceremony” on Oct. 17, 2004, on the retirement home's rooftop lounge.Zuckrow said selecting the poetry for his collection was a difficult process and he is considering releasing another book in the near future.”There's more poetry than that. This is what I finally managed to put together,” he said. “I don't know how many more years I'll have – at 90 I can't have another 45 years in me. I'll take two or three. So there may be another book.””It was a bit of a helter-skelter process, though. I picked the ones I felt were finished. As you write, you have some things that you look back on the next day that don't look as good as they did the night before, so I have a number of other things here that are being whipped into shape.”Born in Philadelphia on Aug. 26, 1917, Zuckrow has lived in New York City for most of his 90 years, splitting time between living in Flushing, Brooklyn, Manhattan and the Bronx.”If I live a little longer, maybe I'll spend some time in Staten Island,” he said, pointing out it was the only borough he has not lived in.Zuckrow holds a master of arts from Columbia University, specializing in literature and education. He worked as a teacher in the city and served in private industry and the federal government.To request a reading of “Love and Death and Love,” call Zuckrow at 718-353-0636 or e-mail him at leonzuckrow@mac.com.Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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