Strangers to Us All Lawyers and Poetry

Eli Greifer

(    -1966)

Eli Greifer was a pharmacist, lawyer, poet and a founder of "poetry therapy." The following commentary, woefully inadequate as a workable biographical sketch, appears on the back dust-cover of Greifer's Philosophic Duels:

Geographically, constitutionally, and ideologically, the compiler and fifty-percent author of this book has long been a Greenwich Villager whose cosmos was the little community, just below West Fourteenth Street, which bows in a circle to Sheridan Square Mecca. He was content to continue reciting in the many short-lived, opportunity-granting poetry forums of the Village in competition with his fellow Bohemians. What then drove him to throw down his gauntlet to all the master poets of English and American literature/ 'Twas the good, old Inferiority Complex did it when the compiler's fellow Villagers, despite the enthusiasm of audiences, refused him recognition as even a near-equal of such sons of the Village as had found favor in the eyes of the dictators of literature—the big-shot publishers. At twenty-five, he was pronounced too young; at thirty-six, too withered for worthy poetic achievement. During his Villaging, Sheridan Square's literary shrine, bearing the hallowed name of Hubert's Cafeteria yielded its Bohemian hegemony to Stewart's; Stewart's magically turned Willow, was transformed into Ma Jones', and at last the cafeteria earned the tile of Life, itself. But throughout these momentous developments in the seat of literary empire, the disparaging opinion of the masters' challenger persisted as firm as the stump of an ancient oak tree—and as low! He had been told in the earlier epoch to stick to pharmacy. Now he was urged to stop pretending that he was a poet since he had lost by desiccation any poetic fertility he might have had, during four years of wandering through a legal desert—let him stick to law! Nor did his fellow Villagers amend their attitude in the extra-curricular activities of his W P A project; although, in giving him a position on the Historical Records Survey, it is only just to mention that Regional Director George J. Miller consider the compiler's poems as some evidence of merit rather than proof of disqualification.

Poetry as Therapy


Eli Greifer, Rimes of a Jolly Rebel (New York: The Astoria Press, 1929)

________, Lyrics for the Lovelorn; Poetic Prescriptions (New York: R. Vallon, 1935)

________, Poetic Lotions, Pills and Potions (New York: Robert Vallon 1935)

________, Philosophic Duels: Eli Greifer versus The Master Poets (New York: Academy Publications, 1938)

________, Rhymes for the Wretched Poems to Mumble on All Occasions (New York: Village Arts Center, Remedy Rhyme Gallery, 1941)

________, Poems of Free Love (:[New York, Research Books]: 1945)

________, Poems for What Ails You; Rhymes for Helen and Other Witches. Vol. 1, no. 1 ([New York? Remedy Rhyme Publications?] 1947)

________, Greenwich Village Adventure (New York: RemedyRhyme Publications, 1950)(story in prose and poetry)

________, Philosophic Poems (New York: Remedy-Rhyme Pub., 1951)


Eli Greifer, Greifer's Quizzer on the Law of Evidence (Brooklyn, New York: Academy Publications, 1936)

________, Lyric Essays on Man ([New York]: Vagabonds of Greenwich Village, 1930-?)

________, How I Cured My Incurable Ailments (New York: by the author, 1959)

________, Principles of Poetry Therapy (Poetry Therapy Center, 1963)