about MARC

My real name is Marc Polonsky but I also go by Marcwordsmith. I’ve been writing since I was six years old. In first grade, I already knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, because I love setting words to paper (and, like most writers, I also love to read). My first published piece was in The Sun magazine in 1986—an account of my experiences on the 9-month-long cross-country Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament that walked from Los Angeles to Washington, DC.

As an English instructor at Vista Community College in Berkeley, from 1988 to 2000, I had the opportunity to share some of the literature I love with students ages 18-67, and to help them with their writing. (Please see some of my former students’ comments on the testimonials page). In the classroom, I developed my own approach to teaching poetry appreciation, and I wrote a textbook, The Poetry Reader’s Toolkit, which is now published by Glencoe/McGraw Hill. (Read an excerpt from this book.)

In 1998, I teamed up with a jobs counselor, Ron Mendlin, and wrote a series of workbooks for ex-offenders who are trying to survive and readjust to mainstream society after doing time in prison. (See an excerpt from this work.)

I have also published essays and articles in several periodicals and on the Web and have edited numerous manuscripts. I enjoy writing and editing in a variety of genres.

I believe our experience of life is largely determined by the ways in which we imagine, or conceive of, our world. Therefore, imagination is a key to fulfillment. Words can be, and often are, wielded in such a way as to contract the imagination, through simplistic slogans, jargon, propaganda, and so on. But words can also be used to open the doors of the mind, to light up new or neglected rooms of the imagination, and to enrich life.

Values that guide my work and my life are clarity, honesty, compassion, simple kindness and friendliness, survival of planetary ecosystems, and the continuing psychological and spiritual evolution of the human species. I strive to uphold and advance these values in all my words and activities.