||Poet, Writer, Scholar and Teacher
Daniel Ehrhart was born on September 30th,
1948, in Roaring Spring, Pennsylvania, the third of four
sons born to Rev. John H. Ehrhart, a Protestant minister,
and Evelyn Marie (Conti) Ehrhart, who, after raising her
children, became a special education teacher. Soon after
Ehrhart was born, the family moved to Lewisburg, PA, and
then in 1955 to Perkasie, PA, where John and Evelyn remained
for the rest of their lives.
Immediately upon graduating from Pennridge High School
in June 1966, Ehrhart joined the U.S. Marine Corps, serving
three years, including 13 months in Vietnam. He subsequently
earned bachelor's and master's degrees, and (at the age
of 52) a doctorate. Over the years, he has held a wide
variety of jobs, from merchant seaman to newspaper reporter
to high school teacher. Through the 1990s, he made his
living primarily as a writer and speaker, but early in
the new millenium he returned to fulltime high school
teaching at The Haverford School in suburban Philadelphia, PA..
Married since 1981 to the former Anne Senter Gulick, he
has lived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, since 1985. Their
daughter Leela was born in 1986.
Ehrhart began writing when he was 15 years old, and has
been writing more or less continuously ever since. His
first published work, a poem about Swarthmore College,
appeared seven years later in the Chronicle of Higher
Education, and the following year eight of his poems
were included in Winning Hearts and Minds: War Poems
by Vietnam Veterans. Exclusively a poet until he was
almost 30, he has since written and published a wide variety
of nonfiction prose from 400-word newspaper commentaries
to 40-page scholarly essays to 400-page personal narratives.
The influence of Ehrhart's encounter with the Vietnam
War can readily be seen in his writing, but though he
is known primarily as a "Vietnam War poet,"
in fact his subject matter ranges widely. He has written
essays and articles on such topics as radio disc jockeys,
tugboats on the Delaware River, the Internal Revenue Service,
and a variety of modern and contemporary poets from William
Wantling to Daniel Hoffman. His wife and daughter are
major sources of inspiration for his poetry. His poems
also reflect his respect for nature, his love of friends,
his active engagement with the world around him, and his
consternation at the human condition.