Warren Hope was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1944. He was educated in the public – that is, the free, state-supported – schools there, including Philadelphia’s Central High School, generally considered one of the best high schools in the country and dedicated to a college preparatory curriculum.
Despite attending Central, Hope did not attend college immediately and instead worked in a printing company and joined the United States Air Force. Hope served as a helicopter medic in Viet Nam, and a number of his poems are based on or refer to his year-long tour of duty there.After military service, he attended the Community College of Philadelphia and then Temple University.
While at Temple, with a good library at hand, Hope read the poetry in English of the twentieth century and made up his own mind about it. It was then that he came across the poems of Norman Cameron and began to consider the possibility of writing Cameron’s life.
He worked in advertising, public relations, and publishing, eventually settling into a career at the Insurance Institute of America. He was largely responsible for the editing and production of insurance textbooks there.
His poems began to appear in little magazines such as The Smith at about the time Hope married and began to raise a family. The poems have continued to appear spasmodically, in magazines and in a series of chapbooks published by R.L. Barth.
The only full-length collection of Hope’s poems is Adam’s Thoughts in Winter, published by Greenwich Exchange.
At the end of 1999 Hope took early retirement from the Insurance Institute of America to concentrate on teaching and writing.
Warren Hope answers 20 questions for Greenwich Exchange
1. Which books are currently on your bedside table? 'The Elsewhere Community' by Hugh Kenner; Robert Nye’s 'A Collection of Poems 1955-1988'; Henry Adams’ 'History of the United States of America during the Administrations of James Madison'; and Robert Frost’s 'Collected Poems and Prose'.
2.Who is your favourite writer? Shakespeare, also known as Edward de Vere, seventeenth Earl of Oxford.
3.Which book has had the biggest influence on your life? Norman Cameron’s Collected Poems – because it led me to spend twenty years or so on Cameron’s life, work, family, friends, and so on.
4. How do you like to relax? By watching soccer – uh, football – on TV or in person.
5. Which living person do you most admire? I don’t know. I’m sure there are admirable people who are alive now, but they are unlikely to become known in their lifetimes.
6. Which historical figure do you most admire? Perhaps Ignace Semmelweiss, the man who eradicated childbirth fever.
7. Do you enjoy television and, if so, which programme(s) do you like to watch? I like watching soccer games and old movies on TV. It seems to me to be a medium whose potential has largely been squandered.
8. Which objects do you always carry with you? Pen, paper, coins, keys.
9. If you were an animal, which animal would you be? A Turtle.
10. Do you believe in God? Yes, but I think the real question is: Does God believe in me?
11. Where is your favourite place? Ocean City, New Jersey – with Philadelphia’s Penn Treaty Park a close second.
12. What makes you happy? Spring-like days that turn up to surprise us in late winter.
13. What makes you angry? Pettiness and injustice – in myself and others.
14. What do you like most about yourself? My Quixotic tendencies.
15. What do you like least about yourself? My cautious tendencies – and the way they magnify minor worries.
16. Which word or phrase do you most overuse? Perhaps – perhaps.
17. What is your greatest fear? Incapacitation – through a stroke, for instance.
18. Do you believe in love at first sight? Yes.
19. How would you like to be remembered? I look forward to being completely forgotten.
20. What do you wish you had known at 18 that you know now? Money matters.