Born in New York City and raised in northern New Jersey, Richard Bernstein spent the bulk of his childhood in an apple and peach orchard overlooking the Manhattan skyline. After receiving a B.A. in English from Muhlenberg College in Allentown, Pennsylvania in 1980, where he worked with Gerald Stern, Len Roberts, and other Lehigh Valley poets, he spent six years odd-jobbing his way around the United States. Eventually, he made his way to central New York and completed his M.A. in English at Binghamton University where he was fortunate enough to be a student in Ruth Stone’s poetry workshop. An 11-time recipient of the Bright Hill Press New York State High School Poetry Teacher of the Year Award, as well as the recipient of many other awards, grants, and distinctions for teaching and writing, Bernstein is currently in his 35th year as a high school English teacher in Norwich, New York. He is also employed as an adjunct instructor of English at (SUNY) Morrisville State College. His most recent chapbook, To the Occupant of Apartment 6X, was released by Finishing Line Press in 2015. Six poems in the book had previously appeared in The Georgia Review. Stephen Corey, the long-time editor of The Georgia Review, writes, “…Bernstein is a rare romantic cynic with an expansive metaphorical imagination, one that sweeps you up and pulls you into his quietly extravagant takes on life…”
Bernstein’s poems have also appeared in San Diego Poetry Press, Arcade, Workplace: A Journal for Academic Labor, Alternatives to Surrender, an anthology of poems dealing with cancer, loss, and recovery, and many other journals and anthologies. He has read and performed his work at universities, poetry festivals, libraries, galleries, bars, and many other venues, including in competition at the National Poetry Slam.