Saturday, April 11, 2020

Warrior Writers NJ Salute to Perry Rosenstein

"Back to Nature" by Jan Barry
Puffin Cultural Forum Calendar Feb. 2018

Week three of Warrior Writers NJ’s coronavirus-quarantine, online workshops on Zoom, on Sunday, April 5, reunited several veterans and military family members peering into laptops and cell phones at their homes and, in one case, sitting beside a spring-showered river. The main focus of this gathering was the grievous loss of a major supporter of progressive artists, writers and musicians, including our veterans’ arts programs: Perry Rosenstein, the founder of Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck, NJ.

A World War II veteran, Perry provided a welcoming place for O wow! sorts of thought-provoking art about the horrendous consequences of war and survivors’ and supporters’ on-going struggles for peace and community harmony. Perry and his wife Gladys Miller-Rosenstein supported with Puffin Foundation grants a wide range of progressive groups, including The Nation magazine; instituted the Puffin/Nation Prize for Creative Citizenship, awarded to Americans who do conspicuously courageous social justice work; and founded the Teaneck Creek Conservancy, a local environmental jewel they and scores of enthusiastic volunteers crafted from a trash dump.

This is a selection of our writing workshop meditations.


By Jan Barry

The first time I saw a Puffin
Was a painting on a chunk of concrete
In a wooded former dump site
That somebody had turned into a
Nature preserve off I-95 in Teaneck—
That somebody was a retired business guy
Named Perry Rosenstein
Who turned his corporate offices
Into a community culture center
And spread his transformational actions
Across Teaneck, New York City, and the world—
Perry died the other day, at 94
Struck down by coronavirus,
As it has ravaged places he loved

RIP, Mr. Rosenstein

By Tara Kraus

RIP, Mr. Rosenstein
I thank you for your creation,
your precious vibrant container,
Puffin Cultural Foundation
petri-dish artist skunkworx
of duende and social justice.
Where creativity Sparked, Forged, Trussed,
buttressed soaring truths
for our imaginal human rights futures, manifests in real time.
Your container called us forth, our Frontline Arts
brothers and sisters’ Armistice show on Veterans Day 2018,
I created my large
Trump nuclear abolition pop-up.
You called us
To go large as artists to stretch our craft
To raise our voices from a strangled whisper through a gasp of possibility
to full throated reverberating.
You call us forth to create the undeniable.

The Puffin

By JoAnn Drozd

A place for all to gather
Memories of an endearing evening of art, writing, and music by a multitude of artists
My son’s emotional poem about the war machine & his girlfriend at the time, now wife’s
heart-wrenching rendition of Pink’s, ‘Dear Mr. President’
Bob was there beaming with pride & awe.
A beautiful night filled with solidarity & gratitude.
Thank you, Perry, for your everlasting donation to the Arts!
Such moving & historical subject matter to preserve with the community.
And how crucial a place it is, especially now, to record & keep alive
the bizarre days the world is experiencing today.
Rest in Peace, Perry, knowing what a legacy you left behind.
Thank you….


By Sarah Mess

Perry, he gave us time, space,
And let our stories and our voices
Echo off walls of the Puffin
I read my first poem out loud there
When Jan Barry made a poet out of me
Perry was my butterfly in the wind
Who changed the trajectory of my life
And my regret is that I never got to tell him
May he rest in the peace
That he left behind in so many compromised
And marginalized voices
Peace that for some of us
Took a lifetime to find

A Salute to Perry Rosenstein

By Paula Rogovin

The puffin
a bird almost extinct
Pollution, overfishing, climate change
Diminishing food supplies –
They’re tasty
Perry Rosenstein - what a tasty choice
to name, to house your dream, Puffin Cultural Forum here in Teaneck, NJ,
to give voice to
Progressive artists, musicians, pets, veterans and military families, news media, nature lovers,
and filmmakers
Perry Rosenstein - your vision will never go extinct.
Perry Rosenstein - Present

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