Officers

George Vallianos  President  George was born in Camden and grew up in the Fairview section, where his family owned the Elgin Diner, a successful 50’s diner operation. After attending the University of Pennsylvania, serving in the US Coast Guard and graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), he returned to his Camden roots and took over the Elgin in 1976. Nick Virgilio walked through the front door of the diner later that year and they soon became lifetime friends. Nick celebrated his 60th birthday in the Elgin’s dining room with a haiku reading and reception for over 60 attendees.

George Vallianos
President

George was born in Camden and grew up in the Fairview section, where his family owned the Elgin Diner, a successful 50’s diner operation. After attending the University of Pennsylvania, serving in the US Coast Guard and graduating from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), he returned to his Camden roots and took over the Elgin in 1976. Nick Virgilio walked through the front door of the diner later that year and they soon became lifetime friends. Nick celebrated his 60th birthday in the Elgin’s dining room with a haiku reading and reception for over 60 attendees.

Henry Brann  Vice President  Henry is a poet and electrical contractor from Philadelphia who led the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association as President for a decade. Henry’s most recent accomplishments include producing the stage play “Nick of Time” an inspirational play that traces the roots of Nick’s writing. The play premiered at the Haiku North America Conference in Santa Fe in September 2017.

Henry Brann
Vice President

Henry is a poet and electrical contractor from Philadelphia who led the Nick Virgilio Haiku Association as President for a decade. Henry’s most recent accomplishments include producing the stage play “Nick of Time” an inspirational play that traces the roots of Nick’s writing. The play premiered at the Haiku North America Conference in Santa Fe in September 2017.

Robin Palley  Secretary  Robin Palley is a haiku poet and works on the organization's annual Nick Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu contest. She is also senior vice president of Epsilon, a division of Alliance Data Systems.

Robin Palley
Secretary

Robin Palley is a haiku poet and works on the organization's annual Nick Virgilio Memorial Haiku and Senryu contest. She is also senior vice president of Epsilon, a division of Alliance Data Systems.

Members of the Board

Fr. Michael Doyle  Board Member  Monsignor Michael J. Doyle needs little introduction, Irish born, Fr. Doyle briefly taught in Absecon but ministered almost exclusively to the city of Camden. Friends, supporters and associates include late peace activist the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan, housing activist Sister Peg Hynes, farmworker activist Cesar Chevez and most notable to NVHA, haiku poet and Camden native Nick Virgilio. Narrated by Martin Sheen, a recent documentary called “Poet of Poverty” focused on Doyle’s poetry and his monthly letter to his congregation. His writing was collected as a book titled, “It’s a Terrible Day, Thanks be to God.” Fr. Doyle is a master tailor of words and brings a plethora of support, creativity and knowledge to NVHA.

Fr. Michael Doyle
Board Member

Monsignor Michael J. Doyle needs little introduction, Irish born, Fr. Doyle briefly taught in Absecon but ministered almost exclusively to the city of Camden. Friends, supporters and associates include late peace activist the Rev. Daniel Berrigan, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead Corrigan, housing activist Sister Peg Hynes, farmworker activist Cesar Chevez and most notable to NVHA, haiku poet and Camden native Nick Virgilio. Narrated by Martin Sheen, a recent documentary called “Poet of Poverty” focused on Doyle’s poetry and his monthly letter to his congregation. His writing was collected as a book titled, “It’s a Terrible Day, Thanks be to God.” Fr. Doyle is a master tailor of words and brings a plethora of support, creativity and knowledge to NVHA.

Theresa Banford  Board Member  Theresa Devine Banford has been has been a Board member of the NVHA for 7 years. She is an active member of Sacred Heart Church in Camden where Nick Virgilio was parishioner. Until her recent retirement she was the Development Director for Sacred Heart School, where she continues to be very involved. Theresa is a teacher, director, actress and writer. She believes in the transformative power of the arts and is a strong advocate of the arts in education.

Theresa Banford
Board Member

Theresa Devine Banford has been has been a Board member of the NVHA for 7 years. She is an active member of Sacred Heart Church in Camden where Nick Virgilio was parishioner. Until her recent retirement she was the Development Director for Sacred Heart School, where she continues to be very involved. Theresa is a teacher, director, actress and writer. She believes in the transformative power of the arts and is a strong advocate of the arts in education.

Dr. Geoffrey M. Sill  Board Member  Geoffrey Sill is an Emeritus Professor of English at the Camden campus of Rutgers University. After his retirement, he joined the Board of Directors of the NVHA, where he works on editing Nick Virgilio's letters and unpublished poems for a new collected edition.

Dr. Geoffrey M. Sill
Board Member

Geoffrey Sill is an Emeritus Professor of English at the Camden campus of Rutgers University. After his retirement, he joined the Board of Directors of the NVHA, where he works on editing Nick Virgilio's letters and unpublished poems for a new collected edition.

Therése Halscheid  Board Member  Therése received her M. A. from Rowan University and M. F. A. from Rutgers University, and currently teaches for Atlantic Cape Community College, NJ. Through cultural exchange programs she has traveled widely, and taught in England and Russia. Through the Alaskan Arts Council, she had the privilege of working with an Inupiaq Eskimo tribe on White Mountain, as well as a residency in Homer. Therese’s’ poetry collections include  Powertalk, Without Home, Uncommon Geography , which won a finalist award for the Paterson Poetry Book Prize; and  Greatest Hits , a   chapbook award from  Pudding House Publications.  Her poetry, essays and short stories have appeared in magazines such as  The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review,  and  Sou'wester, Tiferet,  among others. She has received Fellowships from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and NJ State Council on the Arts.

Therése Halscheid
Board Member

Therése received her M. A. from Rowan University and M. F. A. from Rutgers University, and currently teaches for Atlantic Cape Community College, NJ. Through cultural exchange programs she has traveled widely, and taught in England and Russia. Through the Alaskan Arts Council, she had the privilege of working with an Inupiaq Eskimo tribe on White Mountain, as well as a residency in Homer. Therese’s’ poetry collections include Powertalk, Without Home, Uncommon Geography, which won a finalist award for the Paterson Poetry Book Prize; and Greatest Hits, a chapbook award from Pudding House Publications. Her poetry, essays and short stories have appeared in magazines such as The Gettysburg Review, Tampa Review, and Sou'wester, Tiferet, among others. She has received Fellowships from The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and NJ State Council on the Arts.

Walter K. Howat (Walt)  Board Member  One of the original NVHA Board Members, Walt is a featured poet and director of major events as well as an established editor and writer. Through his writings, he has brought together some of his own personal Americanized haiku along with some new experimental works. Currently residing in Collingswood, NJ, Walt has researched Nick Virgilio and a wide array of American haiku trends, writing articles and conducting the annual “Wall of Haiku.”   A longstanding member of the NVHA board, Walt is currently retired and working full time on “Hiking along the Haiku Highway, The Americanization of haiku and senryu,” a collection of his own poetic notes, samples and articles on haiku using Nick Virgilio’s work as a reference.

Walter K. Howat (Walt)
Board Member

One of the original NVHA Board Members, Walt is a featured poet and director of major events as well as an established editor and writer. Through his writings, he has brought together some of his own personal Americanized haiku along with some new experimental works. Currently residing in Collingswood, NJ, Walt has researched Nick Virgilio and a wide array of American haiku trends, writing articles and conducting the annual “Wall of Haiku.”

A longstanding member of the NVHA board, Walt is currently retired and working full time on “Hiking along the Haiku Highway, The Americanization of haiku and senryu,” a collection of his own poetic notes, samples and articles on haiku using Nick Virgilio’s work as a reference.

Jayne Grabowski  Board Member  Jayne Grabowski is a second-year student at Rutgers University- Camden, majoring in English and Digital Studies, with a fervent love for poetry. She is in the Honors College, also participating in Civic Scholars and Greek life. The nonprofit sphere is a point of passion for Jayne, and she hopes to stay involved throughout her life. Recently, she has interned for the Whitman Woods Project, as it also combines her passion for literature and community development. She was instantly drawn to the NVHA, and knew that she could not pass on any opportunity to be involved.

Jayne Grabowski
Board Member

Jayne Grabowski is a second-year student at Rutgers University- Camden, majoring in English and Digital Studies, with a fervent love for poetry. She is in the Honors College, also participating in Civic Scholars and Greek life. The nonprofit sphere is a point of passion for Jayne, and she hopes to stay involved throughout her life. Recently, she has interned for the Whitman Woods Project, as it also combines her passion for literature and community development. She was instantly drawn to the NVHA, and knew that she could not pass on any opportunity to be involved.


Bonnie Squires  Board Member  Bonnie Squires is president of Squires Consulting, a woman-owned communications and fundraising firm, specializing in universities and non-profit organizations. She published a volume of poetry,  New Eden , and her work is included in the Doubleday anthology,  Haiku .

Bonnie Squires
Board Member

Bonnie Squires is president of Squires Consulting, a woman-owned communications and fundraising firm, specializing in universities and non-profit organizations. She published a volume of poetry, New Eden, and her work is included in the Doubleday anthology, Haiku.

Ralph Roberts  Board Member

Ralph Roberts
Board Member

 

Advisors

Betty Jean (BJ) Swartz
Rocky Wilson
Rick Black
Mary Heron
Lamont Steptoe

 

Edward Cialella
Raffael De Gruttola
Steve Honeyman
Linda Delengowski
Kathleen O'Toole
Ben Hill


Staff

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Stephanie Cawley, Program Director

Stephanie is a poet and educator from southern New Jersey. She has experience teaching creative writing to youth and adults, in both academic and community settings, and working in nonprofit and literary arts organizations. She hopes to build programs that promote poetry and create inclusive literary community in Camden. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Writing at Stockton University.

Contact her directly at stephanie.cawley.NV@gmail.com.