Leonard Durso

Istanbul, Turkey

I am a native New Yorker who was talked into going to school in Ohio by my supposedly best friend and ended up staying there long enough to receive a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from Bowling Green University in 1976. I drifted out to Los Angeles because my ex-wife was intent on becoming a movie star. Having no better way to squander my money, I opened up a literary bookstore called Intellectuals & Liars in Santa Monica and became part of the poetry scene there. I had a few short stories and an excerpt from an earlier novel published in some small literary magazines, held weekly poetry/prose readings, published broadsides, and, being no exception to the rule that poetry doesn’t sell, went out of business. This led to a series of jobs like selling shoes, running a warehouse, writing advertising copy for radio, and, after completing a second MA in Teaching of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL), began teaching English to immigrants. Since my main concern was keeping a roof over my head and the wolves from the door while I continued to write, I took a job as a full-time tenured faculty member at a college. Eventually, not being satisfied with just teaching, I created an English Language Institute and went over to the dark side and joined the administration so I could run it. I then became the Director of the Language Center at one college and the Director of the English As A Second Language Program at another college. Finding myself enamored with the idea of living overseas, I took a job in 2008-09 as the Director of the English Preparatory Program at a two year vocational college in Beykoz, Istanbul. 2009 found me bouncing back and forth between New York and Istanbul but, as of May, 2010, I have eventually settled in Istanbul to be the director of the English program at Plato Meslek Yüksekokulu. Besides working with people I am very fond of at the college, being surrounded by students I've learned to love, a culture I am fascinated with, and great food, I also find it easier to write. And once, in a city far, far away, I was a scoutmaster, which means I’m pretty good at tying knots, building campfires, and am also loyal, trustworthy, helpful, etc.

  • Work
    • Plato College of Higher Education
  • Education
    • MA in TESOL
    • MFA in Creative Writing