CI father and son collab on new poetry book

David Ellis and his son, Gabriel kayak in the Long Island Sound, just off of City Island, last summer.
Photo courtesy of David Ellis

A Bronx resident is sharing the wonderments of his newest home – 17 syllables at a time.

David Ellis, a teacher and library technology coordinator at St. Mark the Evangelist School in Harlem who has lived on City Island for the last seven years, is currently working on a new children’s version of his book ‘Beach in City Island: Haiku Poems by David Ellis’, which was printed and released earlier this month.

The poems describe the many adventures one would experience while living on or visiting City Island, from the summertime and the wildlife to the fisherman, the rocks on the coast line and, of course, the beaches at the end of City Island streets.

Born and raised in Mount Vernon, Ellis graduated from Allen University in Colombia, SC, where he majored in elementary education and also studied poetry. He also lived in New Rochelle for five years before settling down on City Island in 2010.

“A lot of people travel to City Island to eat or fish – but I wrote this book to spread the word that there is so much more to this place than just that,” Ellis said. “City Island is really an undiscovered gem – there is a lot of history and nature here that many people are not aware of. That’s why I wrote this book.”

Ellis also said that almost all of his students were born and raised in an urban, inner city environment and are rarely exposed to habitats like those which exist on City Island.

“Many of my students don’t realize that City Island is right in their backyard – and much of this nature and wildlife is easily accessible to them,” David said. “I am committed to not only bringing my experiences of City Island to my readers, but also encouraging them to come visit an area that offers so much.”

Ellis added that he also writes poetry on pieces of driftwood, which City Islanders sometimes stumble upon when they are by the water in areas such as Belden Point or the Catherine Scott Promenade.

“One day, my son asked me why I loved the beach so much, and I told him it was because I love to be surrounded by God and everything that he made, like the seagulls and the ocean,” David added. “Anytime I am on the beach, I feel the spirits who walked on this same sand hundreds of years ago.”

The new version of the book, which includes nearly 100 haiku poems, will feature illustrations by David’s son Gabriel, whom he dedicated the book to in the preface. Haiku poems follow a 5-7-5 syllable format.

The children’s version of the book is expected to be released in the next few months.

Since graduating from Allen University, Ellis has written nearly 3,000 poems and is working on another poetry book about Harlem, where he has been an educator for the last 15 years.

Copies of the original version of Beach in City Island can be purchased on lulu.com or at the Kaleidoscope Gallery, 280 City Island Avenue. The gallery can be reached at (718) 885-3090.

For more information on David Ellis, visit instagram.com/beachincityisland.

More from Around NYC

>