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Delaware boxer, baseball engineer and new book on free speech

April 12, 2019

Dave Tiberi, a professional boxer, was among those who turned out recently for a kick-off cocktail reception at the new Hyatt Regency in Dewey Beach for the second annual golf tournament to benefit the Beau Biden Foundation.

After compiling a 22-3 record as a middleweight between 1985 and 1992, Tiberi started a television production company and, later, the Emergency Protocol Response company which supplies cameras, software and strategies to meet security needs for businesses. He has also coordinated several physical training boot camps and for several years trained aspiring Delaware State Police and municipal police officers.

Animated and a natural storyteller, Tiberi loves talking physical fitness and eating healthy. He boxed at about 217 pounds but has slimmed down considerably since then. He said when he was in training for bouts, he would start each morning workout with 30 minutes of jumping rope. “Strengthens the ankles,” said Tiberi. “Most people don’t realize how important strong ankles are for boxers.”

Beau Biden served two terms as Delaware’s attorney general. Since his untimely death in 2015, at age 46, from brain cancer, the Beau Biden Foundation has been carrying on Biden’s commitment to stand up and speak out for children who are being abused.

He visited the Cape Gazette once during the investigation into the crimes of former pediatrician and convicted pedophile Earl Bradley. “It all comes down to abuse of authority,” he said.

Baseball stadium engineer

At the same reception, I spoke with Jim Baker, professional engineer with the Lewes firm of MacIntosh Engineering. Jim said he’s excited to be an engineer working on a new baseball stadium in Fredericksburg, Virginia. The $35 million stadium will be home to the Class A-Advanced Potomac Nationals. They are a Carolina League affiliate of the Washington Nationals. “I worked with the architectural firm Tetra Tech on the elementary schools being built by Cape Henlopen School District,” said Baker. “They liked the engineering work I did for them on those projects. When they received the award to design the Fredericksburg stadium, they asked me to join them as engineer. Of course I said yes, and it’s a fun project.” Fredericksburg broke ground on the stadium in February. Completion is expected in time for the 2020 season.

Ferlinghetti and Ginsberg

I received an advance reading copy recently of Ronald Collins and Dave Skover’s new book titled “The People v. Ferlinghetti: The Fight to Publish Allen Ginsberg’s Howl.” A professor at the University of Washington School of Law, Collins has a residence in Lewes and is a co-founder of the Lewes History Book Festival. His co-author, Skover, is a professor at the Seattle University School of Law.

Notes on the back of the book about poet and publisher Lawrence Ferlinghetti and beat poet Allen Ginsberg explain: “The People v. Ferlinghetti is the story of a rebellious poet, a revolutionary poem, an intrepid book publisher, and a bookseller unintimidated by federal or local officials. There is much color in that story: the bizarre twists of the trial, the swagger of the lead lawyer, the savvy of the young ACLU lawyer, and the surprise verdict of the Sunday school teacher who presided as judge. With a novelist’s flair, noted free speech authorities Ronald K. L. Collins and David Skover tell the true story of an American maverick who refused to play it safe and who in the process gave staying power to freedom of the press in America. The People v. Ferlinghetti will be of interest to anyone interested in the history of free speech in America and the history of the Beat poets.”

I can attest to the truth of that last sentence. I read the book while on vacation recently, and it held my interest from cover to cover.

The authors provide a concise, compelling, and colorful narrative of the incidents leading up to the arrest and trial of Ferlinghetti for publishing Ginsberg’s collection of poems including the controversial “Howl.”

Authorities said the work was obscene and posed a danger to the morals of the community.

Those with a literary bent will appreciate commentary and footnotes on the works, lives and machinations of Walt Whitman and the Beat generation successors to his revolutionary poetry including writers Jack Kerouac, Kenneth Rexroth, Gary Snyder and others.

The book is equally interesting because it includes the heretofore unpublished verdict by Judge Clayton Horn - in its entirety.

He ultimately concluded that Ginsberg’s work does have some redeeming social value and is not obscene.

The book also includes a transcript of a radio Pacifica interview with Ferlinghetti, along with commentary that was broadcast in 2007 on the 50th anniversary of the Howl verdict.  And that’s not all. The work includes a Ferlinghett timeline, a full list of sources and a comprehensive index.

All of that in a slim 216 pages.

Rowman and Littlefield is publishing the book. It will be produced in hardback and paperback editions.

  • Dennis Forney has been a journalist on the Delmarva Peninsula since 1972 and has been writing his Barefootin’ column for The Whale and then the Cape Gazette for more than 30 years. Contact Dennis at dennisforney@capegazette.com.