Old Goat Burling

I wrote this ode in honor of my favorite professor. RIP, Spring 2008.

There was a call for poetry submissions that semester for the department publication. Well, I submitted this one and was turned down. I always thought that a shame, but politics what they were, my work was rejected a few times. It wasn’t until later I realized why. To be precise, it was a different professor that I, much later, came to believe just had it out for me. I doubt she ever knew I caught on, either.

There was a day in which I encountered the woman and asked whether I might know the status of a graduate application I submitted. I had wanted to work for the publication I just mentioned. Her response was that my major was not in Creative Writing, so I was not creative. That was probably the moment I somewhat disassociated myself from my department, or whether I published, though I still retain pride in the path I took to my degrees and in the instructors who were really there for me (at least one of which saw me cry on a couple occasions).

As a graduate student – in Creative Writing – I actually took courses that were Technical and Creative. That’s what is unique about my education. I have a research, writing for technology, and editing background paired with an underlying foundation in poetry and fiction. From the time I attended my university in 2003 until the time I graduated with my master’s in 2011, I took every single creative writing fiction and poetry class they offered. I was also the only Creative Writing MA to write two degree papers rather than submit a thesis; I wrote on “Plain Language in Medical Writing” and composed a poetry collection.

The professor I wrote this poem for was my absolute favorite (I took his classes during my undergraduate program). I cannot impress upon you how deeply he touched my psyche and sparked my intellect. Moreso than any other, he taught me how to think. He’d never have taken credit for that aloud, but I think he would have held the proper level of egocentrism to accept its truth. His favorite questions: Who uses it, and what for? If you can answer that, you know the motive behind anything. His were my favorite classes.

At least, here – short and sweet – this poem now sees the light of day (or of fiberoptics)… Enjoy!

My Merlin

Statuesque, knows tomes;
British history and literature’s vice.
Tall stature, white-gray hair a halo;
on his long-faced head, mustachioed.
Sanguine lips speak Marx, a language
I previously hadn’t known—
but now apply to my own lessons.
Magical words for me, he brought alive.


About jlnp

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