I have been a student myself, and I have worked with people I consider to be the most potent teachers of writing in my generation: Peter Elbow and Anne Bertoff, Lee Odell and Dixie Goswami, the gentle and brilliant Jimmy Britton, Ken MaCrorie and Jim Moffett, and I had a lovely lunch once with Nancy Martin. Mostly this happened at Middlebury College's Bread Loaf, and it changed my life.
In different ways, my students have also changed my life, and just now a few come to mind. I taught P. some learning strategies once, and she cried so much when I returned her paper that she had to get paper towels to dry the desk. I taught another student, D., who wrote poetry so fine that I preferred it over the poetry in my lit book, and years later his wife read some at his funeral. I listened to H. when she explained what she wanted to say, and I don't think she'd ever really been listened to before. And I remember G., whose brothers mocked her so badly for going to school that she wrote her papers in the barn as her horse made encouraging sounds and the snow fell outside. I'm proud to have taught C., just back from a war, more fisherman than student, but he shook my hand honestly and we figured out how Emily Dickinson could make sense in his life.
These are my two accomplishments: I learned to do something very well, and I do my best to pass it on to my students. I received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1980 and 1984, the President's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998, and the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching in 1998.
Favorite Quote: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2
Favorite Books/Authors: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Endurance by Alfred Lansing, Red Mars by Kim Stanley, Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey & Maturin series, and Tony Hillerman’s mysteries.