Props are for Profs
Thanks to Aimee I've been thinking a lot about my own poetic awakening lately. The locus was the fabulous Sea Nymph fountain at the University of Michigan. It must've been my second semester of undergrad, because I was taking my first poetry workshop. I had purchased a bunch of poetry books from Shaman Drum, and sitting by the fountain all of a sudden I had a good old fashioned epiphany. I wanted to write poetry. I wanted to teach poetry writing. And I didn't want to do anything else.
Over ten years later, and that epiphany still drives me. I don't think it would've been possible without the amazing professors who helped me keep my momentum (I went from kindergarten through MFA and Ph.D. without taking a break from school, other than summers working in a coffeehouse).
At U of M, Thylias Moss was an inspiration, and I still use "There Will Be Animals" with my intro to poetry writing classes. During my MFA at Bowling Green State U, Sharona Muir taught me the meaning of the semicolon, and how to keep a small graduate workshop lively. And finally, Michael Anania at UIC, who was the first person who really understood what I was writing about. Without him, I might not have stuck with it. So thank you, wonderful professors of yesteryear!
Who else had a prof or high school teacher who made a difference? Let's start a little love fest here...