Posts Tagged ‘literature’

It’s been about 5 or 6 yrs. since I’ve been in a classroom, which means I am no longer bound to hmwk., papers, or lectures. Truth be told, I miss it so much my heart and brain- or better yet, my mind babies, often sit at a table in the back of my soul and cry into a puddle of whiskey and congealed dreams and tears. (The glasses for the whiskey were broken in a fit of false hope and melancholy many moons ago). 
Given my plight, I find myself unable to read “for fun” as the bookish call it; I find myself as a knight, with sword drawn, ready to slay a dragon. I am armed with a pencil and post its or a journal- ready to transcribe my conversations with my book- friends! 
I try to read without formally conversing with my book confidants but I fail miserably! Tonight I ended up swapping battle scars with W. H. Auden’s Lectures on Shakespeare, in particular- the seemingly political but cacophony of sound that is Coriolanus.
I won’t bore you with the details but hopefully the lecture and I will be friends in the end. This despite the fact I will leave Auden’s Lectures to do battle with Shakespeare’s Coriolanus himself. And then on to the land of Asimov’s Guide to Shakespeare… in any case, the journey will have me scaling an Ivory Tower when in fact- “there is no Ivory Tower,” or so said the keeper of keys and wisdom in graduate school.


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the bloody red Queen sits on her throne

Off with His Head is her sweet refrain

until white roses become red again.

the White Rabbit, Hatter and Caterpillar

seem immune to the hemlock cakes

and mercury smoothies.

her Cheshire Cat still remains

a visible heart or vorpal sword

against mounds of neutered masculine dead.


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an oyster rests in a tide pool;

waves of fear coax me.

millions of eyes bleed through me;

a bloody Queen reigns supreme.

a pearl rolled through rabbit hole, after rabbit hole;

yet my pearl remains intact.

the tiny treasure,

worth more than Pandora’s pitcher-

still bests the knave’s

deceptive representations .

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college, has gone the way of the Mozart, Rilke, and Beethoven.

I am not sure what to say. I am not sure I can form a thoughtful retrospective of St. Edward’s professor Dr. Harald Becker. When I found out Monday afternoon that another professor I valued passed away, all I could do was cry. Then as I read various postings related to the somber occasion yet celebrating his life, I thought about what made me appreciate this wonderful professor and kind soul.

I guess the best way I could express the ways he mattered is to just throw out a bunch of blurbs written with what good ch’i and bit of thought I am able to muster.

One day many moons ago, I went to St. Edward’s University. I’m the first to go to college so just being on a campus was intimidating to me. I recall going to a series of events that introduced SEU to potential students. At one of these events, I attended a spaghetti dinner with my brother- along for the ride before families had to leave their kids to their SEU wknd.

At this dinner I wandered aimlessly. I had no idea where the hell to go and who to sit with. I did not know of anyone else there that I may band together with; however, I remember I somehow met Dr. Harald Becker. He took the time to sit with my brother and I to talk with us about St. Edward’s and keep us company. We talked for awhile but all I remember is that I was sure that I wanted attend SEU in the fall.

*       *       *

Once many moons ago, I went to a dress rehearsal of The Magic Flute. My companions for the cultural and musical delight were other students and Dr. Harald Becker. We sat up in the balcony of the Bass Concert Hall to listen and watch Austin Lyric Opera get ready to perform one of Mozart’s most endearing operas. For me it was like watching that scene in Amadeus- only better because we all had Dr. Becker there to explain various elements of the opera to us.

*       *       *

I’ve enjoyed taking many classes with Dr. Becker; I had the pleasure of taking: German I & II, Rilke, Nobel Prize Winning German Authors, and German Nationalism. All of these classes have stories of their own I could share but I wouldn’t know where to begin… all I can say is that these courses, his passion for teaching, and his stories about life and history. The German literature courses in particular, renewed my interest in writing. Since then I’ve been writing more and have even published some of my writing. My love of the authors I encountered in those classes has also inspired me to share my poetry with others via wordpress. I think the fun I had in those classes and the light-hearted feeling I got while sitting there, listening to him lecture about German literature and culture is what stuck with me most.

One story I can think of that makes me giggle still is when I walked into German Nationalism as he was preparing a slide show. I have a small book of paintings that I brought in to show him a portrait done by Albrecht Durer. I put my stuff down and walked over to him to show him and after we talked briefly about the picture he giggled and said, I know that picture and I have it in my slideshow. After that we both giggled and I swear I jumped up and down mentally. It was cool knowing I was as wonderfully dorky as the professor 😀 During the slideshow he went on about how he loves the Rococo period, my ch’i giggled.

Another story I can recall is how he spent an hour of class going over how to pick a good German wine. Everyone sat there thinking- is he serious? He was, and he said something to the effect of how WE MUST learn how to pick a good German wine. I think in his mind it added to the understanding of the German culture. It was a good lecture. I have my notes from that class. About two pages are dedicated to reading labels, why Riesling wines rock and which ones are better than others… where Dr. Becker is now exactly, I do not know. I do hope he is sharing a bottle of Riesling with Professor Lawson and Dr. Shirley; maybe they’re watching a slideshow about the Rococo period and Albrecht Durer. 😀

RIP- I hope they are listening to Mozart with the angels.

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