West Running Brooke

Voice Card  -  Volume 26  -  Stuart Card Number 7  -  Sun, Nov 1, 1992 2:33 PM

This is a response to VC 25 John 11 ("Tenuous Recovery")...

Ah, yes, Professor Brooke Hopkins of the U. of Utah English Dept. He is one of my favorite teachers in my life, too, John. In my own teaching, I look to him as a model of enthusiasm and caring (I also thought B. W. was a great U. of U. prof, more for his generous eloquence and great breadth of intelligence and knowledge, though outside of the classroom he was a mean spirited, petty classed bastard. Not so Brooke.)

Another great teacher of mine was Mr. Frisius, my Shakespeare and Advanced Placement English teacher. He was fat; smelly; had metal caps on his front teeth; couldn't keep his hair from flopping all over in cow-licky convulsions; couldn't keep his shirt tucked in or his buttons buttoned straight or even his jacket on both his arms; called us all peasants ("peasant in the green dress, would you please close the door," that sort of thing); was married to a woman twenty years his senior who, when I took him in 1973, was paralyzed by a stroke; chain smoked (as evidenced by Winstons falling out of his pocket nearly every time he went into palpitations of excitement over a passage he loved) - but man oh man was he passionate about words, and he read poetry like some goddam angel overloaded on bliss.

Many of my pre-med, college bound, grade grubbing friends didn't like him at all (such sloppy, uninhibited passion and love made them uncomfortable, I suspect), but I swore then, and I am keeping that promise, that my first book of poems would be dedicated to him. Sorry mom.