Thursday, September 1, 2011

Inspiration of the Month: Wayne Gilbert

Well, it’s September and I’m pleased as punch to present another inspiration of the month. And in honor of everyone going back to school, I thought I’d feature one of my all time favorite teachers. Meet Wayne.

Wayne was my very first college professor. I took English 101, Introduction to Literature, and two creative writing courses with him in my freshman year. I’ve told him this before and I’ll say it again, he has a way of approaching the students’ heart and work, as if they were equally important. Wayne taught me to look at the whole person, to treat myself and my journey (and the journey of others) with kindness, and to look at writing as a way to crawl inside the soul and shout with joy. Some of my best memories in a college classroom…Wayne jumping up and down, waving his hands, over the moon that he might actually get us to really, truly HEAR a poem. I could write and write about the ways that those first classes with Wayne shaped my views of education but I’ll simply say I would absolutely not be where I am today without him.



I also owe him a huge debt for all of the poetry I read/heard in his classes. Wayne is a working poet and has graciously agreed to let me feature one of his poems here.


mourning-jazz for my mom

(alice may gilbert, 1929-2010;

“what are human beings that you are mindful of them. . .” Psalm 8:4a)

when we were re-united the last time

my mother was young her head full of mirthful hair

i hear her laughing now behind the door

on my side it’s raining

the cold wind has followed me home

the price of my usual luggage was too high to carry on

the ice has split herself open

my head is full of icelandic ash clouds

i’m waiting

to be

magma borne gaseous plumes

envelopes of post-eruptive matter

job’s god screaming at the inert world his new word order

solar fistulas flying out of the universe

older than the first droplets of sacred water

imprisoned miles inside arctic ice

mother says

the dark for her is sweet now lazy now as chocolate streams in thick milk shakes

she says her body is    light

i’ve walked here without a cane

waiting            waiting i’m

medicinal herbs in a swallowed capsule

the chemical in the head of a match to be scratched

her last exhalation spilled into my brother’s cupped hands

i press my palms against the cold wood

mirth bleeds through the heavy slab into my withered hands

runic syllables bubble up gurgle scat on my tongue

the wind offers a reedy chord

the rain picks up the rhythm

we stand on the dark porch-stage

making     m   u   s   i   c       all night long



You can find Wayne’s book, Magma-Mystic, by visiting HERE. He is also available for readings and workshops, especially in the Rocky Mountain area. You can email him at He writes and performs in Colorado, most often under the name Magmapoet with a group of improvisational jazz musicians. Be sure to check out his work! I’ll be posting a link to his new website on my sidebar soon.

What about you? What teachers have made an impact in YOUR life?

love, elizabeth

PS: Incidentally, Wayne’s the first dude inspiration I’ve featured on Love is the Adventure so he should feel preeeeeeetttttttty special. Ha.


Jennifer said...

I had an Algebra 2 teacher once named Mr. Martin who was AWESOME. I've never met anyone so passionate about math before. He made learning exciting and he always made me feel really smart when I was able to figure out what X really was. (o: Teachers/professors like that are such a gift!

Karm said...

He sounds like a great person. I love teachers like that who make a difference in everyone's lives. You are lucky to have him as a teacher.

I have a few teachers who have made a huge impact in my life. First Miss Kris, but now she is a Mrs. Almour. She was my 1st grade teacher and I can't help but say she was THE BEST teacher any kid could have. I really wanted to repeat 1st grade just to be in her class again haha my 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Flowers is my next favorite teacher, because of her I LOVe reading. In college Mrs. Alvrus, and Mrs. Lerner have been amazing as well. Even though I am no longer an Anthropology major, I still talk to them.

Hannah {Culture Connoisseur} said...

I love that you wrote about your favorite teacher.

My favorite teacher was my high school English teacher...learned how to think in that class...and that was very valuable.

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