Self Portrait ©Lawrence Wells, 2009

Self Portrait ©Lawrence Wells, 2009

Each day when class began the Literature Professor,
standing or sitting, led the class, reveling in his role.
He was well intentioned and well balanced,
a combination of pomp and circumstance,
a mixture of bluster and business –
which made him popular and sought out.

The Literature Professor’s classes
were full of new students and old –
those unable to get in, camped out.
Dynamic at the lectern, or leading
a conversation, he could turn a phrase –
weaving tapestries of words,
stringing together literary movements,
schools of criticism and theory –
he made the abstract concrete.

Students would be on the edge of their seats,
heads nodding affirmations,
hands scribing copiously,
each time this magician
performed the implausible –
demystifying the masters, firing away
at the canon, toying with metaphor
and simile, irony and symbol,
like children shoot marbles and throw jacks.

Each day he closed his briefcase full –
satisfied delivery had been made to those
who awaited his words,
who depended on his thunder and fury,
who lionized him.
But, if they only knew, outside of those
fertile and serene grounds of Academia,
the safety of its halls and libraries,
the Literature Professor would be unable
to make the transition between the figurative
and literal once he arrived home –
a crowd not so reverential.

©Mark Ali, 2009

Mark Ali, who was bawped in the summer of 2009 (and still has the disjointed thoughts to prove it), is entering his tenth year teaching, nine of which have been at Tennyson HIgh in Hayward, were he teaches English and AVID. He is married, and also a father of two sons who challenge his acumen on most things, including areas he felt fairly accomplished, like basketball, sneakers, music, video games, cooking, and cool, fulfilling their roles as teenagers and their fathers’ wish to question all authorities — even his.

One Response to “The Literature Professor by Mark Ali”


  1. Excellent read. There are many more resources for anyone to learn. More in depth tutorials are nice and I found that the Video Professor tutorials are the best. (Yeah I know the commercial is dorky but its FREE and a good product) ———-> http://bit.ly/learning-software

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