“Camden was originally an accident, but I shall never be sorry I was left over in Camden. It has brought me blessed returns.”- Walt Whitman
As a teacher, I’m not used to being tested. And I’m definitely not familiar with failing. Yet a test came during a poetry reading for one of my students at the Walt Whitman House in Camden.
I’ve driven through Camden countless times (doors locked, eyes firmly ahead), but street parking is another matter. If I died, would my student appreciate my sacrifice to the teaching profession?
Pink balloons knocked about the light brown edifice of…
Readers please note: this fictional story includes a description of sexual assault.
The kids were returning to school when we heard the news. The Philadelphia Inquirer called him Socrates of Rittenhouse Square. For us, that front-page story has been our everyday story. Much of what you may have read came from me — and the others who were questioned and interviewed, both by the police and by the media, like the cellist from Curtis and the congregates from the church.
Newspaper articles are tossed as quickly as they are composed, useful, of course, like toilet paper, but I pray this…
I did everything to impress women except speaking to them. Between the ages of 3 and 24, I was a disaster with women. Why should such disasters still haunt me now at 51?
There was one girl who lived around the corner. Let’s call her Juliet. I don’t know what it was about her. As an immature, pimply adolescent, I guess it was more about the “Jordache” than her Inner Light.
Her long curly brown reminded me of Yeats’ I am looped in the loops of her hair. But back then, famous Irish poets eluded me. Juliet was at my…
To understand a Southerner’s fondness for monuments and say, the rebel flag, it is essential to understand its culture through its rich literary history. Leafing through such pages will not excuse racism or intolerance or xenophobia, but at least it may help us understand.
Every September in AP Language and Composition, we tackle Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” a scathing satire so essential on race relations that it’s essentially absent in high schools.
One of my questions leads into rather good discussion. What’s the significance of Twain calling the wreck on the Mississippi The Sir Walter Scott? Is…
Peter Bollenbecker had so much influence on me.
It was my senior year of high school. I was still shedding my jacket and tie and Wall Street Journal and seven years of Reaganism. I wrote a column for the school newspaper called ‘Wally’s Corner’ where I discussed Dudeism and politics.
My current students do not believe I wore a tie to school, and then I show them my high school yearbook. Yep, tie. And then I say, “I wonder why I didn’t have girlfriends.”
Classic rock was also my religion. My album collection — we’re talking vinyl — is extensive…
But where is Childe Walter? shall I then forget
To urge the gloomy Wanderer o’er the wave?
Little recked he of all that Men regret;
No loved-one now in feigned lament could rave!
— Canto II. XVI. 1–4. Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Lord Byron.
In the morning it was raining. I mean downpour. We ate, packed up early, and waited for the bus. Laura used the only umbrella. I was a man and got wet. A REAL MAN, right? No, a child. Or Childe — “a nobleman’s son who had not yet attained knighthood or had not yet won his spurs.”
How fast do we ‘size someone up’ during that initial eye contact and handshake? Well, it’s seconds and not minutes — and the same goes for your articles and essays and stories.
A platitude or an unannounced quote will quickly make me turn to another essay. I’m sorry. My time is limited. But you may actually have great information and content, but your essay may just be a mess from the start.
I had never been scared for my life while studying in England
It was late at night. I don’t recall the exact station in England or the Tube stop in London. Perhaps it was the Brit Rail station in Durham while heading back to Newcastle for school, or it could have been Hammersmith after a concert at The Odeon.
All I know was that I was alone — perhaps with a pint or two still circumnavigating my blood steam. I’m not sure why I was alone, but there I was — slightly afraid of a group of young men in…
Top Writer in Humor, Satire, & Books. Editor at MuddyUm. His work has appeared in over 40 pubs. He read all of Dickens this year — 1 bucket list down.