Recalling 27: The Same Age Kurt Cobain Died

I had been teaching successfully for five years, recently moved back to Edmonton from the cultural outback of Grand Centre-Cold Lake, Alberta. I had new teacher friends, was flexing my musical muscles with teacher-student groups I had started, and directing Edward Albee’s “The Sandbox”.

My wife and I had started a family with a daughter, 2, and we were doing a fair bit of school-related socializing. I was jogging daily and had joined GASP (the local Group Against Social Pollution) which drew the ire of staff smokers at staff meetings and in department rooms. I had nearly taught Burgess’s novella A Clockwork Orange, being counselled to do otherwise by my principal.

I had returned to U of A taking summer and evening courses moving toward two diplomas beyond my BA. I had just encountered Northrop Frye’s work, notably The Educated Imagination, and had heard professor Raymond McMaster’s talk on the value of literature. Both experiences changed the direction of my teaching and led me into working with Glen Kirkland with whom I subsequently co-did some 50 titles/projects including four chapbooks (one on Alberta teacher-poets: They Also Write Who Stand and Teach). Little did I know then I was about to become a father again, an author, and poet by 30, and that my life would gain much more focus, direction, meaning, and purpose. The Word was poised to take over…

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