Tag Archives: Jules LaForgue

Alexandra Umlas and Randall Jarrell in RATTLE poetry magazine

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

At the start of the Fall semester, 1966, at St. Mary’s College in Moraga, California, I was still 18 years old. I probably shouldn’t have started college until then, but the quirk of when I was born and my mother’s desire to get at least one of her four children off her hands for at least a few hours a day hustled me off to school at a young age. Unfortunately, I was very slow to mature physically, and not that much more agile on an intellectual level. Indeed, I would be leaving St. Mary’s Collge at the end of the semester. I wasn’t smart enough to deserve a scholarship, so I was attending Southwestern Community College by the Spring, 1967.

I did have a couple of very fine teachers that last semester, though. My French teacher changed my life, in fact. It’s a longer story that I have time to type up this morning, but the poets and writers I studied that semester in her class have remained inspirations all my life. Before we studied French poetry, though, she decided to show us examples of modern poetry in English, as a way of discussing figures of speech. One of the poems she showed us was Randall Jarrell’s “Death of a Ball-Turret Gunner.” The last line took my breath away, and in certain ways, I never looked back. I went on to write a paper, in French.on a poem by Jules LaForgue in her class. For those of you who might have, in some very small way, have appreciated any of my projects, she is the one who made the crucial difference in opening the door of this destiny.

This morning, one of my finest students – in truth, someone I regard as a peer in the art – had a poem published in rattle.com. I will leave it to you to find out how it feels as if I have come, once again, full circle.

https://www.rattle.com

November 28, 2017
“Touring the B-17 Bomber at the Palm Springs Air Museum” by Alexandra Umlas
Alexandra Umlas
TOURING THE B-17 BOMBER AT THE PALM SPRINGS AIR MUSEUM
a golden shovel after Randall Jarrell