On this gorgeous Easter Sunday, and completely hopped up on caffeine, I read through my advisee’s aesthetic statement for his Honors project. I entered into this project as a reader with feelings of considerable uselessness since I, as I constantly state, dislike poetry, and this was a creative writing project focusing on poetry. I was there though to give him some feedback on the theoretical underpinnings of his project. He was composing a sheaf of poems in a gay male American poetic tradition and was using some queer theory to inform his work. I may have helped; I think he thinks I helped, which is all that I may have asked for.
Oh, by the way, his name is Robert Whitehead. I say his name out loud because he will be known.
I read his poems several times over the past few weeks, and, as I said, I read his final draft of his aesthetic statement this morning. I don’t often come across brilliance, but I wanted to take this moment to just say that I literally wept in the face of this poet’s brilliance. His poetry is robust and tender. His poem on Narcissus makes one completely rethink that myth. His “Ars Poetica” declares his unarguable grasp of his voice and his medium. And, his poem to Tyler Clementi should be published immediately and hailed by all as a perfect paeon/remembrance.
I am so lucky to have known Robert. And, I am so lucky to have a job where I get to know so many brilliant individuals. This year alone, I have worked closely with Aakash Shah, our Rhodes scholar, for whom that award is so deserved and also inadequate for the brilliance of mind and expansiveness of spirit he possesses, as well as Ashley Green, a Fulbright recipient, whose modesty is frustratingly enormous for the caring and intelligence she exhibits to all, worldwide. There are so many more; it’s unfair that I won’t list them all.
To all of them, I just want to say that I am in awe and humbled by who you are. You make me proud and honored to have known you.