Who am I?–a question I often ask myself, without ever coming up with a satisfactory answer: am I just a husband, father, professor, scholar, writer, poet, or some combination that changes from moment to moment, depending on the day, and time of day. . . . Nah, not really–but it is an intriguing way to begin–kind of mysterious and tormented, with a hint of instability that promotes empathy in the reader, and lets all of you know that I am a professor of English, down to my bones, and I cannot help but play around with language. My areas of specialty are 19th-20th century British Literature, the novel, Tolkien & fantasy; my dissertation was on Tolkien’s 1939 lecture “On Fairy-stories” in which he created a framework, as I discovered, for the epic fantasy that I used to critique several modern/contemporary works of fantasy, including Tolkien’s. I have taught at the university level for 14 years and began using WebCT six years ago to create the ‘hybrid course’, so a totally online course is a new animal for me. My wife, of 24 years, is an elementary school teacher, and our four children have begun leaving home, so we have only two still with us full-time.
As a poet, I am much like Wordsworth, while as a novelist, I am more like his pal Coleridge, both of which illustrate the influence of my education and areas of expertise. My poems are predominantly narrative in nature, reflecting, no doubt, the overwhelming impulse to tell a story, using the compact, compressed form of the poem to narrate significant moments in the daily life of the poet. As a novelist, my biggest influence is Tolkien, flowing out of my study of his ideas for what he called a “fairy-story” for adults, what we term epic fantasy.