Tag Archives: University of Mary Washington

It’s a Christmas Twitter Political Limerick Miracle.

So, dudes, this really cool thing happened during the first wee hours of Christmas 2019.  I couldn’t sleep (yet again) so I was Twittering in bed — I wound up responding to the #Dimerick hashtag, where people were poking fun of Donald Trump with limericks.  I wrote four.

George Conway retweeted two of them. (As you’re doubtlessly aware, he’s the husband of White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway — which is funny, because he’s an outspoken and highly visible critic of Trump.  He’s also a very smart guy — if you’re not following him on Twitter, then you should remedy that right now. )

The two tweets just took off.  I got 8,000 “likes” on the first one that you see below, and 5.8 thousand “likes” on the second one.  (Both got more than a thousand retweets.)  All sorts of people were retweeting them at Trump, Mitch McConnell, and the rest of the Senate GOP leadership.  (If the secret police come for me, I love you all, by the way.)

I know it’s a silly thing to be proud of.  But these limericks are … my most popular poems to date.  I might have finally found my real niche.

Just for kicks, I’m sharing the other two that I wrote below as well.

 

Limerick 1

 

Limerick 2

 

Limerick 3

 

Limerick 4

Mary Washington College, Fredericksburg, VA, June 2017 (2)

Pictured are Monroe Hall, Virginia Hall, Campus Walk, Lee Hall, and Trinkle Hall.

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The Mary Washington College Campus looked as beautiful as ever last week — it was only marred by the occasional sign bearing an embarrassing misprint.  (They perplexingly refer to the misnomer “University of Mary Washington.”)

At first I hesitated to visit the campus during my stop in Fredericksburg, Virginia on my way to Washington, D.C.  I asked my Alumbud if two men in their 40’s would look suspicious there, given the increased security on today’s college campuses.  He told me to relax — people would assume we were two fathers scouting the school for their respective offspring.  That made me feel really, really old.

 

Monroe Hall and The Fountain.  When I went to school at MWC, that fountain was occasionally doused with either detergent or dye as a prank.

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Virginia Hall.  In the early 1990’s, this was a dorm exclusively for freshmen girls; I don’t know if that’s still the case today.

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You can’t see it here, but beyond that hedge and beside Monroe is Campus Drive, curving down past the amphitheater to Sunken Road.  The long hill is still entirely wooded, and is still arguably the prettiest part of campus.

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Campus Walk and Lee Hall.

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This is cute.  I’m guessing it was a product of the recent remodeling?  But which way to Winterfell?  Metropolis?  Which way is Caprica City?  I have tickets for a Buccaneers game next week.

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Here is where the College Bookstore used to be (beside the Campus Police Station in the lower part of Lee); I’m told now that it’s in a vastly larger space upstairs.

And The Underground has returned!  It closed after my freshman year in 1990-91.  I met a lot of good friends there, and I heard my first live blues at The Underground, too, performed by Saffire, The Uppity Blues Women.  (I only just now learned that Saffire’s Ann Rabson sadly passed away in 2013.)

[Update: an alumna just told me that she can remember when The Underground was called “The Pub.”]

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Campus Walk and Trinkle Hall.  My Alumbud reminded of what seemed like a big issue back in the day — the students’ desire to have a 24-hour study hall.  They successfully petitioned the college administration for it, and at some point toward the end of my college career, Trinkle began staying open all night.  If that sounds incredibly nerdy, it was.  But it was also a pretty big quality-of-life issue for the dorms.  A lot of people needed a place to go to cram before finals, in order to keep the peace with a sleeping roommate.

The “computer pods” were also located here, downstairs, in a basementish-type space that was air-conditioned to the point where it felt freezing.  You always had to bring a jacket or sweater to do your work there.

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Looking south on Campus Walk, you can just barely make out the Bell Tower, a product of the campus remodeling.  You used to be able to see Bushnell Hall, my freshman-year dormitory.

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The bust of Dr. James L. Farmer, Jr. that the school erected opposite Trinkle Hall in 2001.  He was one of the nation’s foremost leaders in the Civil Rights movement, founding the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE) and organizing the “Freedom Rides” to desegregate interstate bus travel.  Dr. Farmer was my Civil Rights professor in 1992, and he was universally admired by his students.

Some weird old guy wandered into the photo here — sorry about that.

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Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine features “hens staring upward”

I’m honored today to see my poetry featured for the first time in “Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine.”  The poem is a recent piece, entitled “hens staring upward,” and begins on Page 25 of Issue 8 (October 2015).

You can download Issue 8 in in pdf format for free!  Just click here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/samantha-rose/peeking-cat-poetry-magazine-issue-8/ebook/product-22412337.html

Or, you can purchase the magazine in paperback format for just $3.50 right here:

http://www.lulu.com/shop/samantha-rose/peeking-cat-poetry-magazine-issue-8/paperback/product-22412329.html

Peeking Cat is an outstanding magazine in the United Kingdom, publishing poetry and flash fiction from writers throughout the world.  I’m grateful to Editor Samantha Rose for allowing me to share my voice with its readers.

“hens staring upward” first appeared this Fall in Dead Snakes.

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The Mary Washington College Bullet is now archived and online!!!

In fact … ALL of the college publications are — including The Aubade and The Battlefield.  The keyword-searchable collection goes all the way back to 1912!

Wow.

Here’s the link:

http://archive.umw.edu/cgi-bin/search/eagleexplorer.pl?afterdate=1990;screensize=1366×643;source=all

And check out the article I wrote for The Bullet about Junior Ring Week in March 1994.  Featured are the pranktastic hi-jinks of Nickolai Butkevich, Travis Clements, Mark Knezevich, Rhett Carlson, Lowell Whitney, Tom Mitchell, and more.

https://archive.org/stream/Bullet-Fredericksburg_VA_vol-67_1994-03-31

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Hearing held for suspect in murder of Mary Washington College student Grace Mann

“Hearing reveals new details in Grace Mann murder case,” Keith Epps, Free Lance Star, 6/16/15.

This article describes the crime scene in detail, as well as allegations about the events leading up to the homicide.  Please note that the story is disturbing before reading it.

http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/crime_courts/hearing-reveals-new-details-in-grace-mann-murder-case/article_0941bdd2-145c-11e5-b53a-7f7f08b6e1e1.html

Some sad news today from Mary Washington College.

A 20-year-old female student was the victim of a homicide yesterday at an off campus residence; a male student has been charged with abduction and first degree murder:

http://www.fredericksburg.com/news/local/fredericksburg/male-suspect-arrested-after-female-umw-student-s-death-victim/article_1586ba3a-e53f-11e4-b3aa-ffa2c4d59765.html

I taught Benedict Cumberbatch everything he knows.

Well … maybe not, as I am not even certain he’d been born yet when I was in college.  But I did a fine job of channeling Christopher Plummer.  I was into Sherlock Holmes about 20 years before it was cool.

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I believe all that coolness rubbed off from a double-dose of Nate.  Pictured here are Nate “The Amazing Nate” Leslie and Nate “The Great Nate” Wade.  Nate L. is now a critically acclaimed author and a professor at Northern Virginia Community College.  Nate W. is now a public defender in Pima County, Arizona.

In place of hair, I wore a Tribble from the original “Star Trek” series, as was popular at the time.

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No one can forget the time when Carroll O’Connor (aka Archie Bunker) stopped by to prepare barbecue for us …

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Finally, no Mary Washington College post would be complete without a shot of the legendary Len Ornstein (far left).

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Or the mythic James A. Cordone.

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The birches and oaks that enclose the amphitheater keep their secrets … of private thoughts, late-night trysts, promises spoken.

The above is excerpted from an engaging article in the Summer 2014 University of Mary Washington Magazine about the planned restoration of the fabled amphitheater — with which I am just thrilled, as it holds some of my favorite college memories.  

And the article even quoted me, which I thought was quite flattering — I played Fletcher McGee in a 1990 Theater Workshop production of Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.”  I still remember running around that stage after class, trying desperately (and often in vain) to remember my lines, and snacking on chicken sandwiches and fishburgers form Seacobeck Dining Hall.

Check out page 24 of the magazine, linked below, for details about the project, which has been spurred on by a $1 million gift from Robert S. and Alice Andrews Jepson.  The project sounds like it will create a great space — a modernized amphitheater that will seat 600, but with all of the classical architectural features with which it was originally built in the early 1950’s.  I can’t wait to see it when it is finished, and it would be great fun to round up a few alumni to attend a student production there.

http://magazine.umw.edu/summer2014/

“She drained me like a fevered moon.”

Celebrate National Poetry Month — here is “Fletcher McGee,” from Edgar Lee Masters’ “Spoon River Anthology.”

Below it are two photos of Mary Washington College’s outdoor amphitheater.  (Alum Janet Walbroehl Winston took the photos; Russell Morgan is pictured.)  Many, many moons ago, I was cast in an outdoor production of “Spoon River” as a Freshman.  “Fletcher McGee” was one of the roles I portrayed.  I was not Laurence Olivier.  After our first performance, one classmate advised me, “Stop overacting.”  You kinda don’t get much more candid than that, or concise.

Oh, well.  I still had fun.  I have wonderful memories of early Autumn evenings, eating cafeteria cheeseburgers and fish sandwiches, wearing vintage costumes and rehearsing lines with the other 19-year-old kids.  And that amphitheater was a beautiful place among those tall, overarching Fall trees, even if it was in a state of disrepair even then.

After I die, if I wind up speaking like the ghosts in Masters’ “Spoon River,” maybe that’ll be the place I will choose to haunt.

“Fletcher McGee”

She took my strength by minutes,
She took my life by hours,
She drained me like a fevered moon
That saps the spinning world.
The days went by like shadows,
The minutes wheeled like stars.
She took the pity from my heart,
And made it into smiles.
She was a hunk of sculptor's clay,
My secret thoughts were fingers:
They flew behind her pensive brow
And lined it deep with pain.
They set the lips, and sagged the cheeks,
And drooped the eye with sorrow.
My soul had entered in the clay,
Fighting like seven devils.
It was not mine, it was not hers;
She held it, but its struggles
Modeled a face she hated,
And a face I feared to see.
I beat the windows, shook the bolts.
I hid me in a corner
And then she died and haunted me,
And hunted me for life.

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