Saturday, August 19, 2006

"I think Father Henkel did it."

"He was my English teacher in the rather, old-fashioned high school I attended (Catholic, all boys, jackets and ties, four years of Latin, the works). One particular afternoon Henkel was trying to focus our young attention on Emily Dickinson. Unfortunately for Henkel (and Emily Dickinson) it was a warm spring day and we boys were feeling, well, boisterous. Faced with chaos, he laid the textbook down, climbed up onto the desk, and stood on his head. We all stopped horsing around and stared at him in stupefaction. Henkel then climbed back down, picked up the book, and said, "Let's get back to 'Beauty be not caused- it is.' page 388." It was probably my first glimpse of the power of the theatrical: you gather an audience, you do a headstand to get everyone's attention, and then you're free to explore beauty, poetry, truth, the human condition, what you will. Now that's an education."
--- David Ives, "All in the Timing" (p. xii)


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