On Monday of this week, I cleaned out my office in Portland State University’s Neuberger Hall. On Tuesday, I filed my last set of grades. On December 31, 2017, my retirement will be official. After 22 years of university teaching and 17 years at PSU (during which I was fortunate to receive five student-selected teaching awards, one in almost every year I was eligible), I’ll soon be a writer only. That should mean more time to post on this somewhat-neglected site.
I will continue to lead summer workshops at the Collegeville Institute and the Manhattanville College MFA’s Summer Writers’ Week–for information on either of these, including how to apply, go to my Talks page.
A big thank you to all of the students I’ve had the pleasure of teaching as a college professor. I figure that over my 22 years at universities, I’ve critiqued more than 4,000 papers. I’m happy to say that a fair number made it into print here or there. I hope my comments on the others were at least somewhat edifying.
Look for more thoughts on teaching on this site in the weeks ahead, including some of the things I’ve taught and learned.
On to new pastures…
I’ll be giving talks on Pure Act at Elliott Bay Books in Seattle at 3 p.m. on Sunday, October 4, and at the University of Portland bookstore at 7:15 p.m. on Tuesday, October 6. (See my Talks page for location details.)
These talks are significant to me for different reasons:
Seattle: Having grown up in Seattle, I’ve long dreamed of giving a book talk at Elliott Bay, the top bookstore in the city. And the talk is being co-sponsored by Image literary journal, which published my essay A Gyroscope On the Island of Love and named me its Artist of the Month in March of 2012. The other co-sponsor is Wave Books, which put out a great collection of Lax’s later poetry in 2013: poems (1962-1997), edited by my Portland State University colleague John Beer.
Portland: The University of Portland reading was arranged by my dear friend and former thesis student Fr. Pat Hannon, who teaches there. Pat’s thesis was published last year by Ave Maria Press as a book called Sacrament: Personal Encounters with Memories, Wounds, Dreams, and Unruly Hearts. Pat will be introducing me. This will also be my first reading in Portland since my book came out.
I hope you’ll come to one of these talks if you’re in the area, and spread the word to your friends!