When you meet Mr. Alex Scalfano, you may not know that he hails from Trinity, Alabama, as you will not detect a southern accent. You might also not know that he is a poet and is in the process of getting two books published. After a few days in the classroom with Mr. Scalfano, the course of an advisory lunch, or a sailing practice, you will see his passion come through his every interaction—perhaps, through his enthusiasm, kindness, empathy, and dedication to writing and the important process of revision, you will hear both his poet’s heart and a twinge of his Southern roots.
After studying at Emory University (where he met his wife, Mrs. Scalfano, Dublin’s new Learning Specialist—in a course where they studied Romeo and Juliet together … more on that in a future issue!), Mr. Scalfano taught middle school English and then returned to graduate school, where he obtained his MFA in Poetry and MS.Ed. When he reflects on classes that have been particularly rewarding, he shares that the first poetry workshop he took at the University of Massachusetts was pivotal. “I was so nervous and unsure not only about the expectations.” he says, “[... but also] whether or not I was up to the challenge of this exciting, but frightening, new chapter in my life.” He continues, saying that “unlike so many of the other students in [his] workshop, [he] didn't know that [he] wanted to be a poet until [he] decided to join the program.” Mr. Scalfano describes the process of working through that new challenge and the anxiety that came along with it was a major step in his journey as a poet, writer, and learner.
“Vocation,” etymologically speaks to “a calling.” Mr. Scalfano talks candidly about the way that he has opened himself to the process of knowing what you love and what you want to pursue. For him, there is an authenticity that comes from trying a course and then honestly considering if it is still the path for you. His plan from around age ten was to become a pediatrician. He remarks, “The realization came in college when I started doing pre-med course work and realized that I didn't love the course work, so I probably wouldn't love the work of the career. I had always loved English class, but had never really thought of it as something I could do for my career.” Once he started taking courses in college and meeting with professors regularly, he says, “I started recognizing an affinity in myself not only for the books, but for the way of life, the conversations.”
If you see Mr. Scalfano around Hoyt with Mrs. Scalfano and their cat Novella or listening to his record player in the FAB, stop by and say hello. He is here for the conversations, and though he is always ready to talk about poetry or your latest read, he also loves hearing and sharing music recommendations. He says, “As far as some less recent music is concerned, I think if you haven't listened to David Bowie's Berlin trilogy (Low, Heroes, Lodger) or the entire discography of The Smiths, than you might want to check those out right now.” As for new music? Mr. Scalfano is excited about Sufjan Stevens' Carrie & Lowell and mewithoutyou's Pale Horses (he adds that “Morrissey fans also shouldn't miss his most recent album World Peace is None of Your Business”).