A.B. Harvard College
Born in Chicago, grew up in Indiana and southern Michigan, a boy of the cornfields and the flat, and--frankly--happy to be shut of them both. Once desperate for city life, but quickly disabused of that folly. Studied Latin and Greek literature in college, with stints in Ghana (ostensibly teaching but mostly being taught by elementary-school kids) and Rome (speaking Latin in a monastic basement with the Pope's Latin Secretary).
Leaving college, lived in Ireland (working as a falconer) and Italy (hauling beehives from the eucalyptus groves to the orange orchards). Taught English and Latin at the Groton School before coming north as a seasonal biologist for New Hampshire Audubon, monitoring fall hawk migrations. Dublin School took me under its wing when I was most in need of a haircut, a hot bowl of soup, and a generous, talented, and thoughtful community. After many years of moving from place to place, I'm very grateful to be where I am.
What book has made you think the most? For the earthly union of Precision and Soul, you'd better read "The Man Without Qualities," by Robert Musil.
If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be? Flight combined with the nervous tic of strafing pigeons in the park.
If your life had a theme song, what would it be? "She said it's hard for me to see / How one little boy got so ug-lee // ...Way over yonder in the minor key / Ain't nobody that can sing like me." (W. Guthrie)
What teacher has had the most impact on you? How were they special? When I was in high school, one David O. Ross, professor at the University of Michigan (and total stranger), agreed to meet with me for two hours each Sunday morning to read Catullus and Plato together at his home. A little philosophy, tempered with love and poetry. But more than that, the slow dawning that Language is an Eden -- put your hand in it and you'll see that it's pure topsoil, all the way down. Topsoil and quicksand and everything about us that's most human.
How would your friends describe you in 3 words? Well, well, well.
You are hosting a dinner party and must invite 3 famous people. Who would you choose and why? Polonius, to keep the conversation going; Annie Dillard, to make him shut up; and Dylan's Sad-eyed Lady of the Lowlands, so that I could propose to her.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, whom would you like to see play the lead role as you? Ingrid Bergman.