I studied writing under a private tutorial, at the University of Michigan, with the poet Robert Hayden and edited both Hayden’s Collected Prose (University of Michigan Press) and his Collected Poems (Liveright). I hold a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from U of M, the latter in English. At the college and university level, I taught rhetoric, American and non-Western literature, humanities, world religions, etc., for ten years.
I lived for more than fifteen years outside Michigan—in Japan, where I taught at Gunma University in Maebashi; in Arizona, on the Colorado River Indian Tribes Reservation, site of one of the largest internment camps for Japanese-Americans during WWII; in Illinois, on the central farmlands and on the Mississippi; ultimately returning to my suburban hometown of Rochester.
A Fulbright-Hays scholar to China in 1994, I studied at Beijing University, the Buddhist Mogao Caves on the old Silk Road, and elsewhere in China, including Hong Kong and the Academia Sinica in Taiwan. While a National Endowment for the Humanities scholar in 1995 on India, I further explored the conflicts between the traditional regional civilizations of Islamic and Hindu cultures and modernity.
I have been an outspoken advocate of the United Nations, an accredited participant at the UN Millennium Forum (2000), and attended the UNA Members Day 2012 on the Millennium Development Goals, held in the General Assembly Hall.
Given the radicalization and the spiritual, moral, and intellectual decline of the humanities in the university, the pervasive nihilism and Marxism underlying deconstruction and other academic theories, the obsession with the self in poetry and literary studies, the corrupting professionalization of both, the duplicities of race politics, and the exploitation of teaching assistants and adjunct faculty, to name only a few of the commonly cited maladies, I resigned from Oakland University in 1996.
I believe the university has often failed the best interests of poetry, literature, and culture, as have publishing and the media. Under the aegis of scientism, further decline demonstrates that respect for the humanities, which no longer seriously engage with the vital spiritual issues of human experience, their raison d’etre, appears but a remote memory, held, it seems, only by Stendhal’s “lucky few.”
Political Views: Cooperative Global Governance, under a seriously developed United Nations, or successor institution, preferably prior to a nuclear, biological, or chemical apocalypse. Board Member, The United Nations Association of Greater Detroit (UNA-USA)
Religious Views: Transcendence, Universality, Reform Bahai Faith, Unitarian Universalist, Tolstoy’s Calendar of Wisdom, Emperor Akbar’s Divine Faith, Adi Brahmo Samaj, Tagore’s Religion of Man, and the universal teachings of Christ, essentially the Shema and the Golden Rule, not the doctrines Tolstoy rightly called “sorcery.” Member of the Leadership Team for the Troy Interfaith Group. “The Troy-area Interfaith Group exists to invite all faith communities to gather, grow and give for the sake of promoting the common values of love, peace and justice among all religions locally and globally. We believe that peace among peoples and nations requires peace among the religions.”
“The heart of so great a mystery cannot ever be reached by following one road only.” — Quintus Aurelius Symmachus (c. 345 – 402), a Roman statesman, orator, and man of letters; quoted by Augustine, in controversy with St. Ambrose. Quoted by Arnold Toynbee in his Gifford Lecture.
“Now it has become clear to me, that it cannot be wisdom to assert the truth of one faith over another. In our troubled world so full of contradictions, the wise person makes justice his guide and learns from all. Perhaps in this way the door may be opened again whose key has been lost.” — Emperor Akbar