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UWS professor emeritus shares readings in poetry

Poet and University of Wisconsin-Superior professor emeritus George Gott gives readings from his new book, “The Sycamore Tree,” Tuesday on campus. The author’s concise verses have been described as Zen and Yoda-like, as economical as Twitter postings but holding a depth that readers can immerse themselves in.

“If one picture can be worth a thousand words, than the words of George Gott can be said to be worth thousands of images,” wrote Tony Fusco, president of the Connecticut Poetry Society, of the poet’s first book, “The Willow Tree.”

All poems are metaphors, Gott said. Some are personal. Others take readers down philosophical paths.

“He is a very original poet who has very deep reflections about life and about the meaning of life and about personal relationships,” said English professor Dr. Raychel Reiff, who taught with Gott for years. “He’s very attuned to different human situations and human foibles and human goodness.”

And he is a prolific writer. Gott said he jots down three to five poems a day, with inspiration often striking him while sitting on his living room couch.

“He’s been a poet since he was 7 years old, and I think he’s up to almost 11,000 poems, many of which have been published,” said Barb Resheske, a former student and friend of Gott’s who helped compile and create cover art for both poetry books. The retired professor said he left the choice of poems to her.

“I think all of them have the blessing of Dorothy,” Gott said, speaking of his late wife, who also taught at UWS.

The books aren’t for sale; Gott gives them away. He said he wanted to compile the books as a thank you to the schools where he taught. Gott inspired budding young writers and shared great authors with generations of literary buffs during 43 years of teaching — 36½ as professor of literature at UWS.

“I never considered anything I did here work,” Gott said Tuesday in his office on campus. “If you grew up on a farm, the rest of what you do is not work. It could be pleasant; it could be boring, but it’s not work.”

In his poem “The Teacher,” he writes: Ruby./ You always hugged me/like you were almost/one of the family./ And I love you today/ as I did/ when I was a child.”

Her lesson lived on.

“I loved my students like I loved Ms. Ruby,” Gott said.

Gott will share poems from “The Sycamore Tree” 6-7:30 p.m. Tuesday by the fireplace in the Jim Dan Hill Library on the UWS campus. Everyone is invited to the free event.