Poetry inspires grace, literacyMy father knew how to plough. One horse would do it for a farm no bigger than the boundaries of hope.
By: Shelley Nelson, Superior Telegram
My father knew how to plough.
One horse would do it
for a farm no bigger
than the boundaries of hope.
For 13 years, the beginning lines of the poems filled the “unconscious” mind of Dr. George Gott, professor emeritus of literature at the University of Wisconsin-Superior, as he spent much of his time studying great minds in books.
Gott, who long inspired budding young writers and shared great authors with generations of literary buffs, during 43 years of teaching — 36½ at the UWS — finally put the words in a book.
“The Willow Tree and other inclinations” is Gott’s book of poems, dedicated to the love of his life, Dorothy Gott.
“Poetry is a piece of fine art and one thing we cannot put in fine art is extravagance,” Gott said. “We need poetry.”
Worldwide, Gott has had about 800 poems published in the past; however, “The Willow Tree and other inclinations” is the first book to compile some of his works.
“I just thought it was time,” said Mike Savage, owner of Savage Press. While Gott has had hundreds of poems published during his 40-plus year career as an educator, the publisher said Gott never had a book of his work published. And with a broad fan base of former students, Savage said it was time to put the work of the accomplished poet together in a book.
Gott was known for sharing his personal literary ventures into poetry with his upper level literature and creative writing classes at UWS as he encouraged his students to share their works before he retired in 1997.
“I think he’s got some great poems. He’s got a lot of great lines, a lot of social commentary that’s pertinent,” Savage said. He said he sees the collection of poems as “the wise old Yoda” telling society how to get its act together.
“We need poetry because politicians are obviously not doing their jobs,” Gott said. “We have two parties and they both represent extremists. Extremists do not think they have to communicate. Something big is going to have to happen. And we cannot overlook — much of this has already happened.”
Among his inspirations, besides Dorothy, were Aristotle and Christ, both of whom in their thinking, only created half a metaphor … one that had to be completed by the receiver of the message.
“I think that there are probably two things that we need today — one is literacy and the other one is grace,” Gott said. “I think we should all be responsible for those things. Literacy maybe should be up to the schools. Symbolically, it’s up to the schools. But it’s up to all of us.
Symbolically, grace is up to the churches, but it’s up to all of us.
“…If each one of us does a little bit of good, it might just add up.”