|In Fine Form, |
|Rough Ground |
Kate’s care of the students who were in her classes, when we taught together at Malaspina, was outstanding. It was never a matter of doing a job; for Kate, teaching was a trust; and she took seriously the idea that helping students discover their creativity would open their worlds. Kate’s core value is compassion.
Almost immediately after conversing with Kate, the word “integrity” sprang to my mind, and integrity it has been to this day: integrity in the sense of words matching action, words and acts moving from wholeness to wholeness. Kate has a gift for listening and responding honestly, the listening always preceding the response.
I was so beside myself in the audience. That small act sure left an impression on me. Kate has always been so generous with all of us young writers. She's taught me that even a small gesture like that can mean so much to an emerging poet; so that when I have the opportunity to reach out and acknowledge people, I do. What a lovely person Kate is. What a fierce writer. A force and an inspiration.
I was terrified of the creative writing classroom. Kate's warmth and rigor as a mentor taught me to be an engaged peer. She taught not just to respond to poetry, but to show up for other writers. To let the collective knowledge of the classroom lift us all up as poets. To this day, being taught to value my sense of belonging within literary communities has been a lesson even more powerful than being taught about craft itself.