May 9, 2012
Lake Washington Institute of Technology English Instructor Wes Mantooth, Ph.D., will present a paper and speak at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Annual Symposium in East Lansing, Mich., this week. He is the only faculty member from a community and technical college invited to participate in the three-day literary symposium and joins more than 100 presenting literary scholars from across the country.
Mantooth was invited to join two additional panelists to discuss the literary works of former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser.
"In Kooser's view, too much poetry out there is centered on the individual experience," Mantooth explained. "In a book Kooser wrote about the craft of poetry, he suggested poets needed to write more from observation, kind of like a spy sitting in a hotel lobby, trying not to be noticed but taking in everything. When I read Kooser's works, I noticed many of his poems describe people he has seen but does not know. My paper looks closely at some of these poems to discover the potential Kooser sees in working creatively with glimpses of strangers."
Mantooth wrote the paper "The Spy in the Lobby: Impersonal Observation in the Work of Ted Kooser" in preparation for the panel discussion. He will present from his paper at the symposium.
"I've not been very active in traditional academia since instructing here at Lake Washington," he said. "This was a wonderful opportunity for me to get more involved by writing, presenting and publishing a paper."
Mantooth began his education at Peninsula Community College in Port Angeles before moving on to receive a Bachelor's in English from the University of Washington, a Master's in American Studies from Utah State University, and a Ph.D. in American Literature from the George Washington University. He is currently in his seventh year teaching at LWIT.
Mantooth's paper on Kooser will be published in a future issue of the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature's journal, Midwestern Miscellany.