Professor’s poem featured online and in print

November 16, 2009

Professor Kathy Mangan’s poem, “The Whistle,” is appearing online and in newspapers around the country after being selected by former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser as the poem of the week on the American Life in Poetry Web site ( ).

“I'm thrilled to have the sonnet viewed in cyber-space and in print,” Mangan, chair of McDaniel’s English department, said after learning the poem would be featured. Part of a six-sonnet sequence elegy for her father, the poem is from “Above the Tree Line,” one of two published collections of Mangan’s poetry.

Her work has been published in literary journals and on various Web sites. In 2003, the same year the accomplished professor received McDaniel’s Faculty Creativity Award, the book’s title poem was featured on the Poetry Daily Web site – chosen from “Strongly Spent: Fifty Years of Poetry,” a collection published of poems from 100 poets whose work has appeared in the pages of literary magazine Shenandoah.

“Above the Tree Line” – a poem inspired by Mangan’s climb above the tree line of New Hampshire’s Mount Monadnock many years ago – also earned the prestigious Pushcart Prize and was published in literary magazines and anthologies.

Mangan’s poem “The Light Gatherers” is now part of Hill history after gracing the 2001 inauguration of Joan Develin Coley, the College’s eighth president.

Here’s the column as presented online:

American Life in Poetry: Column 242
By Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate

There are lots of poems in which a poet expresses belated appreciation for a parent, and if you don’t know Robert Hayden’s poem, “Those Winter Sundays,” you ought to look it up sometime. In this lovely sonnet, Kathy Mangan, of Maryland, contributes to that respected tradition.

The Whistle
You could whistle me home from anywhere
in the neighborhood; avenues away,
I’d pick out your clear, alternating pair
of notes, the signal to quit my child’s play
and run back to our house for supper,
or a Saturday trip to the hardware store.
Unthrottled, wavering in the upper
reaches, your trilled summons traveled farther
than our few blocks. I’ve learned too, how your heart’s
radius extends, though its beat
has stopped. Still, some days a sudden fear darts
through me, whether it’s my own city street
I hurry across, or at a corner in an unknown
town: the high, vacant air arrests me—where’s home?

The American Life in Poetry project is funded and supported by The Poetry Foundation, the publisher of Poetry magazine and administrative support is provided by the English Department of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where the offices of the American Life in Poetry project are located and Kooser is a professor. Readership online and in newspapers is about 4 million per week.