Poetry as a Multiverse Branching Out to Puerto Rico’s Decolonial Future
James Baldwin’s Talk to Teachers

Beacon Press Authors Show Love for Their Teachers on National Teacher Day

Teacher Helping Students Working At Computers In Classroom
Photo credit: City of Seattle Community Tech

It has not gotten any easier for educators. If the pandemic was not enough, many are picking up the slack for unfilled job openings, riding on the fumes of burnout, and consequently, leaving the profession or retiring early since the start of COVID. Which goes to show how much they are unthanked and undervalued for all they do to nurture wisdom, curiosity, and critical thinking in students at a time when societal consensus at large would rather shepherd us toward an uneducated nation. We need to show up for them! So for National Teacher Day, a handful of our authors, each one also an educator, share stories about their favorite teachers and their influence on their lives.


Remica Bingham-Risher

“Tim Seibles taught the first poetry class I ever took, and I’ve been wandering with intent down his path of reverence ever since. I’ve published three books of poems, I teach at Old Dominion University, where I met Tim but twenty years ago, and in August, Beacon Press will publish my memoir, Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books, and Questions That Grew Me Up, about my conversations with Black poets and how they ushered me into the writing life. For years, I interviewed Black poets I admired, like Tim Seibles—fun fact: he’s the only poet I interviewed twice—and the essay, “Revision as Labyrinth,” is about how my father and Tim Seibles taught me the beauty of re-envisioning what you want from poems and your own living. Seibles’s poems reckon with race, sensuality, belonging, and the Divine, holding out an insistent hope for more expansive ways of seeing each other and the world. I’m so grateful he opened up my way of seeing and capturing the world as well.”
—Remica Bingham-Risher, Soul Culture: Black Poets, Books, and Questions That Grew Me Up 


Michael Hines

“As a current educator at the college level, a former K-12 teacher, and son and grandson of educators, I’ve had the privilege to see amazing instructors, mentors, and coaches at work in almost every phase of my life and career. From my mother, Teresa Hines, who is the model for the kind of warmth and nurturing spirit I hope to bring to the work. To Tim Connors, who led the speech and theater programs at my high school and brought his infectious optimism and boundless energy to every class session and event. To Patrick and Larin Rottman, amazing administrators who’ve led their respective schools through the pandemic while putting the mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing of students and families over all else. There are so many more I could name—colleagues, classmates, and former students who’ve gone on to stand in front of classrooms of their own. They each remind me that it’s an honor to watch great educators at work!”
—Michael Hines, A Worthy Piece of Work: The Untold Story of Madeline Morgan and the Fight for Black History in Schools 


Rachel S. Mikva

“The teachers who were transformative in my life were the ones who believed in me, who thought that I had some special gift worth sharing. My eighth-grade English teacher, who thought I would be the first female US president (no thanks!); my tenth-grade English teacher, who invited me to direct our school’s Writer’s Showcase (a more reasonable goal); and all those in college, rabbinical school, and my doctoral program who also saw a spark. Their faith presses me to ask: How can we help every student feel that way?”
—Rachel S. Mikva, Dangerous Religious Ideas: The Deep Roots of Self-Critical Faith in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam


Maureen O'Connell

Dr. Randall Miller, professor of history at Saint Joseph’s University, all but dared me as a senior history major to travel to an out-of-state archive at a major university in order to unearth answers to uncomfortable questions involving slavery and one of the world’s most notable orders of Catholic priests. Little did I know that he had placed a pebble in my shoe that would bug me for nearly thirty years before turning into a full-blown, uncomfortable, and yet unapologetic curiosity about things that good Catholics are not supposed to talk about, much less write about for popular audiences. I am forever grateful for Randall’s generosity in sharing his passion with me, his confidence in my own ability as a scholar—then and now—and his way of modeling for me how to accompany my students in finding their purpose and joy.”
—Maureen O’Connell, Undoing the Knots: Five Generations of American Catholic Anti-Blackness 


Leigh Patel

“Mr. Bettz was a math teacher who never let any of his students believe they weren’t mathematicians. He introduced us to Bob Moses, the Algebra Project, and in his class, we wrote essays. In calculus, we wrote essays. Because of him, I refuse to let any metric define my students or me.”
—Leigh Patel, No Study Without Struggle: Confronting Settler Colonialism in Higher Education

Teacher Helping Students Working At Computers In Classroom