Jerry DeNuccio

Jerry DeNuccio
Lamoni, Iowa,
September 18
Professor of English
Graceland University


Jerry DeNuccio's Links
DECEMBER 12, 2010 10:22AM

The Past Is Not Past

With some frequency lately, shards of bygone times and elsewhere places, unbidden and unannounced, have arrived at my mental doorway, edged their way into the foyer, and then, with a cheek kiss and shoulder clap, stride boldly into the living room.  They map the  coordinates, the longitude/… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 30, 2010 10:29AM

Student Lives

Reading student essays this semester, I was reminded of something I have always known but too often forget: students are not biographically invisible.  They are not simply, only, generically, students.


One of my students, a young man from Puerto Rico, described studying, during his freshma… Read full post »

NOVEMBER 23, 2010 10:22AM

A Change of Season

The squirrels have been unusually active in recent weeks, scampering down the elm and maple trunks, venturing out across the backyard to scrounge out and secure whatever edible nuggets they can find, then scampering up again and across the skywalk of limbs to stock the larder of their nests.  Th/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 18, 2010 1:58PM

My Friend's Suicide

In Edwin Arlington Robinson’s much-anthologized poem “Richard Cory,” the title character, a man blessed with wealth,  a man admired and respected, “ schooled in every grace,” and “always human when he talked,” goes home “one calm summer night&rdquo/… Read full post »

OCTOBER 8, 2010 12:14PM

Stop and Smell the Roses

In a recent conversation with a colleague, I was given a piece of advice in the form of a cliché.  Now, as a writing teacher I don’t just warn students to avoid clichés; I scorn them most unmercifully.  I execrate them, I inveigh against them: unlovely lumps of language,/… Read full post »

SEPTEMBER 18, 2010 1:43PM

I Am Not a Man of Fashion

Whenever someone compliments me on something I’m wearing on or carrying with me—a belt, a pair of shoes or pants or gloves, a shirt or sweater, a watch, my backpack, my wallet, even my cellphone—I am forced to make an embarrassing admission:  “Thanks, my wife Kathy bought/… Read full post »

I am often diverted from my oatmeal breakfast watching squirrels make their way across the tops of the towering elms and maples that line my backyard.  There is drama as one gingerly edges toward the end of an impossibly thin twig of a branch of a limb, eyes the span of/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
SEPTEMBER 2, 2010 10:51AM

Golf, The Amish, and The Catholic Sensibility

On a sunny Sunday morning several years back, before I gave up playing golf—before, that is, I fully realized that “golf” spelled backwards precisely names the applied masochism the game entails—three horse-drawn buggies containing three Amish families on their way to Sunday s… Read full post »

AUGUST 27, 2010 11:29AM

The Mickey Mouse Episode

At my house, the Mickey Mouse Episode has assumed iconic stature. 


To understand, you need to know two things about me.


First, I am reluctant, quite reluctant, to part with T-shirts.  I’d rather spend a week factoring polynomials than part with a T-shirt.  I’d/… Read full post »

Editor’s Pick
AUGUST 23, 2010 9:19AM

Battling Mom's Alzheimer's

My brother Dennis called to warn me.


Mom’s forgetfulness.  I had noticed it while visiting the previous summer.  He was calling to say that it was worse, that she had, in fact, been diagnosed with mid-stage Alzheimer’s Disease, that I shouldn’t be surprised if she ca/… Read full post »

AUGUST 16, 2010 10:11AM


I have long been attracted to lonely roads, the ones “less travelled by,” but I have not ventured down any.  The attraction is enough.  I have long been enticed by abandoned farm houses, but I have not entered any.  The enticement is enough.  I have long been beguiled/… Read full post »

AUGUST 9, 2010 11:30AM

Tracked and Profiled

My small southern Iowa hometown boasts a recreational train that stretches 2.2 miles from the east side of town to the freeway and, on the west side, 2.5 miles to Liberty Hall, a restored Victorian home and museum.  The east trail follows the long-abandoned CB&Q railroad track.  To ente/… Read full post »

AUGUST 2, 2010 10:42AM


Until quite recently, I did not know what I was, exactly.  I knew I was something, and I was assured that that something was special.  The culture told me, insistently, relentlessly, that I was unique, an irreducible genre of one.  Advertising proclaimed that it is Me O’Clock or/… Read full post »

JULY 26, 2010 10:32AM

Not Knowing

I am astounded by what I do not know.  What I do not know would fill the Mariana Trench.  Cataloguing what I do not know would be “heaping infinite upon infinite and multiplying infinite by infinite.”  The Puritan minister Jonathan Edwards used those words to express his in/… Read full post »

JULY 20, 2010 12:59PM

No Deposit, No Return

Most mornings, at dawn, I walk.  I like being present when dawn dawns.  In my zanier moments, I imagine myself the monitor of dawning, tasked with inspecting the process, making sure it all goes well.  And most mornings I encounter the “can man.”  We exchange a brief g/… Read full post »

JULY 15, 2010 1:21PM

Seeking Solitude

I find it wholesome to be alone the greater part of the time.  To be in company, even with the best, is soon wearisome and dissipating.  I love to be alone.  I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.

Henry David Thoreau  Walden 

Even though I am… Read full post »

JULY 10, 2010 11:41AM

Dad Danced When He Mowed

Dad danced when he mowed.   No, he didn’t foxtrot or cha-cha, or waltz.  Rather, his body fell insensibly into a rhythm that, in its deft agility, its expressive rhetoric of physical movement, went beyond utilitarian movement to achieve a kind of embodied harmony.  He danced/… Read full post »

JULY 5, 2010 6:46PM

Grandma Jay's Rolling Pin

When Grandma Jay made the long bus trip from Ohio to visit us in Wisconsin, she spent much of her time making ravioli, hundreds of ravioli that we put in the freezer out in the garage and broke out for special occasions.  We were perhaps one of the few families in/… Read full post »

JULY 3, 2010 12:28PM

What Books Are For

I built the bookshelves upon which my books stand, soldierly, at attention, spine out, though in places they break ranks in a jumbled stack.  In my twenties I used boards laid across cinder blocks for bookshelves, and idea I plagiarized from my best friend Jim, who seemed on constant hailing fre/… Read full post »

JUNE 27, 2010 3:50PM

Poetry Rules. Part 2

Rule 2:  A poem must provide what T. S. Eliot called a “shudder;” that is, it must provoke a visceral response. 

Somehow, in whole or in part, a poem must embody itself in me, must stimulate shock or surprise, must conjure a sense of dread or reverence, must enchant me withRead full post »

JUNE 27, 2010 2:55PM

Poetry Rules. Part 1

I like reading poetry, though I realize that such an activity, and my liking of it, places me in a group of people who could be listed on a Post-It note, with room left for The Aeneid.  Perhaps that is because, as Adrian Mitchell says, “Most people ignore most poetry becauseRead full post »

For the past 25 years, I have professed English at a small, liberal arts university in Iowa.  Like most such post-secondary institutions, it has sought ways to chamfer the sharp edge of the recent economic scimitar.  My institution has, I think, taken an approach both prudent and wise. Read full post »

JUNE 2, 2010 6:07PM

The Sisters of St. Antoninus

I was born, raised, and educated in the bosom of the Catholic Church, which, of course, makes me wonder, not without a twinge of guilt, why I used the word “bosom.”  My Catholic education began at St. Antoninus Elementary School.  Antoninus was a Dominican who in the 15th centur/… Read full post »

MAY 24, 2010 5:20PM

Me O'Clock

String theory describes the physical universe, its particles and forces, as composed of vibrating filaments of energy.  Jello’s “Me O’Clock” TV commercial for its Mousse Temptations is a vibrating filament of promotional energy without a particle of lucidity but with a tr/… Read full post »

MAY 11, 2010 3:13PM

Why Am I a Vegetarian?


When I decided 25 years ago to become a vegetarian, I joined a large tribe with many clans.  Of course, vegetarianism renounces eating all animal products; however, vegetarians slip the stringency of that renunciatory gesture.  The term “vegetarianism,’ I soon discovered,… Read full post »