Word Patriots – A Duet—Man of Letters Edgar H. Knapp and his daughter Jacqueline
New Englander, WW 2 Navy veteran, footballer, wrestling coach, and pick-up baseball player, Edgar H. Knapp, 89, is exuberance personified, a remarkable and wonderful teacher, a man who has had a life-long love of poetry. He attended Lawrence Academy and Wesleyan University and later taught at Groton and Penn State. In 1965, he edited a small volume of poems for study in secondary schools entitled “Introduction to Poetry.” Later he served as general editor of a four volume series with Harcourt Brace—“Ideas and Patterns in Literature.” He has shown his enthusiasm for theoretical criticism and aesthetics in essays on Gerard Manley Hopkins and John Barth. His essay on Barth’s novella “Lost in the Funhouse,” “Found in the Barthhouse: Novelist as Savior” initially appeared in “Modern Fiction Studies,” and thereafter was reprinted four times, most handsomely beside the Barth story in “The Process of Fiction,” edited by Barbara McKenzie, Harcourt, 1974. Since his retirement from teaching, he has penned the engaging autobiography “B- in the course,” which former United Nations Ambassador Jonathan Moore characterizes as “very funny. The eye and pen of the writer perceive comedy naturally welling up throughout life’s adventure.” Finally, Ed is also the author of a number of “long forgotten birdsongs” or “fun children,” as he calls his poems. Some have been published in literary periodicals. Others he has sprinkled at turns in his autobiography, as one does “Parmesan cheese on spaghetti.” Recently he has collected a selection of his poems in the self-published chapbook “To Troy And Back.” Ed has the best pipes for poetry of anyone I know. His declamatory recitations are mesmerizing, and his love of poetry simply infectious. Word Patriots beget Word Patriots. In addition to his poems—his fun children—Ed is the father of eight flesh-and-blood children. His daughter Jacqueline—also a lover of the written and recited word—has followed in her father’s footsteps as artist and educator. A New York-based actress, Jacqueline has a busy resume, from Broadway (Brian Friel’s “Dancing at Lughnasa”), to film (“Dominick & Eugene,” “You Don’t Know Jack”) to primetime TV (“Law & Order”) to serving on the board of the acclaimed Actors Studio. She is also something of a regular at the Caldwell Theatre in Boca Raton, where she appeared in the James Joyce bioplay “Himself!” and as the Italian-speaking housekeeper Costanza in “Enchanted April.” She is also a faculty member at The Actors Studio Drama School at Pace University, a three-year graduate program for the theatre arts, which grants MFA degrees in acting, directing, and playwriting, and where James Lipton serves as Dean Emeritus. This week on Word [email protected], I interview both Edgar and Jacqueline, and the two perform works by Walt Whitman, Vachel Lindsay and Edgar himself. If you would like to know more about my books, visit my website: www.markseinfelt.com. Also be sure to visit the Amazon page for “Introduction to Poetry”: http://www.amazon.com/Introduction-poetry-New-dimensions-literature/dp/B0006YNBKG/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1312653760&sr=1-1 .