Posted by Toni V.S. | 12:45 PM | 5 comments »

One of my favorite professors when I was a student was Wilson C. Snipes. A Shakesperean and Chaucerean scholar, he once said he would pit any of his students against the best scholars in the world in those subjects. He would regale us with stories of his life as a college student and later a naval officer, and assign us to research such subjects as Dante's explanation of how to tell the difference between male and female devils. Dr. Snipes made us think about the characters we were reading about...why they did what they did, how they were influenced by events around them, their own secrets and fears. After he left Mercer University and went to Virginia Military Institute, he and I kept in touch. He supplied me with a reference when I applied for graduate school in Nebraska many years later. That was the last time I heard from him before he passed away. He never learned that I was a writer or that I'd dedicated one of what I considered one of my best books to him (The Chronicles of Riven the Heretic, Book One: Blood Seek)--or saw this poem. In Memory of Dr. Snipes, may I present the following View of Iago, Othello's nemesis.


I never tho't 'twould end that way.
God's truth, I believed he would denounce her,
leave this place in high dudgeon, and turn
to a friend who offered comfort.
All believ'd 'twas his colour I despised; none knew
my true motive--I kept it as tightly secured
as my passion.
'Twas hatred, deep and secret, aye--but only for her--
my desire for him was shielded in villainy.
His own love I mis-took; he lost it and
his life, while I must voiceless mourn, grief
eating my vitals like an angry worm.
Why could I not say those words so tightly secured
in my heart?
"Moor, I do love thee."

TVS 8/6/93


  1. Liz Jasper // January 12, 2008 at 1:19 PM  

    What a lovely memorandum to a great teacher. I'm sure he'd have been thrilled to see you're continuing to think about literature and write creatively about it.

    : )


  2. Beth Trissel // January 12, 2008 at 3:06 PM  

    Wonderful tribute, very touching story to a fine man. My father was a college English Prof. How deeply we are influenced by those who share their love and knowledge of great literature. As a teenager/young adult, I would go to my father's well stocked book shelves and read, read, read.

  3. Mary Marvella // January 12, 2008 at 9:27 PM  

    Who better to help you find the best words than the bard?


  4. Sandra Cox // January 13, 2008 at 9:48 AM  


  5. Nightingale // January 14, 2008 at 10:13 AM  

    I echo Sandra, Wow. Toni, I'm beyond impressed.