There is a traditional view of the writer as a solitary explorer of ideas, characters and incidents. The grand-daddy of the personal essay, Montaigne, serves as a good example. A member of the nobility, he had a dedicated room in his chateau where he would pen his observations in solitude. But most writers today have to work in order to serve their muse, and for many that means teaching, and thus engaging others routinely about ideas.
Frank Soos is now retired, but for many years he taught at the University of Alaska Fairbanks and he was good at it. As you’ll hear, several Alaskan literary lights had Frank as a professor. But he has also forged some lasting friendships and working relationships with fellow UAF Profs: Perhaps most importantly, with the painter and art historian Kesler Woodward. Kes and Frank attended Davidson College together, and Frank’s writing is deeply informed by the visual arts. Frank is also married to the visual artist Margo Klass and the two have exhibited together and co-created several books. Finally, it should be mentioned the poet Peggy Shumaker is another retired professor and friend from the UAF English Department who continues to collaborate with both Frank and Kes.
In this episode, I ask Frank about his educational background and collaborative projects.