Though this is his last semester at Georgetown College, W.T. Pfefferle’s life journey is far from over. Having recently won the 2006 Stevens Poetry Manuscript competition, the English professor’s “The Meager Life and Modest Times of Pop Thorndale” was one of 171 submissions from throughout the United States.
And though his entry is considered a fictional memoir of an aging man, Pop Thorndale, Pfefferle admits the tale may be a bit autobiographical as well.
“I probably share some things with Pop—I’m married, I’ve lived in plenty of towns like his faceless and generic ‘Somethingville,’ and I, too, get consumed and worry about whether I’m living the right life for me,” he said. “Unlike Pop in the last poem in the book, I’m not dead yet.”
Having taught at nine different colleges throughout his 22 years of teaching, Pfefferle has enjoyed somewhat of a nomadic career, though he claims it’s never seemed that way to him.
“I’m lucky that my wife and I share the same wanderlust, the eagerness to see new towns and places. As a younger man I was searching for a perfect place, but I’ve discovered that most of the questing anyone does happens in one’s heart and mind,” Pfefferle said, describing some of his more recent travels across the country, including a year-long trip in a motor home with his wife. “In the end, I realized that my place in the world was alongside my wife and my friends. It wasn’t on any map.”
The Stevens Poetry award not only means something to Pfefferle, but to his colleagues at Georgetown that work alongside the professor each day.
“It is a great honor—and a great opportunity—for Dr. Pfefferle to win this award. There are a lot of aspiring poets out there, and as a result, it is very difficult to get books of poetry published. In his case, he both wins an award and has the book assured of publication—a double bonus,” Provost Rosemary Allen said.
With the spring semester quickly clipping by already, Pfefferle’s presence will be missed by teachers and students alike.
“W.T. is a multi-talented artist and a gifted teacher. His insights have helped shape our writing program and have been an inspiration across campus. He has been an extraordinarily valuable member of our English faculty, and we are proud of his accomplishment as a poet,” Allen said.
“Dr. Pfefferle is the type of professor every student wants to have in class,” said Nick Taylor, a senior from Versailles. “He doesn’t care about grades but about learning. Most importantly about learning to think creatively. I was already writing poetry when I took his poetry class, but he helped me to learn that poetry – while a personal art – should be shared with the world.”
While he’s unsure of where he’ll end up after the end of the semester, Pfefferle is certain he’ll “teach again somewhere.”
“At this time I’m leaving it wide open.”