Director of Honors Program at Paris conference

Written by Karen L. Bystrom
June 19, 2017

Dr. Sean McDowell presenting at the

Sean McDowell, PhD, Associate Professor of English and Director of the University Honors Program, presented a paper on “Edward Herbert Within the Fellowship of Plain Speakers” at the “Herbert in Paris” conference in Paris, France, May 18 through 21, 2017.

While there, he also gave a reading of his poetry with other poets from the U. S., Canada, and France as part of the Atelier POEM series at Sorbonne University – Nouvelle (Paris 3).

Dr. McDowell wrote the following poem about the conference session in which he participated. “It’s a fun poem and a true story,” he said. 

Edward Herbert and the Pigeon

            for Michael Schoenfeldt

To escape the rain last night, a pigeon

stole into the old anatomy theater

in search of only it knew what.

Hours later it found us crowding in.

Our voices echoed in the dome above.

It fled to a vacant balcony.

Our voices dwindled to one,

talk of Herbert, belligerence and duels.

The bird swooped low on fluttering wings,

nearly clipped our lecturer’s head,

and lit on the front row desk.

One man held open a door leading out.

But the pigeon turned to watch instead,

cocked its head as if to listen,

and shunned like the rest of us

all prospects of release.

                                     Sean H. McDowell