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Stallings’ Paradise
Sydney Bebon '19 Staff Writer
April 19, 2018
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After English Teacher Andy Stallings’ first year teaching at Deerfield Academy, he travelled to visit his family in Mississippi, where he sat down one day and wrote the first 50 poems of his latest book, Paradise. The book was released on April 15, 2018 and is his second work published by Rescue Press. However, he explained that the process of writing the book was one to which he was unaccustomed. Stallings described his new book as “a broad representation of myself, my family and the world and everything that I experience.” Paradise is a book largely drawn from Mr. Stallings’ own experience at Deerfield, especially during his first year here. Mr. Stallings explained that the tools he used in the classroom during his first year of teaching at Deerfield influenced his style, changing the way he wrote. This sudden shift in creative process started when he began starting his classes with a ten-minute free write. He reflected back on that teaching choice and said, “The free writing process opened up my ability to write quickly.” He was therefore able write many poems in one sitting, as he did that day in Mississippi. Mr. Stallings said, “If it works with students, I’m willing to use it for myself.” As for what the Deerfield community can expect for Mr. Stallings in the future, this is his second publication and he won’t be putting down the pen anytime soon. Mr. Stallings affirmed that he intends on continuing his career as a writer. He said, “It is such a part of life and thinking. If I’m writing, to say, stop [writing] — I can’t imagine doing it!”

Paradise

by Andy Stallings

(unpublished)

As I stood looking out at our

hundred yards of bobbing net

near the Ugashik River’s

mouth, net which we couldn’t

tend till the opening was

officially called, but which

the river seals could tend as they

wished, Barnwell came out

from the Quonset hut with

a rifle, which he handed to me,

instructing me to shoot

the seals if I could, so I knelt

on the sand, and aimed the rifle,

and shot. Ice of morning,

bumper crop of dawn.

The house on the bluff

belonged to one uncle,

the house by the pond to

another. Not a double life,

she insisted, but two lives.

One in text, one in body.

As opposed to word and

experience, perpetually

misaligned but each

sufficient. Out in surf city,

approaching the false

horizon. But anywhere will

do if the student is right. The

student of light.