Poetry collection honors favorite instructor
The Stephen Paul McNally Collection of Contemporary Poetry at the Fondren Library Center honors a poet and well-liked SMU English instructor who died of heart failure on July 24, 1998.
A faculty member for seven years, McNally graduated from SMU in 1985 with an English degree. He received the Juniper Prize in 1992 for his first book, Child in Amber. The collection includes his work and much of his personal library, as well as contemporary poetry and poetry journals.
"His poetry is softly surreal and allegorical," says English Professor Jack Myers. "It is as if he were painting with pastel words."
McNally's brilliance was complemented by his poetic arrangement. "He was in love with language. There are very few people who enjoy the play of language the way Stephen did," says Dennis Foster, chair of the English Department. Former students praise McNally for his subtle wit and nurturing classroom manner.
A number of books of poetry have been purchased by the library fund established in his memory. Donors include Richard and Terri McNally, John McNally, Annie-Laurie Cooper ('82), Dianna Totten, Carolyn Channell, Ada Cooper, Mary Ann Shattles ('88), John T. Wheeler, Dennis Foster, Lee Gibson, Jo Goyne ('87), Rebecca Innocent, Bruce Levy, Beth Newman, Nina Schwartz, Jill Bagwell, Diana Grumbles ('93), Pam Lange ('71), Beth LaRocca, and Bonnie Wheeler.
To contribute to the Stephen Paul McNally Collection of Contemporary Poetry please contact Curt Holleman, deputy director, Central University Libraries, Southern Methodist University, PO Box 750135, Dallas, TX 75275-0135, 214-768-2324.
When I was a child
The wind spoke to me and I heard it.
I thought everyone could.
I lived on an island
Unlike any other place.
Its trees were magical.
The stones which made up my floor
Gave off their own heat,
And the stars whirled in constellations
Understood by me alone.
That was a solitary kingdom.
But now as I see people pass me on the street,
As I watch my own feet move
Beneath the heavy overcoat which engulfs me,
I come to understand that I am still that child,
that I always have been and will be.
That the men I thought would be my brothers
Are simply noises
like the cawings of colorful birds,
And women the long breakers which collapse on the beach.
by Stephen McNally
World War II Memorial Plaza dedicated|
Whether on their way to classes or to a library study session, those who pass the SMU World War II Memorial Plaza can pause for a moment of thought.
Located just west of the Fondren Library Center, the memorial plaza was dedicated March 22 to honor the 134 SMU students who died during World War II. The plaza was a gift to the University from Henry S. Miller Jr. ('34) and Carmen Miller Michael ('45) in memory of their brother, Lt. Jack Miller, a 1941 graduate of SMU who was killed in action at Guadalcanal in 1942.
Central University Librarian Gillian McCombs welcomes guests to the dedication of the World War II Memorial Plaza. Pictured behind her from left to right are Ludwig Michael, Carmen Miller Michael ('45), Juanita Miller, Henry S. Miller, Jr. ('34), President Turner, and the Honorable Sam Johnson ('51) of the Third Congressional District.
Jack Miller, a first lieutenant in the 2nd Marine Raiders Battalion known as Carlson's Raiders, was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his extraordinary heroism in combat against Japanese forces while leading an attack at Guadalcanal on December 3, 1942. Miller died the following day from wounds he received. Because of the young lieutenant's bravery, the U.S. Department of the Navy designated a destroyer escort vessel the U.S.S. Jack Miller, which was launched in January 1944.
The limestone memorial features a 40-foot curved bench wall, enclosing an area with a large live oak tree, ground cover, and seasonal plants. The plaza includes five bronze plaques: one dedicatory plaque mounted on a raised pedestal in the center and four plaques bearing the names of the SMU alumni who died during the war.
"We decided to establish this memorial, not just in Jack's name, but for all alumni who lost their lives in World War II," says Henry S. Miller Jr. "The movie 'Saving Private Ryan,' has made a lot of the younger generation realize what the World War II generation was like. I think it's important we remember."
For more information about Lt. Miller, the SMU World War II Memorial Plaza, or Fondren Library Center's World War II materials, check the Web site at www.smu.edu/cul/memorial/ memhome.htm.