Don Hynes re: April 2015 guest teaching of Lou McKenzie classes

I  spent a few days at Notre Dame recently as Louis MacKenzie's guest in
a freshmen creative arts and language seminar. Louis chose a few of
my poems for two classes of discussion and analysis. I probably
learned as much as the students about this curious author and his way
of seeing and writing about the world.

When I visit Notre Dame I am always changed. As Tom Figel said, who was so
kind to drive all the way from Chicago and then buy me lunch(!), ND
is like catholic microsoft. Everywhere you look the "statement"
is on message, on brand. The infrastructure is three times bigger
than our student days with almost a billion dollars more of new
construction underway. But beneath the veneer, the sales and
marketing, something alive and on mission continues, finding its way
past the leprecauns and preaching about "excellence."  
Whatever that "something" is, I found it echoing in me, calling me
to shift and adjust to a deeper vein. Louis is a teacher in the
O'Malley tradition, inspiring the students, challenging them to go
further, empowering their critical thinking. I was amazed at how
young the students are. If I could go back I'd remind my younger self
of that fact! 
I thought you might all enjoy this dispatch. It was a very good
experience, with Louis and his good wife JoAnn, with whatever lives
within the fabric of that campus that still touches and changes me.
They may be flocking to the business school, the football stadium
becoming a megalith, but I bought the tee shirt and hope I can visit
again soon and talk more poetry!
Here's one of the poems we discussed. 
Holy Dark 
Clear sky at dawn
with a waxing moon,
the stark branches
of winter emptying,
letting go of the green
for descent
into the holy dark,
releasing faith
and all its tribunals
for blessed peace
as seeds soften
in the wet ground
awaiting the fire
of our surrender.
You might ask yourself how you discuss "surrender" with
eighteen year olds. That's what I mean about Louis being a teacher.