In Memoriam

  • Robert Bergstrom
  • Tom Caramagno
  • Louis Crompton
  • Robert Knoll
  • June P. Levine
  • Fred Link
  • William J. Long
  • Mordecai Marcus
  • James A. McShane
  • Charles W. Mignon
  • James L. Roberts
  • Gerry Shapiro
  • Nicholas Spencer
  • Les Whipp
  • Dorothy Zimmerman

In Memoriam: Mordecai Marcus

1925 - 2014

Mordecai Marcus, talented poet and scholar of American literature who taught in the Department of English at UNL from 1965 until his retirement in 1997, left Lincoln for a more lasting eternal residence on 18 November 2014. Born in New Jersey in 1925, Mordecai grew up in Brooklyn, where he took his first degree from Brooklyn College. After completing subsequent degrees from New York University and the University of Kansas, he joined UNL, where he quickly established himself as a popular teacher and poet, and where he was for many years instrumental in sustaining an informal working group of student and faculty poets. His numerous critical articles on American literature began appearing in 1959, many of them subsequently reprinted in edited collections. His particular love of Robert Frost’s work culminated in The Poems of Robert Frost: An Explication (1991). Mordecai returned to writing poetry in the late 1960s after mistakenly believing that he had given it up many years earlier. It was a good decision, for he went on to publish more than five hundred poems in journals and other venues. His books and chapbooks included Five Minutes to Noon (1971), Return from the Dust (1977), Pursuing the Lost (1993), and Gathering Treasure (2002). Mordy loved teaching and loved learning, loved his students and their vitality, loved poetry and the unfailing delights of language, and loved too his many colleagues over the years, with whom he shared his affection, his graciousness, and his remarkable personality. The final poem in Gathering Treasure is an elegy for his old poetic mentor, Adelaide Crapsey; it concludes:

Now her heart
is a ceaseless flutter
of pages that finger the wind.

So too, now, Mordecai Marcus. He will be much missed and fondly remembered by all who knew him.