Lloyd Schwartz is a scholar, poet, classical music critic, and Pulitzer Prize winner. But what he will be quick to tell you is that he is, above all else, a teacher at heart.
“I always wanted to be a teacher, and I love teaching creative writing,” Schwartz says. “It is moving and gratifying to see my students blossom and have successful careers. Their very complicated and difficult backgrounds are given a voice in their poetry.
“I taught English to Harvard students, and I would infinitely rather teach UMass Boston students.”
The Frederick S. Troy Professor of English at University of Massachusetts Boston, Schwartz has seen many of the students he has taught over the past 28 years become published poets, professors of English, and successful professionals. “Two of my students met in class, married, and now own a poetry bookstore in Boulder,” he says.
Teachers, Schwartz knows from experience, can have profound impacts on students.
“My mentor at Queens College introduced me to Elizabeth Bishop,” Schwartz says, explaining how he so adored and admired Bishop’s poetry that he changed his dissertation topic. “I had the extraordinary privilege of meeting with her regularly.”
Today, Schwartz is an internationally recognized authority on Bishop and her poetry. He has published three books of his own poetry and more than 100 poems. He’s written more than a thousand reviews of classical music, and in 1994 won the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism. Most recently, he helped establish the new three-year Masters in Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.
Of his success, Schwartz says, “If you love something enough, that makes you ready to make the most of opportunities that come your way.”