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A Moment of Your Time

Episode 303 - “Touring a Nuclear Reactor” by Donald Beagle

AMOYT IG 303 Donald Beagle.png
Ep 303 Donald Beagle.jpg

Written by Donald Beagle.

Read by Jenny Curtis.

Donald Beagle is a 66 year old poet, and for the past 20 years, a professor and Library Director at Belmont Abbey College near Charlotte NC. “Poetry, to me,” comments Donald, “remains the most challenging of literary endeavors, because of its immediacy in the present moment, paired with its sense of timelessness. I grew up in a place so rural that my formal education began in one of the last one-room schools in Michigan, with 35 students, grades one through six. It ended with my graduate degree at the University of Michigan, then with 35,000 students. Between those extremes were studies at the California Institute of the Arts, followed by my BA at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. I learned from wonderful mentors and teachers; such as a course with linguists Noam Chomsky, Morris Halle, and Samuel Jay Keyser, where I learned metrical theory based on their book, The Sound Pattern of English. And I’ve been fortunate to win some awards along the way, including the Major Hopwood Award for Graduate Poetry at the University of Michigan, and 40 years later, the Gail O’Day Award for Outstanding Achievement in Poetry from Wake Forest University."


Donald Beagle’s poem “Touring a Nuclear Reactor” appeared in the 2019 anthology, The Hopwood Poets Revisited: Eighteen Major Award Winners.


“This poem grew from a real life experience in my teens,” comments Donald, “when my father was invited to tour a newly built reactor in southern Michigan, and I came along. Back then, this was advanced technology that some people found inspiring while others were fearful. My poem explores these polarities; the line of tourists becomes a sort of pilgrimage through a holy yet mysterious place, “tall as a cathedral,” where humanity assumes almost godlike power; tampering with matter to unleash awesome energy. At the same time, a metaphysical fear also lurks under the poem’s narrative, from the threat of terrorism to the cooling tower shaped like an hourglass, as if counting down the hours until some unforeseen disaster.”


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Created during a time of quarantine in the global Coronavirus pandemic, A Moment Of Your Time’s mission is to provide a space for expression, collaboration, community and solidarity. In this time of isolation, we may have to be apart but let’s create together. 

Concept by Jenny Curtis

Theme music by Chris Porter

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