Pittsburg State University - Pittsburg, Kansas
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News and information from Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, Kansas.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dad's secret treasure was poetry

It wasn’t until after Kevin Gray's father died in 1997 that he discovered a talent his father had that he had never shared with his son. After Harold L. Gray died, Kevin found the yellowed, handwritten poems that his father had written while he was a student at Pittsburg State University (then Kansas State Teachers College) between 1936 and his graduation in 1941.

Kevin Gray will talk about his father and the poems he has assembled for a book he has published, "To the Prairie and to God," at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Special Collections area of Axe Library. Gray's visit is sponsored by the PSU Department of English.

"Part of my 'song and dance' has to do with not losing your passion in life," Gray said. "Dad stopped writing in 1941. He taught for a year, went to war, earned a master's from NYU, taught college for a time in upstate New York, and then spent the rest of his years in the business world. He just simply stopped writing poetry. And he was good, too!"

Gray said his father published several of his poems in the Collegio in a column called 'Scribblers.'

Like his father, Gray attended PSU. He was an English major and, like his father, wrote for the Collegio. The similarity of their paths makes the fact that the elder Gray never shared his poetry with his son even more puzzling.

"He never told me about that, even when I worked on (the Collegio) staff," Gray said.

Kevin Gray graduated in 1976 and went on to become an English and journalism teacher at Paola High School for 30 years.

Gray said he has been looking forward to bringing his father's poetry back to campus "for a long time."

"He loved the college so much. Both my mother (class of 1942) and my father went to college there, as did my wife (1975) and myself," Gray said.

Gray's presentation is free and open to the public.

---Pitt State---