Kappa Alpha Society presented an evening of verse and song featuring Hobart alumnus and native Genevan Maxwell Corydon Wheat ’51 on Sunday, March 28 in the Sanford Room. Wheat was accompanied by Stuart Markus, a Long Island folk musician and Kappa Alpha alumnus from the University of Pennsylvania.
“Every semester we try to get an alumnus of the Kappa Alpha Society to give a lecture or presentation on campus for the community,” explains Michael Monteiro ’10 of Kappa Alpha. “Max Wheat is a well-known poet within KA and he has accomplished a number of literary merits.”
Wheat, a Nassau County Long Island resident, is perhaps most famous for his contentious volume, Iraq and Other Killing Fields: Poetry for Peace. The controversial words caused Nassau County to reject his nomination as Nassau County’s first poet laureate. He would later be accepted as first Poet Laureate of Nassau County on June 24, 2007. His other works include Art Gallery, Following Their Star: Poems of Christmas and Nature, and God-Hawk. Wheat received the Poetry Prize of Appalachia in 1990.
A post-war student, Wheat was an English major and Education minor at Hobart College, served as President of Canterbury Club, and was involved with Kappa Alpha and Chimera Honor Society. Of his undergraduate experience, Wheat has said that “It was the entry of a Genevan into the world of intellect and literature because of the great Western Civilization and Political Economy curriculum and its vast teachers…who enabled me to think of myself as a person who could handle the important concepts.”
He also holds a master’s in English from New York University and M.S. in education from SUNY New Paltz. Putting his degrees in both Education and English to good use, Wheat has taught for Taproot Workshops and Journal for older writers through SUNY Stony Brook, as well as in the Farmingdale Public School District, and was honored by the New York State English Council as a Teacher of Excellence. In 2007, he returned to his alma mater to teach a poetry workshop at the Finger Lakes Institute. Wheat lectured on poetry at HWS’s 2009 Reunion.
Active in conservation organizations, Wheat has served as chair of the Natural History Advisory Committee. He has worked with press section of the American Cancer Society’s headquarters in NYC and has served as editor of New York Birders and contributing editor of Ripples and the Long Island Forum.