I Am The Tenured Guy

April 25, 2012 — 6 Comments

It’s official: I’m tenured, I’m promoted. Look out.

The poet Jim Daniels visited IUSB over the weekend and gave a terrific reading. Jim has a series of poems called, “The Tenured Guy.” I opened one of Jim’s books that I bought after the reading so that I could type up a Tenured Guy poem here, and I just found this note:

Here’s a poem for your pocket today:

The Tenured Guy

I have smiled
and said hello in the hallways
I have lost sleep over brief exchanges
I have changed pants
just to pick up my mail
and I have gotten tenure.

I have kept my one good pair of shoes
and my corduroy sport coat in my office
just in case. I have nodded
at the names of authors
I have not and will never read
and I have gotten tenure.

I have kept my nose clean,
literally. I have sipped wine
at department parties and receptions
staying just long enough.
I have sat in the back at lectures
far enough away to really not hear
and I have nodded astutely.
I have never asked a question
or disagreed with anyone
in any of the long
Meetings of the Living Dead
and I have gotten tenure.

I have served on committees
with a smile, oh, always
with a smile. I have blended
into the beige paint
I have become the beige paint
subtly, so subtly
I’m not sure where
the paint stops and I begin.
I have gotten tenure
and it’s my own fault.

[read the rest (do!) in Show and Tell: New and Selected Poems by Jim Daniels, University of Wisconsin Press]

6 responses to I Am The Tenured Guy


    That’s amazing!!! Congrats on the tenure. You are so much more than the beige paint, you change lives. You are tenured! 🙂


    Aw, thanks, Lori! Didn’t mean to be a downer – I actually think the poem is hilarious and am just having some fun with it all at the end of a long semester… 🙂


    Reblogged this on L.P.'s and commented:
    A great poem for my Wednesday morning.


    It was just the other day when my stepfather was talking to be about what it means to actually get a Ph.D or be a part of a university faculty. It’s basically just getting into the club. Great poem. Thank you for sharing.


    Fun poem; if that’s truly tenure, give me poverty! 😉

    Many congratulations Kelcey, well deserved!


    Thanks for the comments and reblogs! I’m having a bit of fun with the tenure thing. I guess that’s one of the benefits of having it!

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