By Jordi Ettinger
Educator, poet and DJ are not just three different career choices—they are three titles that describe the life of F. Douglas Brown, known at Loyola as English 2 and poetry teacher Mr. Brown.
When Brown is not in the classroom or with his children, he is writing poems, a long-time passion of his.
Brown points to his senior year at Archbishop Riordan High School in San Francisco as the beginning of his poem writing. “In particular, I remember one day when my English teacher, Mr. Barber, showed us a video of Quincy Troupe reading a poem about Magic Johnson, who was my favorite basketball player at the time,” he said. “When I heard that poem and we talked about it in class afterwards, I knew that was what I wanted to do.”
While attending Santa Clara University, Brown studied under the tutelage of professor and professional poet Edward Kleinschmidt, through whom he continued to foster his love of writing.
Going onto graduate school, he continued to discover that his true passion in life was literature, and poetry.
Fresh out of graduate school and after receiving his degree in literature and writing but still unsure of what career path to take, Brown went on to teach for three years at a community college before settling down at Loyola, where he has been teaching for 20 years.
When asked about his writing style, Brown said, “I have the same writing style as when I was in high school. Our teacher made us have three finished pieces a week, and he required that each piece have two or three drafts.”
He said that he has a folder in his classroom, about an inch thick, that contains the different drafts to his two published books, “Zero to Three,” which came out in 2014, and “Begotten”, which was co-authored with Geffrey Davis and debuts on Nov. 15. Both books center on his children and parenthood. According to Brown, “Zero to Three” is about “looking at my kids and the greatness of being a parent,” while “Begotten” is “about the difficulty of being a parent and watching your kids grow up.”
With the upcoming release of “Begotten” only weeks away, Brown said said that his next book is going to be a standalone about his namesake Frederick Douglass, the legendary slave who became a writer and early civil rights activist. Brown said that he has given himself a personal deadline of February 2017 and meanwhile has been doing research at the Huntington Library.
“Most of the poems that will go into the book have already been published and now it is just a matter of putting them all together.”
Brown said that he writes poetry, “to help me understand things better, to help life slow down and give me time to look at the important things, and because writing about things like fatherhood makes me accountable for my actions.”