Tony Trigilio New Semester Diary


After lunch, the Finance Office
guy who decides how much
I have to cut from my budget
every semester asks, “How can we
be more impactful at a micro-level
in the Chicago ecosystem?”


An hour into my first Dean’s
Council meeting of the year,
the Dean announces that 85%
of the 43% of our students
who responded to last year’s
Student Satisfaction Survey
agreed that


I am still working on the cover
for my book of poet interviews
Essay Press is publishing later
this fall, just finished the last round
of proofreading. I emailed editor
Andy Fitch: “If my manuscript
were a color, it’d be a mix of yellow
and blue. The initial questions I ask
each poet are a basic yellow that
shades into cobalt blue the more
we talk.” I’m not sure what I meant—
he asked a simple question
(“What kind of cover design
do you want?”) and instead of
really answering, I buzzed off into:
“The most delicious pollen flowers
are down the next block, in the uncut
baseball field. While you’re there,
keep your eyes open for discarded fruit
in the garbage barrels or the dumpster.”


Today I decided that the $600
the department budgeted for
a software licensing fee that
we no longer need for our
student computer lab could
instead be applied to half
of a PC or one-third of a Mac,
and I was grateful, even though
we still don’t have enough
money to cover all faculty
whose computers are so old
they’ll break down this year.


The day after I fell asleep watching
The Lazarus Effect, a 2015 zombie film,
the night of my father’s birthday
(he would’ve been 95), and the day
after I sent 67 emails between 8:30
in the morning and 4:30, including
gems like “Corrected Master List
of Documents Sent to Liberal Arts
and Sciences Curriculum Committee,”
“Creative Writing Department Academic
Photo Guide Attached,” “Intake Form
and Memorandum of Understanding
for 2017 Prague Study Abroad,”
“Open House Presentation Template,”
“Reminder: Budget Meeting Tomorrow
with the Dean,” “Mandatory Attendance
Reporting—Please Read,” “Materials
for Clery Act Report Attached,”
“Not the Appendices for Prague 2017
Memorandum of Understanding,”
“Updating Bulletin Boards,”
“Request for Transcripts,”
“Dietary Restrictions for Academic
Leadership Reception,” “Fall 2016
Admissions & Registration
Reports,” and “Sept. 9 or Oct. 7—
Immediate Response Needed.”

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