fbpx Ralph G. Sneeden | Phillips Exeter Academy

Ralph G. Sneeden

Instructor in English
B. Rodney Marriott Chair in the Humanities
Appointed
1995

"To become aware of the possibility of the search is to be onto something. Not to be onto something is to be in despair." — Walker Percy

Education

B.A. University of Massachusetts - Amherst

M.A. Middlebury College

M.F.A. Warren Wilson College

Biography

Born in Los Angeles, Ralph Sneeden grew up in Massachusetts and on Long Island and has been teaching high school since 1983. He holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst), Middlebury College and Warren Wilson College, in North Carolina. For the first decade of his career he taught Latin and English at the Pingree School, in Massachusetts, where he also coached hockey, lacrosse, soccer and tennis. He has been a Klingenstein Fellow at Teachers College of Columbia University and also English Department chair at Lake Forest Academy, in Illinois.

Mr. Sneeden attended Exeter’s hockey school in the summers of 1972 and ’74 but wouldn’t have lasted a week as a student, so it’s a miracle that he joined the English Department in 1995 and holds the B. Rodney Marriott Chair in the Humanities. He has been dorm head of Abbott Hall and Cilley Hall, the coordinator of the George Bennett Writer-in-Residence Fellowship, a member of the Lamont Poetry Committee, and has coached boys JV soccer and club tennis. Currently, he serves as Exeter’s first coordinator of continuing professional development, overseeing the review process for senior faculty. He is also a founding leader of the Exeter Humanities Institute, a conference on discussion-based learning and teaching.

Mr. Sneeden’s writing has appeared in many magazines, including The American Poetry Review, The Common, Harvard Review, The Kenyon Review, Ploughshares and The New Republic. The title poem of his book, Evidence of the Journey (Harmon Blunt, 2007), received the Friends of Literature Prize from POETRY magazine. He has held fellowships at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire, and the American School in London. He likes to spend as much time as possible in, on or near the water, hiking, surfing, sailing, fly-fishing and swimming. On dry land, he cycles and plays tennis and acoustic guitar, mostly jazz. Wet or dry, time with his family is what he enjoys most: three children who’ve graduated from Exeter, and his wife, Gwen, who is also a teacher.

Publications

Evidence of the Journey. Harmon Blunt Publishing (New York). 2007.

"Meditation" Southwest Review Volume 101, Number 3 (2016)

"Contrapunctus (#2") Southeast Review Volume 34, No.1, 2016 (finalist for the 2015 Gearhart Poetry Prize)

"Sheep May Safely Graze" Ecotone (The Sound Issue) Vol. 11, No. 1, Fall 2015

"Triptych: Portrait at Fifteen with Dog Swimming in Foreground" Salamander No. 41, 2015

"Song of the Jet" finalist for the Bellingham Review's 49th Parallel Award, 2015

"Giant Nazi Flag Escapes from an Attic Vodka Box" The Southampton Review Vol. IX No. 2, 2015

"Two Short Films of My Father" Harvard Review No. 47, 2015

"Fiddler Crabs" Glassworks Issue 10, Spring 2015

"The Narrows: Lake George, 1969" & "Contrapunctus (#1)" AGNI No. 80, 2014

"Children Driving" Southern California Review ("In Transit" issue) Volume VII, 2014

"Tunnel, Regent's Canal" Crab Creek Review Volume 1, 2014 (Finalist for the 2013 Crab Creek Poetry Contest)

"San Fernando Valley" Zócalo Public Square August 12, 2013

"Boys Riding Bicycles to School" The American Poetry Review July/August 2013

"Physical Fitness" The Prague Revue June 24, 2013

"Shinkawa's Problem" Zócalo Public Square June 14, 2013

"Beach Walk, 1972" Zócalo Public Square March 15, 2013

"Boys Playing Army in a Deserted Nursery" Zócalo Public Square February 1, 2013

Five Poems: "Elegy: Late August, Ipswich Bay", "To A Friend with Parkinson's", "Clandeboye Estate, County Down", "Shipyard Aubade" & "House After Children Have Left for College" The New Formalist January 12, 2013

"Violin" Memorious Number 16, April 2011

"The Cigarette Wheel: Seaside Heights, New Jersey, 1942" Memorious Number 12, June 2009

"After the Shark" & "Wind Indicators" Sea Change Issue 1, 2009

"Poem for Shostakovich (Beginning with a Fragment from Blake)" Ellipsis Vol. 44, 2008

"An Azalea Blooms in the Murderer's Yard" The New Republic April 23, 2008

"Frozen Boat" Down East magazine December, 2007

"Loss Prevention" MARGIE: The Journal of American Poetry Vol. 6, 2007

"Monkey Efficacy" & "Prayer as Bomb" POETRY Vol. CXC No. 3 June 2007

"Refugees" & "Bathers at White Horse Beach" Salamander Vol. 12, No. 2, 2007

"Peconic" Hayden's Ferry Review Fall/Winter 2006-07

"Horns Unknown" POETRY Vol. CLXXXVIII No. 3 June 2006

"Banish Misfortune" Slate September 5, 2006

"Estuarine" POETRY Vol. CLXXXV No. 4 January 2005

"The People in the Story" Tiferet Vol. 2 No. 2 2005

"Double Nocturne" & "No River Road" POETRY Vol. CLXXXIII No. 5 February 2004

"High-Ranking Fugitive" The New Republic February 2, 2004

"Evidence of the Journey" POETRY Vol. CLXXXIII No. 1 October 2003

"Retirement: A Fragment" & "The Hayloft" Witness (Aging in America Issue) Vol. XVI No. 2, 2002

"Pigs Watered in Heat Wave" Witness (Animals in America Issue) Vol. XV No. 2, 2001

"Two Weasels" The Kenyon Review Vol. XXII Number 2, Spring 2000

"Continuing Demands" & "Your Friends Have Gone to Florida" POETRY Vol. CLXXIII No. 3 January 1999

"The Eyes of the Scallops" Hayden's Ferry Review Issue 24, Spring/Summer 1999

"Eeling" & "Stranger" Witness (American Families Issue) Vol. XII Number 2, 1998

"Tenth Anniversary" & "Easter" Crab Creek Review Summer/Autumn 1998

"Refusal to Level the Peonies" The Southern Review Vol. 33 No. 1, Winter 1997

"Off Little Misery Island" Ploughshares Winter 1996-97

"Boatyard Mechanic" & "The Revolver" TriQuarterly Fall 1996

"Garage Meditation" & "Early Spring" Hayden's Ferry Review Issue 17, Fall/Winter 1995

"Coltrane and My Father" New England Review Volume 16, Number 1, Winter 1994

"The Overgrown Cranberry Bog" Hayden's Ferry Review Issue 13, Fall/Winter 1993

"Menemsha Texaco" Whetstone Volume 10, 1993

"Horse Meat" West No. 7, Summer 1992

"An Apple Freezes Miles Up" CQ/California State Poetry Quarterly Vol. 19, No. 3, Summer 1992

"The Stars" The G.W. Review Vol. XII No. 2 Spring 1992

"Cow's Neck" Sycamore Review Vol. 3 No. 1 Winter 1991

"Radiation" Dominion Review Vol. 8, Spring 1990

"My Father Falling" The Black Fly Review No. 11, 1990

Prose

ESSAYS/NONFICTION:

"The Legible Element: On Hopkins, Surfers and the Selves of Waves"The AGNI Blog: Conversations, June 6, 2016

"The Cooperative Wave" included in the book— A Classroom Revolution: Reflections on Harkness Learning and Teaching Phillips Exeter Academy, 2015

"Stepping Off: Confessions from the Littoral Zone" The Common Issue No. 08, October 2014

"Django: Elegies and Improvisations with Small Boats" The Common Online (Long Reads) August 1, 2014

"The Classroom as Big Sur: Notes on the Liaison Between Evaluation and Professional Growth" Independent School Magazine Fall 2013

"Live Free and Surf: My Coastal Slice of New Hampshire is Primary Indeed" Zócalo Public Square January 8, 2012

Prose

ESSAYS/NONFICTION:

"The Legible Element: On Hopkins, Surfers and the Selves of Waves" —The AGNI Blog: Conversations, June 6, 2016

"The Cooperative Wave" included in the book— A Classroom Revolution: Reflections on Harkness Learning and Teaching Phillips Exeter Academy, 2015

"Stepping Off: Confessions from the Littoral Zone" The Common Issue No. 08, October 2014

"Django: Elegies and Improvisations with Small Boats" The Common Online (Long Reads) August 1, 2014

"The Classroom as Big Sur: Notes on the Liaison Between Evaluation and Professional Growth" Independent School Magazine Fall 2013

"Live Free and Surf: My Coastal Slice of New Hampshire is Primary Indeed" Zócalo Public Square January 8, 2012

REVIEWS:

"Dispatches from the New Life" (Left-Handed, poems by Jonathan Galassi) The Exeter Bulletin Summer 2012

"The Large World Everywhere" (Walking to Cootehill: New and Selected Poems, by John Engels) New England Review Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring 1994

FICTION:

"Mud Flats" New England Review Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring 1994