….it just might exist


1 October 2020

Matthew Doddo, Principal

Newburgh Free Academy, North Campus

301 Robinson Avenue

Newburgh, NY 12550

Re: Matthew Freedman, Secondary ELA Instructor Candidate

Dear Mr. Doddo,

I am writing to you to this afternoon to recommend Matthew Freedman to your distinguished institution for a teaching position.

Matthew, who received his B.A. degree from CUNY Brooklyn College, was one of nine advanced undergraduate students taking my Introduction to William Blake seminar. Mr. Freedman quickly established himself as an insightful and distinct voice in the class, talking and writing about the poet and his work in a manner only found in the most passionate of readers. His interest in Blake’s prophetic and enigmatic works was impressive. That said, his opinions ran counter to mine and others on many occasions, thus creating an opportunity for us all to witness his proclivity for  disagreement and his commitment to always being right. As you can imagine, these were trying times for us all.

Because my classes often attracted much attention, Matthew had to deal with the intensely transient presence of international journalists, filmmakers, and artists that came to praise my long and vigorous career. This, however, did not sit well with him. When the discussions invariably shifted from Blake to me and my illustrious career as a poet, scholar, activist, and living legend, Mr. Freedman had no problem steering us back on track. There were multiple times when Freedman, as we referred to him, could not keep his dissatisfaction to himself (these moments were usually precipitated by my playing of the squeezebox and singing of Tyger, Tyger). On these occasions, he could not contain his disappointment. There were words shared that I will not repeat. Suffice to say, this teacher’s gotta mouth.

The subsequent year Matthew and I buried the hatchet and did a two-semester independent study with me on modern British and American fiction. The first semester we read Henry James, Ford Maddux Ford, and James Joyce; the second semester we focused exclusively on Joyce’s Ulysses. Our format was to meet bi-weekly and base our discussion on Matthew’s papers, which he wrote for these meetings. Again, I found his work insightful and original, possessing a keen eye for literary detail. He never took anything for granted. As a writer himself, he seemed skilled at getting inside the writers’ perspective and sussing out new viewpoints hidden to the most readers.

At this point in his life Matthew is a veteran teacher of 20 years, a Fulbright DAT recipient, a published poet, a husband of 18 years, and father to two children who seem to be both the loves of his life and the reason he will most likely die of a heart attack before they graduate from high school.

Having taught many secondary school teachers and prospective teachers in my M.A. classes, I can say with conviction, from my experience working with him as an undergraduate, and my knowledge of him in subsequent years, that Matthew ranks among the best of Brooklyn College’s students to pursue a career in secondary education.

Matthew Freedman is a man of integrity and vision with a passion for language and education, and I recommend him to you with unreserved enthusiasm.


Allen Ginsberg

Honorary Professor of Poetry

English Department

CUNY Brooklyn College

2900 Bedford Avenue

Brooklyn, NY 11210

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