Clyde B. Northrup

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Who am I?–a question I often ask myself, without ever coming up with a satisfactory answer: am I just a husband, father, professor, scholar, writer, poet, or some combination that changes from moment to moment, depending on the day, and time of day. . . . Nah, not really–but it is an intriguing way to begin–kind of mysterious and tormented, with a hint of instability that promotes empathy in the reader, and lets all of you know that I am a professor of English, down to my bones, and I cannot help but play around with language. My areas of specialty are 19th-20th century British Literature, the novel, Tolkien & fantasy; my dissertation was on Tolkien’s 1939 lecture “On Fairy-stories” in which he created a framework, as I discovered, for the epic fantasy that I used to critique several modern/contemporary works of fantasy, including Tolkien’s. I have taught at the university level for 14 years and began using WebCT six years ago to create the ‘hybrid course’, so a totally online course is a new animal for me. My wife, of 24 years, is an elementary school teacher, and our four children have begun leaving home, so we have only two still with us full-time. Our oldest son, Clyde E., recently returned from a mission for our church to the Phillippines, where he learned several dialects; he has just begun his Freshman year at BYU-Provo. Our second and oldest daughter, Jessica, graduated a year early (with her older brother) and attends BYU-Idaho in Rexburg studying horticulture; she is currently at home looking for work to earn money for her continued education. Our third and second son, Karl, still at home, is our musician–a percussionist and a natural–has had rhythm since he could stand and find the beat in anything, including a spinning washing machine!–is learning to drive, but since he plays the drum kit like a pro, operating a car isn’t too difficult; he recently graduated from high school and is also looking for work to save money for a misson. Our youngest daughter, Lucinda, also still at home, but we call her Lu, is our artist, loves to draw and act (like her oldest brother, who last played Bottom from Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream”) last played a role in a very silly play, “The Beatles Slept Here”–yes, our kids are all Beatles fans, since their parents grew up listening to the Fab Four . . . well, I did, at least. . . . We like British comedy–I watched the Flying Circus when it first aired in America and showed our children, uh, edited versions of it; I also saw SNL when it was still called the “Not Quite Ready for Prime Time Players”, and we discussed both in my advanced Math & Physics courses in high school. So here is the home page of Red Dwarf: a sci fi sitcom that still makes us laugh. We are currently enjoying the reboot of Doctor Who.

As a poet, I am much like Wordsworth, while as a novelist, I am more like his pal Coleridge, both of which illustrate the influence of my education and areas of expertise. My poems are predominantly narrative in nature, reflecting, no doubt, the overwhelming impulse to tell a story, using the compact, compressed form of the poem to narrate significant moments in the daily life of the poet. As a novelist, my biggest influence is Tolkien, flowing out of my study of his ideas for what he called a “fairy-story” for adults, what we term epic fantasy.

2004 PhD in English from UNLV, specializing in 19th-20th century British literature, the novel, and Tolkeinian fantasy.
1998 MA (1996 BA) in English from University of Idaho.
1988 BA in Philosophy from BYU.


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