The Bards on Standards: Three Noteworthy Poets Provide a Historical Perspective from Three Different Centuries on the Evolution of Leadership

By Manthey, George | Leadership, March-April 2004 | Go to article overview

The Bards on Standards: Three Noteworthy Poets Provide a Historical Perspective from Three Different Centuries on the Evolution of Leadership


Manthey, George, Leadership


Extraordinary poets may very well be the creators, or at least the "capturers," of the cultural thinking of the time in which they live and write. This may be especially true for a society's collective thoughts regarding an issue like leadership. Not convinced? Share in a remarkable conversation among the editors of Leadership magazine and three noteworthy poets.

Using the magic of modern cosmotechnology, the editors of Leadership were able to gather three remarkable individuals, each able to provide perspective from a different century, to discuss the issues of school leadership. The California Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (CPSELs) served as the center of the interviews, held with the author of Beowulf (referred to in the interview as the Beowulf poet or B.P.), playwright extraordinare William Shakespeare (W.S.), and 20th century American poetry treasure Denise Levertov (D.L.).

Leadership: It is, indeed, a rare opportunity to bring the three of you together Co share the insights you each have developed regarding the topic that is at the heart of our magazine, school leadership. To focus our discussion in the short time available, we'd like each of you to comment on the California standards that have been developed for school leaders. Standard One, known, in short, as the "vision standard,: reads like this: Standard 1: "A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by the development, articulation, implementation and stewardship of a vision of learning that is shared and supported by the school community."

W.S.: As I wrote in Henry VI, a great leader is someone who "stands upon a promontory and spies afar-off shore where he would tread, wishing his foot were equal with his eye," someone who "chides the sea that sunders him from thence, saying he'll lade it dry to have his way" (Richard of Gloucester, Henry VI, Part III.) This may be what is being referred to as having a "vision."

B.P.: Indeed, vision is essential. A leader must know clearly where he is headed. For example, my hero Beowulf, as he began his journey to save the Danes, announced:

I had fixed a purpose when I put to sea. As I sat in the boat with my band of men I meant to perform to the uttermost what you people wanted or perish in the attempt (Lines 632-635).

Equally, it is important to state that vision: "The sooner you tell where you come from and why, the better" (Lines 256 & 257).

D.L.: However, I do think it's important that "vision" not be static.

   Vision sets out
   Journeying somewhere,
   Walking the dreamwaters:
   Arrives
   Not on the far shore but upriver,
   A place not evoked, discovered.

(Relearning the Alphabet--Relearning the Alphabet, 1970)

Perhaps, not incidentally, I also evoked the image of the boat in attempting to capture the concept of vision Again, I've found vision to be elusive and tried to describe it as such:

   You at the prow were the man--
   All voice, though silent--who bound
   Rowers and voyagers to the needful
   journey,
   The veiled distance, imperative mystery.

(To Rilke--A Door in the Hive, 1989)

Leadership: I think we might all agree that a vision that does not become part of the culture of a community or nation is of little value. What do you feel is the leader's role in shaping culture?

Standard 2: "A school administrator is an educational leader who promotes the success of all students by advocating nurturing and sustaining a school culture and instructional program conducive to student learning and stall professional growth."

B.P.: Indeed, that, and preserving that culture is the purpose of leadership. As Beowulf declared when he set shore in Denmark:

   We have arrived here on a great errand
   to the lord of the Danes, and I believe
   therefore
   there should be nothing hidden or withheld
   between us. … 

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Bards on Standards: Three Noteworthy Poets Provide a Historical Perspective from Three Different Centuries on the Evolution of Leadership
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.