by Cori Hilsgen
St. Joseph resident and poet Will Marwitz has a great deal of respect for cold weather — the kind we have been experiencing this week.
Both Marwitz’s father and brother died in cold weather. His father was 85 and had been out walking when he tripped and fell on ice. His brother was 52 when he slipped from a ladder and fell. Both were alone at the time and were not discovered until they had frozen to death.
“I have great respect for the weather,” Marwitz said.
Marwitz, 73, is a semi-retired educator who has published two books of poetry: “Turning the Cup,” published in 2010, and “The Light Within,” published in 2012. Both books were published by Northstar Press and contain about 60-65 pages of poetry.
Some of his poetry has appeared in the St. Cloud Times newspaper and Minnesota Moments magazine.
Marwitz earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bemidji State University. He taught English, including creative writing, speech; and he directed plays in Warroad, Ada and Pipestone and then went on to do some teaching at community colleges and universities. He spent 40 years teaching full-time and 10 years doing part-time adjunct work.
Marwitz currently supervises student teachers at the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University.
He was already interested in writing poetry when he was in college and published some poetry in the college magazine, but he didn’t actually start writing prolifically until recent years.
His writing hours are in the early morning. He often gets up around 5:30 a.m., puts on a pot of coffee and writes.
“Sometimes I write for one-half hour and sometimes I write for a couple of hours,” Marwitz said.
“As a writer, you write and rewrite and rewrite.”
Marwitz said sometimes his writing flows really easily and other times he struggles with it.
One of his poems, “Alone,” he started in college and put away. He was never really satisfied with it until he pulled it out in recent years, reworked it and finally finished it.
Marwitz and his wife, Mylla, moved to the St. Joseph area nine years ago. Mylla had taught history in Sauk Rapids years ago so they were familiar with the area and also have friends and family here. He said they are glad they moved here.
“We like it here,” Marwitz said. “There are so many things to do, and there are a lot of cultural events and really good entertainment.”
Mylla is one of his critics and offers suggestions for his writing.
“Some I take and some I don’t,” Marwitz said. “She’s a gentle critic.”
The Marwitzes have three daughters and one son. One daughter is a lawyer and the other children are teachers. They have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls.
Marwitz’s hobbies include walking and hiking. He and Mylla enjoy visiting the state parks. Marwitz also enjoys reading.
He said he feels fortunate he has remained healthy and is able to continue to work and enjoy his hobbies. Marwitz’s years of teaching and directing plays were very busy years. He said he is glad he has had career opportunities, such as his current position at the colleges, to continue to work part-time.
Both poetry books are available at Cold Spring Bakery in Cold Spring, and “Turning the Cup” is available at Barnes and Noble in St. Cloud and The Local Blend in St. Joseph.