NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Getting to know Professor William Gleed

A man's face in profilePhoto courtesy of NH Arts

Professor William Gleed

William Gleed, 60, is a NECC professor with a master’s degree in poetry from the University of New Hampshire.

He has also taught at Middlesex Community College, Hesser College and Franklin Pierce University.

Gleed initially came to NECC in 2008 and has been here since.

Gleed started working in composition studies in grad school at UNH when he worked with professors in the creation of the writing across curriculum program and as one of the consultants at the start for what is now the Connors Writing Center in Durham.

Gleed’s first initial teaching job began back in the fall of 1995 at Hesser College while being a consultant at UNH.

“My students are such hard workers, and they very often have responsibilities far beyond my classroom. I just really respect my students. I love hearing their stories, and I love playing a small part in helping them achieve their goals. That might sound corny, but it’s actually true.”

Teaching has been what Gleed has done for the last 22 years but long before that his first job was as a cemetery worker in the Linwood Cemetery in Haverhill.

He wasn’t digging graves or anything completely horrifying, his job consisted of mowing the lawn and weeding flower beds. Gleed’s father wanted him to understand what hard work was.

“I was…15 years old at the time and pretty resilient,” he said.

It would take a lot of resilience to be able to do that as your very first job.

Gleed has said throughout the years his most interesting job was managing the Robert Frost Homestead state historic site in Derry, N.H.

For 12 seasons Gleed hosted great writers and poets of poetry.

Gleed had even created the Hyla Brook writer’s workshop while there which took place on the farm.

Gleed throughout the years has met acclaimed writers and poets.

He finds that behind the fame they are all just like us of course .

“I remember Maxine Kumin, not too long before we lost her, came to read at the farm. She was very giving, and I had a number of friends to whom she had given time and attention. She was delightful, and as big a fan of Robert Frost and poetry as I was.

“We spent an hour in Frost’s kitchen really gossiping about the stories we’d heard, especially from his youth in Lawrence and Derry.

“When we finally went to the barn for the actual reading with the audience, I introduced her to the hundred or so folks present, and she read her first poem to applause.

“And then she looked over at me and said, “whew, they liked it!” I think that sums it up.”

This story reminds him that they are all very human and feel all the same things we feel at the end of the day.

Another acclaimed writer Gleed had the opportunity to meet was Mekeel McBride,
Gleed finds himself to still be amazed and lucky to have met and had her as his first mentor and academic adviser.

On top of teaching and running. museum Gleed was a correspondent for the Portsmouth Herald.
Gleed covered things like small town politics and government, local members of the statehouse and police/fire emergencies and the “very nuts and bolts news writing.”

To this day Gleed remembers his glory news story “my glory news feature story! I wrote a review of a show of Van Gogh’s early works which was at the MFA and my editor ran it above the fold in the Beachcomber on Hampton Beach and in the Sunday paper! Woohoo! There was also a story I did once about an intoxicated individual who wandered into a swamp and was located and rescued on a winter night by the use of a brand-new technology, the town of Newton New Hampshire’s first night vision scope.”

Gleed has a lot of knowledge of history and writing, that he is the perfect teacher to have at NECC.

He takes pride in what he does and he has a resume of life experiences to pass on the same wisdom he learned throughout the years to NECC students.


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