Toni Morrison’s former students reflect: ‘She had this physical presence, this voice, that just took up space in this very magical way’

By: Travis DeShong,  The Washington Post
August 17, 2019

...Tao Leigh Goffe took a Morrison course called “The Foreigner’s Home” in the fall of 2008. In Morrison’s office hours, Goffe asked her whether she should become a professor or a lawyer. One-on-one, Morrison was intently focused and frank with her.

“She said I should become a lawyer because there aren’t enough women lawyers in the world,” Goffe recalled. “I think she’s very pragmatic. She understood that there were different places from which we could have power.”

Goffe, who remained drawn to the world of the literature, didn’t take Morrison’s advice and is now an assistant professor of literary theory and cultural history at Cornell University.

Turner, who participated in Morrison’s Princeton Atelier — an ongoing workshop course she founded in 1994 that offers students the chance to collaborate with famous artists and performers, including Yo-Yo Ma and Gabriel Garcia Márquez — said the defining moment for him was when Morrison came to the final class and criticized the results of the semester’s work.

Read the entire article in The Washington Post.


Professor Tao Leigh Goffe