WEST ORANGE, NJ – Dr. Victor Alcindor, long-time English Language Arts (ELA) teacher at West Orange High School (WOHS), has released his first published work, entitled “Stand Mute,” a series of poems with a recurring theme of abuse.
“I teach prose and poetry because I love reading it, and I want other people to feel comfortable investigating it,” said Dr. Alcindor. “My interest in literature stems from my interest in other people’s experiences of life. To me, it matters a great deal how other people perceive the world and their place in it, and how their speech encodes—often with such astonishing density—those amalgamated experiences and interpretations. Were it not for literature, I suspect we would hunger even more for honest characterizations of life.
Stating that poetry is “an organic experience” for him, Dr. Alcindor said that abuse seemed surfaced in some capacity as a recurring motif, theme, and/or symbolically in many of his narrative poems.
“I’m a sucker for adhering to Aristotelian Mimesis because the art that moves/speaks/resonates with me the most is art that imitates life,” he said.
Randall Horton, author of “Pitch Dark Anarchy,” and “Hook: A Memoir,” said that “Stand Mute” brings to the forefront things hidden and unsaid from abuse that often get muffled and discarded.
“The poet is brave but the poems are braver. These confessions will break your heart, but in the breaking, there is rebuilding—for empathy, for human compassion for reshaping what we think we know of men. Victor Alcindor’s poems shatter the false narrative of masculinity," Horton explained.
"These poems scream, ‘We have to do better,’” said Horton. “Kids are cruel but humanity can be crueler. Sure, these are initiation and coming of age stories, but more importantly, these poems are baptismal and, if you listen carefully, you cannot emerge from this book unchanged. We often read blurbs with words like necessity and must read and they are actually not, but Stand Mute is the real deal.”
Dr. Alcindor received his Bachelors Degree in English & Education from The College of New Jersey in 2000, a Masters Degree in Criminal Justice from Rutgers University (2006) and a Doctorate in Arts & Letters from Drew University (2013). He recently completed his 18th year of teaching in the West Orange Public Schools, first teaching eighth grade English at Roosevelt Middle School.
For the past 14 years, he has taught every ELA course offered in the WOHS English Department. He currently teaches College Prep Survey of American Literature, Honors Survey of American Literature and SAT Prep.
“My collection is unapologetic, candid, and aims to express human experiences via a compressed artistic medium,” he said. “I’m striving for readers to experience universal truths—“the good, the bad, and the ugly”—we carry, conquer and experience in our lives.”
Dr. Alcindor lives in South Orange with his wife, Kiana, and two children. In his spare time, he enjoys spending time with his family and playing tennis.
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