REMEMBERING DR. EDWIN GOULD
Story by Mathias Peralta
One of Kent State's few University Professors, a title reserved for distinguished and exceptional scholars, lived a couple of blocks from campus and walked to work in bright red Converse high-tops. Professor Edwin Gould's red Converse were his trademark in a time when the only available colors were black and white.
Edwin was a leading chemist, a talented musician and a gifted poet. He had only just retired from his teaching post at Kent State University when he passed away on Oct. 11 at his home in Kent.
Edwin was raised in Hollywood, Calif., and earned a doctorate from the University of California Los Angeles. He joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Kent State in 1967.
Although his main research interests were in the areas of electron transfer reactions in solution and long-lived aromatic radicals, Edwin had an affinity for the arts.
Before coming to Kent State, Edwin had written two seminal textbooks and had played the violin, but it was here that he began writing poetry in the '90s with local poets Maj Ragain and Maggie Anderson.
"He took every class that Maj Ragain and Maggie Anderson offered. His father did the same thing in his later life, got to writing poetry," said Carol Gould, widow of Edwin Gould.
"Edwin called me somewhere around 1995 and asked if he could audit my poetry writing class," said Maj Ragain, Kent State teacher and fellow poet. "I was struck by his very formal and measured voice and told him he was welcome."
When they met, Edwin was wearing his red high-tops.
"He had something Groucho Marx-esque about him; the humor that he had and those red tennis shoes on that 85-year-old fellow," Ragain said.
Whatever the occasion, Edwin would always bring three "offerings." "He called his poems his 'offerings' and I never knew him to read more or less than three," Ragain said.
"He had this big spirit and appetite when he read his poetry and would look up with big expectant grin and a twinkle in his eye," Ragain said.
Chemistry and the arts were both part of one devotion. "There wasn't much he wasn't interested in," Carol said. "He would get up at 4 a.m., play his violin, and go back to sleep until 9 a.m. when he taught class."
Together, along with their dog Lilly, they attended the open poetry readings with Maj Ragain every month for seven years at the Standing Rock Gallery. Edwin also participated in the Wick Poetry Center's reading series.
"It was a really big part of his life; not only for him to read, but he was a tremendous listener as well," Ragain said.
In his poetry, Edwin loved to revisit his childhood and often wrote about getting into trouble with his father.
"In writing about his childhood I think he kept that quality alive in him, he had something childlike in him; he was a rascal, a zany rascal, and he will be missed," Ragain said.