When I was told that Dr. Shevin passed away, I had to read twice to take in the words. I could not believe my eyes and it took me several seconds to accept the shocking news as a cruel reality. It is a saddest thing that happened to Central State and all his Central colleagues who must remember David's obliging grace and cultured personality. I had the honor of knowing him when I worked as Fulbright Scholar in Central in the year 0f 2008-9. All the pleasant meetings and imspiring talks with David impressed me with an iconic image of a liberal-minded American intellectual, his knowledge, his poetic â€œchutzpahâ€�ï¼Œ his integrity and compassion.
I personally witnessed his great personality during our treasured contacts.Shortly after I started my Central work, Dr. Shevin offered to take me to the well-known Dayton Literary Peace Award Reception given at Sinclair University, Dayton. He kindly gave me the lifts and the detailed fact-supported introduction about this Peace Prize that is the first and only US award to peace-promoting writers. I was amazed by his great memory and passion for the world peace. The Dayton Peace Prize experience not only became my first chapter in knowing this peace-loving mid-western city and its history. And I also found David Shevin one of the nightingales that untiringly sang for Peace, as he quotes Martin Luther King he admired, "I've seen too much hate to want to hate."
My visit at Dr. Shevin's home party with Debrah was a stronger impression of David's rich and large spiritual world. His clean kitchen and graceful kitten, all the special posters showed his great taste and broad reading. As a Chinese that grew up in the Cultural Revolution, I was epscially amazed at his Mao Tzedong ET-image poster. I was marvelling at the humor and wished we Chinese could develop that sense of humor by catooning our leaders. His beautiful home was so quiet and with such a classic collection that I think he had started to draw from his "Retirement Account," in which he writes,
"When I grow up
I will be one of those men
Who are beautiful
Dr. Shevin also asked me to his Modern Literature class and talked about Chinese liberal intellectual icon, Lu Xun. We had many thought-provoking and intriguing talks about Chinese writers, poets, and Chinese politics and history. His broad learning and perceptive insights never failed to inspire my reflections and challenge me to rethink about my own culture. David, I still have your autographed poetry books with me, which I regard as our special medium of dialogues. Although you always aimed to speak and write your "Mumbling Dialogues," I think I can understand some of your lines and will try to understand more, And don't feel offended if I presume to disagree with a few.
David's open-mindedness in politics included his firm support of Obama throughtout the election to his administration, and also part of his hallmark red-star cap, which made me believe there was a great mind dwelling in his body. He was a noble soul that knew no border nor boundary in his spiritual world, no boundary between country and country, culture and culture, race and race, even person and person.
Debbie kindly mentioned that David obviously died quietly at home. It was a big comfort. And I quote himself to say Goodbye to this noble soul.
"I will be one of those men
Who say their last
over and over
to their beloveds
to their livelihoods
to their socks
and their teachers,
their hopes and their hangnails."
Goodbye, David, Peace to your witty soul!
Central State University
Foreign Languages School
Shanghai, China[email protected][email protected]