What an honor it was not only to attend an event held in honor of one of American’s most influential contemporary poets but to also be in the presence of Adam Gopnik, longtime New Yorker essayist, commentator, and author of children’s books. Gopnik was invited by the University of Delaware to be a guest speaker/commentator at the symposium in memory of Pulitzer Prize-winning poet W. D. Snodgrass on April 27, 2011 at UD’s Roselle Center for the Arts. Although Gopnik was never connected to Snodgrass on a personal level, he feels they share at least one common bond-they come from the "same fraternity" of authors with "funny-sounding names" whereby Gopnik revealed his partiality to Snodgrass’s poem "These Trees Stand" containing the memorable line "Snodgrass is walking through the universe." This poem was recited at the start of the event by James Keegan, once a student of Snodgrass and now a professor. As Gopnik pointed out, it simply would not have had the same impact or conveyed the same meaning with any other name-such as Lowell, Bishop, or Browning. With a name like Snodgrass or Gopnik, what more can one do but embrace it?
Gopnik is an eloquent, entertaining speaker, one whom De Snodgrass would have liked and approved. As a "distant observer," Gopnik shared a unique perspective with all who attended.