Ron Cooper

Ron Cooper

Ron was born in the swampy Low Country of South Carolina. He received a BA in philosophy from the College of Charleston, an MA from the University of South Carolina, and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. He moved to Florida in 1988 and since 1995 has taught at College of Central Florida in Ocala where he lives with his wife Sandra (also a CF faculty member) and their three children.

Ron is a past president of the Florida Philosophical Association, has published philosophical essays, and is the author of Heidegger and Whitehead: A Phenomenological Examination into the Intelligibility of Experience. His fiction has appeared in publications such as Sleipnir Literary Journal, Chattahootchee Review, American Book Review, Deep South MagazineYalobusha Review, Apostrophe, Timber Creek Review, and The Blotter. His novels Hume’s Fork, Purple Jesus and The Gospel of the Twin are available from Bancroft Press. His novel A Thousand Natural Shocks is forthcoming from Goliad Press.

Ron is also a bluegrass enthusiast, and he challenges anyone to play and sing worse than he does.

Articles contributed by this author
Ron Cooper

RON COOPER

AUTHOR OF THE GOSPEL OF THE TWIN,  PURPLE JESUS AND HUME’S FORK.

8/13/17 — Paul Ruffin: Literary Champion of Working People

Paul Ruffin died in April of 2016, at the age of 74, leaving a literary legacy that numbered hundreds of poems, over a hundred short stories, as many essays, two novels, and countless inspired students, many of whom are successful writers themselves. Ruffin was born in Alabama, grew up in Mississippi, and spent most of his academic career at Sam Houston State University where he directed the creative writing program and founded the Texas Review and the Texas Review Press. In 2009, he was named the Texas Poet Laureate. Despite winning many awards and earning the praise of some of America’s best writers, like so many others labeled “a writer’s writer,” he never made a best-seller list. His fictional characters tend to be ordinary, rural people trying to survive in a world in which the odds seem stacked against them, his poems illuminate the nuances in that world that sometimes almost even out those odds, and his essays reveal his personal wagers against and reflections upon the gambles we all take with every move in this world of chance. (Continue reading)

Ron Cooper

RON COOPER

AUTHOR OF THE GOSPEL OF THE TWIN,  PURPLE JESUS AND HUME’S FORK.

6/13/17 The Literary Redneck Mafia Boss: Novelist and Critic Eric Miles Williamson

For years I read novels whose titles appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers list. I also read the Times Literary Supplement in which books were reviewed that didn’t make the Best Sellers list, and I read them, too. These had to be the best novels in the country, I thought, and many of them were written by long-famous authors, people I had heard of back when I was a college undergraduate majoring in English. The problem was that I never enjoyed any of them, although, Lord knows, I tried. I came to realize that most of those novels were written by, for, and about upper-middle and upper class professionals (not the world in which I grew up) and that not only did the plots occur within the realm of genteel characters but these authors’ styles shared a certain gentility. Even when they wrote about tragedy, violence, or heartache, these writers exhibited an emphasis on refinement that revealed their distance from the hardships that working class people face daily. Worse, as my literary interests grew more informed, I considered most of those high-profile authors (“HPAs” from here on out) just flat-out bad writers. I concluded that we had neither latter-day counterparts to early 20th-century authors Steinbeck, Dreiser, and Dos Passos who celebrate working people, nor literary critics unafraid to call out those best-selling literati for their lack of vision and talent. (Continue reading)

Ron Cooper

RON COOPER

AUTHOR OF THE GOSPEL OF THE TWIN,  PURPLE JESUS AND HUME’S FORK.

April 13, 2017

Write Like Mike

I get my students to discuss creativity and the limits of human achievement through the example of basketball legend Michael Jordan. Although he retired (for the second time) in 1999, his reputation as the greatest basketball player of all time and one of the greatest athletes of the 20th century guarantees that even my freshman students know about him. His gravity-mocking leaping ability, astonishing speed, and knack of always thinking two steps ahead of his opponents may never be matched. How does one, in any field of endeavor, become highly successful, much less get to the very top? (Continue reading)

Ron Cooper

RON COOPER

AUTHOR OF THE GOSPEL OF THE TWIN,  PURPLE JESUS AND HUME’S FORK.

I fell in love with literature when I read Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. The backwoods Bundren family—some hard-working and honorable, some shiftless and depraved, and all dirt poor—were my people. I had never imagined that penniless and often clueless clodhoppers could be proper subjects for respectable art. I found that such characters surfaced in the work of other, usually Southern, authors, like Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, and Erskine Caldwell. The fictive world occupied by O’Connor’s and Welty’s characters were familiar to me, but they were not the destitute and often violent milieu of Faulkner and especially Caldwell. These authors all understood something about poor people, although only Caldwell seemed especially to care for them. In the years after being awakened to literature by Faulkner, I discovered many writers I admired, but I wondered why nearly all of them wrote only about socio-economically privileged characters. (Continue reading)