Each week during the month of May we will be introducing one of Briercrest’s new faculty members. They each answered the same questions ranging from their area of expertise to the top item on their bucket list. This week we’re excited to introduce Matthew Zantingh who will be one of the new college English professors.
Where is home?
Home for me has been a couple of different places as I moved around a fair bit as a child. I grew up mostly in Alliston, Ontario, a small town north of Toronto. I used to call this my home town, although I would now call Hamilton, Ontario my home. I have lived here for four years with my wife Lynn while attending graduate school. The city really grew on me during our time here and we will be sad to leave it behind.
What excites you about the opportunity to teach at Briercrest?
I’m really excited to be teaching at a small institution in a Christian liberal arts setting. I did my undergraduate degree at The King’s University College, a school like Briercrest, and I cannot wait to get back to this type of educational experience after five years at a large research institution. I am also excited about the unique teaching opportunities at Briercrest with such a close-knit community of teachers and students in one central location.
Do you have any specialized areas of study?
Canadian literature is my general area, but I’m focusing right now on environmental literature and literary depictions of urban nature.
What is your proudest moment?
It’s two moments actually, one happening a month and a half before the other. The first was arriving in Jersey City, across the bay from New York City, having biked across North America over nine weeks and seeing my fiancé there waiting for me. The second was when we walked out the church after saying I do a couple of weeks later.
What are your hobbies?
Cycling, soccer, bird watching, canoeing, hiking, and, of course even though I made a career of it, reading.
What is your favourite book?
This is a tough one because I love a lot of books. I’d say right now it would be either David Adams Richards’ Mercy Among the Children or Michael Ondaatje’s In the Skin of a Lion.
What are two top selections in your music collection?
Another tough question. I really like Toronto songwriter Hayden’s new album Us Alone, but two albums I’m constantly come back to are M83’s Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming and Radiohead’s Kid A.
What’s on the top of your bucket list?
I’m still hoping to go sky-diving at some point, but more realistic is sitting down at some point to put together a novel.
If you could spend the day with any two famous people (living or dead) who would it be and why?
I would spend a day with T.S. Eliot and Vincent Van Gogh. Eliot is a poet and writer whose work I have admired for a long time, even if it can be incredibly difficult and opaque. He converted to Christianity in the aftermath of World War I after writing poetry that was highly critical of human progress. I enjoy Van Gogh’s paintings, but he was also a fascinating person. Not only was he one of the great Dutch painters unrecognized in his time, but he was also deeply troubled by mental illness, eventually culminating in an early and tragic death. I suppose meeting both of them in London or Paris in the 1920s would be fitting if anachronistic.