Q&A: Getting to Know Mr. Tucker Kuman, English

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Daniel Kalimi '23

We are excited to welcome Mr. Kuman to Ramaz! Following Dr. Gaylord’s departure, Mr. Kuman is joining the English department.

Daniel Kalimi: Where are you originally from?

Mr. Tucker Kuman: I’m from Long Island’s North Shore — which is auspicious enough for someone who was a self-acknowledged English major long before college. New York is full of shrines to literature. As a middle schooler, I had to make several (compulsory, at least at the time) pilgrimages to Walt Whitman’s birthplace. It was a few years later, after I moved to the city, that I learned how many authors made their names, or else their homes, here. It’s a place for those who are drunk on books.

DK: What did you do before you came to teach at Ramaz?

TK: I graduated with my BA from Columbia and worked for a few years as a research assistant in a lab studying choice psychology at the Columbia Business School. After that I went on to study and teach literature at the University of Virginia, where I’m finishing up my doctorate. 

DK:  Why did you choose to come work at Ramaz?

TK: Ramaz students are famous around the world for their excellence. I should know, since I went to school with so many Ramaz alumni!

DK: What do you like most about working at Ramaz?

TK: All of Ramaz’s brilliant, hardworking students!

DK: What are your thoughts on the current English curriculum at Ramaz?

TK: I have no problems with anything on the curriculum, but the question is how can we make it even better. 

DK: Who is your favorite author and why?

TK: This kind of question always catches me off guard. I don’t like to deal in lists or hierarchies when it comes to literature — there’s always something left off or overlooked. I prefer to think in terms of whose writing is resonating with me at any given moment. Some authors I’ve read and loved in the last year: Karl Ove Knausgaard (one of the great comic writers of this century), Jhumpa Lahiri, and the great crime fiction writer Dorothy B. Hughes.

DK: What is your favorite piece of writing?

TK: I return to certain books with feverish persistence. Yukio Mishima’s Sea of Fertility tetralogy (a series of four novels) is a work I haven’t been able to get out of my mind.