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


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.