Using Martinis as a metaphor, we take an intimate look into the lives of extraordinary people.

ROD KESSLER spent more than 30 years as a professor of English and Coordinator of the Creative Writing Program at Salem State University. His illustrious career includes being awarded the Annual Series Award of the Associated Writing Programs for his short story collection, Off in Zimbabwe. His stories have been anthologized in The Literary Dog and Flash Fiction, and his poems, articles, and essays have appeared in a range of magazines from Arete to Z-Miscellaneous, including Marblehead, North American Review, North Shore Life, and Ploughshares. Rod’s teaching career, dedication to his students, and endless source of knowledge have served as inspiration for all who have the pleasure of knowing him.

Name: Rod Kessler
Profession: Professor of English / Writing—five years retired!

 What stirs your passion?  Exploring the world on foot (like the time I took the train from Salem to Ipswich and then walked back).

What has shaken your faith?  Nancy MacLean’s Democracy in Chains has me worried about America’s future. These days, is it possible to avoid political engagement?

Who (dead or alive) would you like to have a martini with? Emmy J. Favella, BuzzFeed’s global copy chief and author of The World Without “Whom,” the style guide for our digital age. (We’d be talking about the wild ways the English language is changing.)

What’s your poison?  (The trait you most deplore in yourself?) Now that I’ve retired from teaching, I sometimes have to keep from delivering a small lecture instead of making casual conversation!

What do you see as the ultimate buzzkill?  Following Fox News? Voting Republican? Or is it being politically apathetic and clueless?

How do you want to be remembered when the glasses are raised?  He took enormous pleasure in the successes of his students and friends.

What’s your happy place? At home or on the road with Maile.

What is your signature drink and your motto? I’ll have stout, even in the summer. Motto? “It’s easier to stay warm than to get warm.” [Think gloves in snow season.]