Mount’s Cotter examines Hopkins poem ‘The Windhover’

February 25, 2019

Mount professor James Finn Cotter presents research

James Finn Cotter, professor of English at Mount Saint Mary College, recently discussed “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins.

James Finn Cotter, a professor of English at Mount Saint Mary College, fascinated students, faculty, and staff with his analysis of the poem “The Windhover” by Gerard Manley Hopkins on Monday, February 25.
Cotter, the author of Inscape: The Christology and Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, notes that “The Windhover” can be seen as a metaphor for the greatness of God. According to Cotter, Hopkins believed that beauty in nature mirrors the beauty of God.
The poem – a sonnet which Hopkins addresses “To Christ our Lord” – describes the flight of a small bird, the windhover. True to the name, this falcon is known for its ability to hover in midair while stalking its prey. The narrator watches with admiration as the bird rides the wind effortlessly.
Cotter is the longest serving professor at the Mount and has been an invaluable resource at the college since September of 1963. In his 55 years teaching at the Mount, he has taught in or chaired the Divisions of Humanities, Arts and Letters, and Religious Studies and Philosophy. As a scholar, Cotter brings much to the table. In addition to having enhanced the education of thousands of Mount students, he is a celebrated translator of Dante’s Commedia, a Fulbright-Hays lecturer, and a recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant.
The prolific professor is the author of Beginnings: the First Twenty-Five Years of Mount Saint Mary College, A New Life: Learning the Way of Omega, and the Mount’s alma mater, among others. He is also one of only two individuals in the college’s history to have served as mace bearer at Commencement.
The talk was part of the college’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) series, which provides “a forum for Mount faculty, staff, and students to showcase their research endeavors with both Mount Saint Mary College and the local community in a manner easily understood by attendees,” explained series coordinators Evan Merkhofer, assistant professor of Biology, and Jennifer Park, assistant librarian for Access and Outreach services. Presentations include research proposals, initial data collection, and completed research projects.
Evan Merkhofer, assistant professor of Biology, will present the next iROC, “Direct to Consumer DNA Tests: Hype or Hope?” at the college on Thursday, March 7 at 12:45 p.m. It will take place in Room 218 of the Kaplan Family Library and Learning Center in the Dominican Center at the Mount, 330 Powell Ave., Newburgh. The talk is free and open to the public.