Remembering David Shove

David Shove 1937-2018

David Shove started the Midstream Reading Series in 2012 and ran it until his death in 2018.

He was born in Minneapolis on September 10, 1937. Dave grew up in Prospect Park, attended Minneapolis Marshall High School (Class of ’55), and graduated from the U of MN. He taught philosophy at the “U” and Gustavus College in St Peter. He later retired from Agribank as a computer programmer.

Dave was active in the Green Party, Mensa, Freethought Toastmasters, and several writing workshops. Self-described, he was “obsessed with words, puns and paradoxes”. David was a lover of poetry, politics, philosophy and music. Especially passionate about jazz, he had an outstanding collection of LP’s, CD’s and books, and played many instruments. 

From Mike Hazard:

Poet, political progressive, punster, jazz lover, professor of philosophy, and poetry impresario, David Shove died of a heart attack on the last day of 2018.

“Dave was a Twin Cities original who provided hundreds of area writers with the chance to perform at Midstream on Lake Street,” writes Mike Finley. “He had his own curious sense of humor, and terrific energy to keep his series afloat and lively. He will be missed by many.”

“For the past three years, David was a regular member of one of the writing workshops on the East Side of Saint Paul, Margaret Hasse emailed. “Anyone who knew Dave knew he was ‘obsessed with words, puns, and paradoxes’ as he wrote in his bio for one of our booklets. I think first of how playful he was, and also how deeply concerned for the direction of our country. He will be remembered in many ways, including as creator of the monthly Midstream Reading Series, begun in June of 2012, which has become an unusually popular place to read.”

Our poet laureate, Joyce Sutphen, writes. “All day I’ve been thinking of Dave and how he grew an audience and established traditions for Midstream in that wonderfully eclectic and quirky way he had. I probably groaned a bit the first couple of times he insisted that we (the audience) introduce ourselves, but it was a part of the evening ritual and so often a delight and revelation. I close my eyes and imagine that room with its chairs of many styles and sizes, the lights and curtains and hanging objects (which I always meant to look at more closely, but never had the time because there were friends to talk to in every aisle). I loved the way Dave was always early and never wanted the evening to end. He loved poetry and poets, and he (and Papa John Kolstad) took all of us on many a magic carpet ride!”

“I loved our after-reading huddles at Merlin’s,” Timothy Young remembers. “He loved jazz, and every time we talked he introduced a name I was unfamiliar with, and he’d say, ‘You have to listen to her.’ And we could talk jazz and especially blues with Papa John Kolstad until I had to leave, the two of them still talking in the booth. They could weave poetry, politics, and music into exciting conversations.”

David started the series about the same time he stopped sending out an emailing called Progressive Calendar. Some 2,000 or so subscribed. We were treated to an irregular collection of short and longish essays and tidbits on a multitude of current events. The calendars often ended with Dave’s own writing. There were Bumperstickers, to wit:

Occupy the thoughts of the rich

Behead Monsanto

Eat the rich. Or they will eat us.

Life in the fascist lane
Mussolini Hitler Koch

Things don’t go better with Koch

Frack the rich

Throw the bankers under the bus

Sometimes there were tiny poems.

It takes a village
to raise an idiot

A capitalist sings his scales

mi mi mi
mi mi mi
mi mi mi;
mi mi mi
mi mi mi
mi mi mi

bridge (ppp): [the inward spiritual part]
mi mi mi
mi mi mi
mi mi mi

reprise (ffff): [the socko crescendo]
mi mi mi
mi mi mi
mi mi mi

Here’s a recent poem.

(an arse poetica)

My sheepish poem
my Little No-Peep
has taken a vow of silence.

No peep shall creep
in shallow or deep
And no mind shall hear where to find her

how to mind her.

Left all alone
my no-peepish poem follows me home dragging our
tales behind us.

A poem should not demean but bleat.

His shape-shifting signatures were a signature:

Shove Wove
Jove Shove
Shove Trove
Shove Grove
Shove rhymes with Jove
Shove rhymes with clove

Read his obit.

He invited me to read aloud at Midstream and I love him for it. Resist, revel in poetry, Dave.