Philip R. Yannella (1940-2017) was Professor of English and American Studies at Temple. He was the author of The Other Carl Sandburg (1997) and two volumes of American Literature in Context (both 2011) as well as numerous articles on modern and contemporary American culture. A legendary teacher, Phil was recognized with CLA’s Distinguished Teaching Award and the Great Teacher Award —Temple’s highest honor—for which his name appears carved in stone in Founder’s Garden. Phil’s distinguished service to the department, college and university includes chair of the English department, director of American Studies, seven USIA/Fulbright Institutes in American Studies, the presidency of TAUP, and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at Ambler. Recently, Phil had been working on two book projects: one on American attitudes toward work, and the other on higher-education in a market economy.
I asked the professors who teach the meaning of life to tell
me what is happiness.
And I went to famous executives who boss the work of
thousands of men.
They all shook their heads and gave me a smile as though
I was trying to fool with them
And then one Sunday afternoon I wandered out along
the Desplaines river
And I saw a crowd of Hungarians under the trees with
their women and children and a keg of beer and an