Keysi Montás is unquestionably a Renaissance man. His creative endeavors range from handcrafted furniture to poetry, photography, and dancing the tango—not the sorts of pursuits one might typically associate with a public safety professional.
Job title: Associate Director of the Department of Safety and Security.
How long have you been at Dartmouth?
I have been at Dartmouth a little over seven years.
What path brought you here?
I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic (the land of baseball!), but the path to Dartmouth is a road with many curves and ups and down. I could summarize it as a career of two decades in public safety and a love for literature and education.
What’s your role at Dartmouth?
I help the director in the day-to-day management and administration of the Department of Safety and Security. The department is tasked with providing a safe and welcoming environment for the Dartmouth community, and our services range from walking escorts and unlocks to responding to and mitigating accidents and life-threatening emergencies.
What’s your favorite part of working here?
The team of professionals I get to work with across the entire campus, and the many opportunities I get to work directly with students in various capacities: club adviser to Latin@ students, mentor, trip adviser with the Tucker Foundation, etc.
What else do you like about the job?
I love being part of the vibrant academic life of the College; being able to attend a lecture, a thesis presentation, an art exhibit, a concert, or help organize a poetry reading. These things allow me to stay connected and current as a creative person, thus proving the perfect bridge between my service as a safety and security professional and my love and passion for literature and the arts.
In what activities do you engage outside of work?
I write poetry and fiction in Spanish and I like to build things, including home furniture and outdoor artistic/functional pieces. I am also a photography enthusiast. I am a tango dancer, and I was fortunate to be featured on The Today Show. Most of all, I am the enchanted father of a 3-year-old daughter whom I try to include in everything I do.
What inspired you to pursue your literary endeavors?
Early on I made a conscious decision to stay connected with my cultural heritage. Getting a BA and an MA in Spanish language and literature and writing creatively in Spanish have provided the connecting bridge. I write about that cultural connection and the duality of languages. I write about everyday things that trigger memories or about things I learn anew. My published works include Amor de ciudad grande (2006, New York), a book of poems that places the survival of the creative person in contrast and opposition to the big city; Reminsicencias (2007, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), a book of short stories based on childhood memories of my home town for which I received the Premio de Literatura Letras de Ultramar (Literary Overseas Letters Award); and Allá (diario del transtierro) (2012, New York), a book of poems dealing with this condition of having a dual cultural and linguistic alliance.
Photos by Eli Burakian ’00