We had our first graduate poetry workshop yesterday. I obviously can’t say much about that in here, either, but I can say that we read this poem, Decorum, by Stephen Dunn, and that anyone who has ever been in a writing workshop or had thoughts about one should read it. It’s very funny.
Today we had another meeting of our other graduate poetry seminar. A point made in it that I thought was share-able with this blog is that some poets require more interpretation than others. We went on to discuss how this is not a judgment of quality; it simply means that the poets who need less interpretation tend to get assigned in classes less and get read by readers more.
This seems like an obvious point, but I am going to share it with my students tomorrow, as a way of explaining why the poems on our syllabus are all so thorny, and the poems which many of them already know and love – The Road Not Taken, or Directive, for example – are not included. (Although maybe it does need interpretation. Never speak too soon with Frost seeming simple to understand…)
Today I implemented an efficiency change I’ve been wanting to make for awhile – I shared all my class handouts, as Google documents, with all my students. This works so much better than me emailing everything to them as attachments. It’s fantastic.
Something else I would like to do for them, eventually – well, two somethings –
1) make some kind of online timeline of all the poets we study, so they can see the overlapping dates of publication and of existence. I think this is a project I could get the students to help me work on. I just have to start it.
2) start building a shared site of poems we love – me, them, everyone. That way they can share their favorite poems with each other even when we don’t have time to discuss everything in class. We could even do this across all the sections.
Hmmm. (I know it should be a wiki. I know. I am familiar. Really.) Sounds like more work. Maybe next week.
Today we (the grad students) were also paid for the first time, and there was much rejoicing. Finally, today, I am going to bed at a decent hour. Yes.