Thursday, January 12, 2012

i have heard the mermaids singing, each to each

It's almost 9.30pm - a full hour after I went to bed yesterday - so this shall be brief. I thought a quick note was, however, in order: Welcome back to the school year! Two weeks into the semester and part of me is still adjusting; part of me feels as though I never quite left my little windowless 228.

But today we were working with figurative language, speaker, and mood with "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock." First, if you have never read this poem or haven't done so in the last year, please cease reading this and read it immediately.

Second, except for in 6th hour (which was catastrophically bad for whatever reason), junior classes were engaged and intrigued. They also readily and excitedly read the first part of "Krapp's Last Tape" by Samuel Beckett. (Inspired by Eliot's work, it's a brilliant one-man show also readily available online)
I'm not sure if it's the Dante epigraph, the ether, the yellow cat fog, or the perfumed dresses that got 'em. I think they also enjoyed my imitations of crabs and disembodied shoes in reviewing synecdoche. 3rd hour, traditionally a meddlesome class, listened in rapt silence as I read the first part of the poem. When I paused, a student said softly, "Please keep going." They also were the most enchanted when I had them visualize how I had seen "Krapp's Last Tape" - done by my beloved advisor A. Manley in an old gasworks building. In the winter. Without heat. With one naked bulb, cellophane, and a scratchy tape recorder.

Before I began, however, I had to have a little plug for rereading poetry. I thought it turned out prettily so, as much for my own memory, I'll commit it here: Re-reading poetry is like hiking on DY. It's like hiking in the riverbed that winds up to near the top. You know how you can find the bits of turquoise in the sand? That is what it is like. DY is always beautiful - a poem is always beautiful - but there is always something else. Something sparkly and precious. And new. To be found in each reading.

Happy Friday!
Over and out.