Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I will go get a strong cup of coffee in a minute. I am under a lot of pressure to revise a manuscript suddenly, but I'm very, very excited about it at the same time. Lots of work ahead of me in terms of toning up and polishing and tightening a number of poems.

Realizing that I also need to write an essay and teach five courses all simultaneously. It's a bit hectic in that I drive so much lately, but I feel reinvigorated in some ways. Some days I still get stuck in the rut of being disappointed and angry at someone, but then I regroup and find myself having lots of wonderful things happen simultaneously, but unfortunately I can't post the news here yet. I do recognize that I need to gain confidence in my work, my teaching and my presence. The essay will be a bit tricky in that I'm not certain what I want to say and need to go check out Diana Garcia's WHEN LIVING WAS A LABOR CAMP in order to get started on it; that and Lorna Dee Cervantes' EMPLUMADA will be integral to the essay I plan on writing.

Well, I'm off for a caffeine fix, a pretty necessary one as I spilled lots of my coffee all over my shirt this morning.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Five mistakes everyone should make. I have most definitely managed do do all of these things successful people supposedly do. Am I more "successful" than I think I am? I hope so.

Insecurity has plagued me of late, and I sense it's time to start writing again, but I have 100 plus papers to grade this weekend :( I am feeling a bit more secure today, sensing everything will be okay despite the pressure of teaching so many courses.


Today I'm at the Auraria campus library getting ready to find some academic articles on Pound and Eliot. I've asked students to write a response to one of the poets we've read: Pound, Eliot, Stevens and Williams. The response can be a poem or an essay or even a free write. I really am interested in hearing their reactions to this varied group of poets.


"And so,/like this flower/I persist---/for what there may be in it./I am not,/I know,/ in the galaxy of poets/a rose/ who who among the rest,/ will deny me/ my place."

--- William Carlos Williams from "The Pink Locust" HEATH ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. Vol. D. Wadsworth. 2010.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cat Stevens - Where Do The Children Play (live)

Relieved to have moved past Eliot and Pound and on to William Carlos Williams. So I will reflect tonight between classes I'm teaching on his slogan, "no ideas but in things." I can tell he ended up feeling that Pound and Eliot were too attached to European cultures and religion. Apparently he is associated with not only Pound in friendship but with several Black Mountain poets.

I found Eliot's "The Wasteland" interesting if not weighty, but agree that all of the allusions make it mostly undecipherable to a contemporary audience [according to a friend]. It is refreshing to read Williams, and I can't help wonder if my preference for Williams is rooted in my socio-economic status. Who has time to linger with Pound or Eliot? Is this just laziness on my part? I don't think so. We choose what we do with out time carefully, since our time is so limited and fleeting we choose what brings us pleasure, and William's "The Red Wheelbarrow" has always seemed so academic and pretentious, yet today I feel differently. I love that he embraces American idiom. I like that Williams was concerned with diversity and representing the poor and lower to middle economic classes.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Reading Wallace Steven's "Anecdote of the Jar," "Sunday Morning," and "The Snow Man" with more appreciation than I have in the past.

At a coffee shop in Old Town Arvada. Wondering if and when I will start writing again. I don't have internet access where I'm staying, and I am teaching a lot of classes. My printer is broken too, so maybe working some place like a coffee shop on a few poems at a time and sending them out via online submissions is the way to go. I don't do well with the noise in coffee shops lately. I suppose I will go to the library from now on since it is more quiet.

A friend last night went on a wonderful rant about Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes and demanded to know why she had to endlessly study Eliot and Pound in school. Her arguments were compelling and passionate. Basically, she can't understand why Pound and Eliot are excessively studied. Whereas Plath was labeled as a nut by the Hughes'--- that's what a friend was saying. In grad school, conservative program grad school, the men I studied with defended Hughes and saw him as a victim of feminists everywhere.

Friday, September 17, 2010

I'm reading "The Wasteland" in a rather noisy Starbucks. Yes, corporate coffee sucks. I usually go to a coffee shop in Arvada, but I didn't want to drive out there since all I mostly do during the week is drive.

I am trying to decipher the poem, or at least understand it beyond its shifting voices, shifting speakers and apocalyptic tone at times. Lots of sexuality too. Suffering people become "hooded hoards swarming" and unreal cities are destroyed and rebuilt. Women are once again depicted as neurotic, pathetic and aging disgustingly. I'm wondering now how I was ever a literature major. But I do think more wannabe poets should read a wide breadth of literature beyond contemporary voices of color. There, I said it. I say this while being uncomfortable with "The Wasteland". The disintegration of the culture that Eliot saw is so similar to what people sense today about our culture. It is slowly deteriorating and we look back to the classics for a sense of strength and security? No, mostly people ignore the classics and focus on those many marginalized voices outside the canon. I think this is dangerous. Yet, I think those voices should be read as well.

So I'm reflecting on themes I've read exist in the poem and find it interesting yet overwhelming, much the same way I come to and leave Pound. Exhausted. I have to read it more slowly somewhere where it is quiet.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

I'm trying to prepare for a 1:00 comp class and am in a rush as usual. I am literally driving all over the Denver metroplex to get to classes. I'm enjoying classes immensely if not the actual driving to and fro.

Today we discussed Pound and a bit of Eliot in the lit class. I have very, very bright students.

This afternoon I'll have students do some group work over an essay they have read and possibly have a discussion about whether or not torture is acceptable punishment in response to terrorism.

Next semester I may only teach two classes. I need to not be carried away into teaching so many classes. It was hard to say no to a lit class, but in the end I hope like a fool to teach a creative writing workshop again some day. I am adhering to someone else's syllabus which makes it a bit difficult, but I am learning a great deal and enjoying the students.


Pound. I have given his poems more thought recently than I ever have before and despite not liking him as an undergraduate, I find him interesting, but the heavy allusions and references make him a difficult read.

I'm going to lunch with a friend now.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I've been thinking about politics overriding artistic merit and thinking that tastes is simply individualistic, yet I am constantly pulled into believing there is good art and bad art, not low and high, but good and bad. Are my ideas about what is good simply a result of my education? No, I often disagreed with professors. Poetry is a complex thing, and history reveals the oppression of various voices, yet I am writing an essay for ABR re: when politics overtakes craft, sort of a case study on contemporary Latino/a poetry or more specifically Mexican-American poetry. I'm asked to report on what is "good" in Chicana/Mexican-American Poetry. And what is poetry or Chicana poetry? Books published by Chicanas, online ranting, what's anthologized?

In any case, I will write this essay because I promised to write it. I'm grappling with it now, but yes, I believe there is "good" work and bad work and I can't get around that I think this despite believing in inclusion. I just wish "good" work was noted.

And then again maybe my idea of what is good is off, but I think some poems are simply bland, simply political, simply journalistic reporting rooted most often in political rage.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

I picked up an American Lit course which I'm excited about, but I'm a little overwhelmed as I also have 4 comp courses, but it should turn out okay. In any case, I'm very busy right now and am not sure I'll have much time to blog and as they say blogging is dead. I don't think it's really dead. I also have had a number of good things occur which I'll report here in due time. I will attempt to be more literary and more snobbish ;)

In any case, maybe I'll ponder what I'm reading and discuss it here. I'm taking the class over for someone who needs administrative course release, so I'm very excited to be teaching lit. again. I'll be using THE HEATH ANTHOLOGY OF AMERICAN LITERATURE. SIXTH EDITION. VOLUMES C, D AND E.

Once again I get to struggle with Auraria campus parking. :( Oh well, I'm happy to deal with it as I am thrilled to be on that campus again for a time.