Monday, June 17, 2013


These peaceful fishies swim around in the pond outside the dining hall at St John's College, adding to the general air of tranquillity.  I'd not planned to be back teaching Bread Loaf there this summer, but circumstances prevailed - i.e. a course that needed taking over at the last minute - and I'm so very happy, as it turns out, to be back in the classroom with 16 keen high school (mostly) English teachers.  The only true challenge is that the course is British Poetry - Old English to the present day.  I can do the present day, all right - and, indeed, the C19th and C20th - but before that??  Indeed, teaching poetry feels like something that I have the same claims to be able to do as choreography, or Fair Isle Knitting.  But I console myself with thinking that even if I can never remember what - say - an anapest is, I can probably close read and think on my feet (those are figurative feet, not metrical ones).  It's a provocation, all the same, to my usual habits of "always historicize."  Yet if the course had been, say, the Victorian novel, I don't think that I'd have the same (ok, perverse, but true) sense of this being a kind of mental vacation, changing territory, pushing me somewhere that I'd not anticipated going.

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