Saturday, January 27, 2007
odds and ends
Ugh, this ekphrastic class may be a bust. It's team taught by a MFA faculty and a rather stuffy old-school literature guy (not one of the one's who usually teaches lit to grad students).. I was ready to slit my wrist after about twenty minutes of tediously explicating "Ode on a Grecian Urn."(for probably about the third time in my tenure as student). Even Chaucer was looking mighty exciting compared to that segment of class, which consisted of everything I ever hated about being an English major--line by line vivisection of the text, long pauses, the instructor asking "what does this mean? anyone? anyone?--come back to haunt me. Whats crazy is I used to just grin and bare it. But now I'm spoiled...even my lit classes have been rather rambunctious and untraditional, the discussions, while just as in depth, more organic, more open and fun, instead of doggedly led along by the instructor to cover certain amount of material. I'm hoping the creative aspects of the class will save it, and already we've talked a little about painting, what draws us visually, how that relates to what sort of poetry we like. I'm already thinking of how some things are applying to the Cornell poems, how my pieces are a mix of response directly to and pieces inspired by but only loosely attached to the actual boxes. This week, we're meeting at the Art Institute,and I can't help but remember that only four years ago, Karen Volkman took our poetics class to see the Cornell boxes (which in previous jaunts, I always missed in favor of the Impressionist galleries) and I was smitten. These poems have sort of been in the works for almost that long. (I think I wrote the first in 2004) so it will be good to finally finish off the project as soon as I put girl show to bed. It's something that keeps getting shoved aside in favor of bigger projects and manuscripts.