Thursday, August 14, 2008

Syllabizing and Wedding Bands

So this has been a productive week for me. Unfortunately, it's not new poems (one might be finished, but it could hardly be called new as it's been in the tinkering stage for quite some time now); but, we have finally picked a wedding band. As in music, not as in leaves a tan-line on your finger. Rubberband, yes it's a cheesy name, but they actually funk out enough to satisfy me. Also, their bass player is Ben Folds brother. Shelley made me promise her that that's not the reason I picked them, and it's not, but I certainly am going to enjoy telling people that.

Also, the syllabus for the fall is done, or as done as it's going to be. I'm looking forward to the class, though I worry that I'm not giving them enough diversity, in terms of aesthetic. I really had to resist the urge to simply teach my favorite writers. But for poetry, we're reading: Elizabeth Bishop, Mark Doty, A.R. Ammons, Mary Oliver, Charles Simic, C.K. Williams, James Dickey, Adrienne Rich, Robert Lowell, Sharon Olds, James Wright, Mark Strand, Louise Gluck, Robert Penn Warren, and Frank O'Hara. It's tough with only six weeks for each genre, but there were a few on this list that I simply couldn't let myself leave out (specifically Bishop, Ammons, and Wright), but hopefully the students enjoy it. For fiction it was a little bit easier, as certain stories lend themselves to certain lessons, but there are a great number of stories I'm in love with that I can't wait to teach: "A Temporary Matter" by Jhumpa Lahiri, "How Far She Went" by Mary Hood, and "The Hermit's Story" by Rick Bass. These are just a few of my favorites, along with some others I feel obligated to teach: "Things They Carried" simply because it's gorgeous, "Girl" because Jamaica Kincaid is reading at Hollins this year, and "Silver Water" because I think the class will fall in love with it and hopefully seek out more Amy Bloom.

Well Fall Submission season is almost upon us, and I think I've got my list of where I'll be sending my first round. This list is much more ambitious than last year, and I can only imagine will result in across-the-board rejections, but a 23 year-old-boy can dream. For your viewing pleasure: Iowa Review, Barrow Street, AGNI, Virginia Quarterly Review, Colorado Review, Shenandoah, Gettysburg Review, Tin House, Meridian, West Branch, Alaska Quarterly Review, and Tar River Poetry. All magazines I've had the chance to get my hands on, all magazines I'd lose a fingernail to get in. Here's hoping the last two weeks of summer are productive.


M. said...

"Girl" was the best short story I ever had the chance to read in an intro writing class at Hollins. I so recommend it because it opens the door to the Big Debate about prose poetry, poetry, flash fiction, etc, and the differences (real or imagined) between them. I'm so jealous that she's reading at Hollins this year!

Luke said...

It's going to be made even more interesting by the fact that we're reading it during the poetry half of the semester (simply so they can read it before they see her, but still). Either way, I'm excited to see how it goes. Though, word on the street is Jamaica is not exactly the most congenial visiting writer in the world...time will tell.