Friday, February 6, 2009

End of the First Half-Week

So we finally got started on Wednesday. Shelley is headed back to Ohio to start her position as a Physical Therapist at Cleveland Clinic. She will be working in orthopedics (dig the number three ranking at that link). I know it seems silly to resort to rankings, but my college-basketball trained mind finds lists with numbers very helpful when quantifying quality.


I have seventeen students in my intro. class this semester, which is two more than I had last semester. I think I have 4 Californians, too! Not that this is in any way significant, it just surprises me as I think everyone in my last class was from the state of Virginia. I'm excited to get going--starting with Imagery on Monday. Having them read some Fred Chappell essays to get ready (from Plow Naked: Selected Writings on Poetry). Also going to have them read Yeats' "The Fisherman" and write a little bit on their ideal reader...mainly it's just an excuse to read them Yeats...God I love that poem.


As promised, here's the reading list for Kelly Cherry's class on Poetic Sequence:

Collected Poems by Theodore Roethke
Moon Road by Ron Smith
Pictures from Brueghel by William Carlos Williams
The Dream Songs by John Berryman
River by Fred Chappell
God's Loud Hand by Kelly Cherry
Thomas and Beulah by Rita Dove
The Dream of a Common Language by Adrienne Rich
Words by the Water by William Jay Smith

All in all, I'm pretty excited about the list. I love Roethke's North American Sequence which Aaron Baker (not this one, but this one) pointed me to last year when we were working together. I'm always a little skeptical when someone includes their own book as required reading for a class they're teaching, but who knows, maybe she'll convince me. I have enjoyed the two collections of her's that I've read (God's Loud Hand is not one of them, love the title, though).


Staying on the topic of sequences--I've been thinking more and more of the one I'm going to write, and the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced they should be sonnets. I like the idea of a formal, tight-knit core that might be able to exist somewhere in the middle of my manuscript. There are a couple of collections with similar sonnet sequences to the one I'm thinking of: in Late Wife, Claudia Emerson begins the final section with hers, including some sonnets that have only the octave and no sestet (an idea I love and plan on using). Also, Eric Nelson's book Terrestrials starts with a sonnet sequence about his mother (a topic which will hopefully jump in and out of my own sequence, not his mother, but mine) which I really enjoy, but I think if I were to start the manuscript with a sequence it might mislead the reader as to the project I'm undertaking (and they are too, I guess, by reading). Anyway, something to think about. I posted an earlier version of this, the first section, of my sequence. It has since been sonnetized. To disappear shortly:



I've been thinking a lot about opening lines in poems, thus, a new feature:

Killer opening poetry line of the moment
This week's from A.R. Ammons' MECHANISM:

Honor a going thing, goldfinch, corporation, tree,


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