Monday, October 23, 2006

Late October

Two points. Or rather, one point and one question:
I really don't hate grading. I just wish it didn't take so long.
I'm going as the forest floor for Halloween. Zoe will be a squirrel. Or a chipmunk.. I'm trying to talk Erik into being a forest Satyr (name pun) but he's insisting on wearing a toga. I think a toga and some hooves would work. I really wanted to rehash my Lemon Fresh Scent costume but Erik gave it away at a party on Saturday. I also liked last year's Whitman themed "Stucco'd o'er with quadrapeds" but nobody got that.
Here's the question: Have I been the forest floor before?

Monday, October 16, 2006

Students and Irony

I'm teaching a course where the New Yorker is our primary text. Nay, it is our only text, our model, our muse. It's a little bit of a canned idea, but it exposes students to readings that they'll be able to continue to access even after class. One of the reasons I went to grad school is so that I could have people direct me toward readings. The New Yorker, as conservative and cheeky as it can be, serves as a good bridge from interest in yourself to interest in the world.
As my students turn in their "Shouts & Murmurs" and their "Talks of the Town" I find something so off about them. They're generally written well and the students try to reach for erudition and SAT vocabulary. But what their pieces lack is any sense of irony whatsoever. When they review, they loved it. When they self-reflect, they mean it. Earnestness runneth over. How do you teach irony? Should you even teach students the cynicism that irony requires?

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Doing enough?

Oh it's just crazy here. Grading, of course, but also benchmarking and assessing and developing curriculum. Is that service? Maybe. Our department meets weekly for faculty meetings. Does that count as service? Not so much? Should I go and teach a class in the public schools? Isn't that too much service? Probably. Guest writers and student readings and tryiing to figure out if I'm a committee person or the do-it-myselfer. Most of the good do-it-yourself gigs are already filled so I'd need to come up with an entirely new project and probably find new funding for that. Which is so unlikely.
Poetry Night is tonight so I cancelled class which runs straight into the events (encouraging but not forcing my students to attend), I'm picking up Zo, I'm running home to clean the house for the babysitter. I'm bringing the programs to the reading. Does that count as service?
Perhaps one day I'll read a book again. Or write a poem. A very very short book. And a very short poem.
Really, all is well. Erik and I and Zoe had a great weekend going on long walks, driving to Saugatauk for the Oktoberfest, watching good/bad TV, meeting our neighbors again for a strange party where the moving folks invited the new folks over to meet us. It lasted from exactly six o'clock to seven o'clock. We were invited to bring wine if we wanted so of course we did but we were the only ones drinking. We are also one of the few with only 1 kid. Everyone has 3. I think it's a rule for our block. Erik and I might have to move before the neighbors turn the screw.
OK--here's a fun question: what books would you teach an advanced undergrad creative nonfiction class? An advanced undergrad poetry class? I'm thinking 5 or 6 books for each. Michael Martone, Lawrence Wechsler, Lauren Slater for the first and Frank Bidart, James Tate, Terrance Hayes and Paisley Rekdal and Olena Kalytiak Davis for the poetry. Any ideas? Warnings? Must do's.
And, if I do ever get to read a book of my own, what should I read. I'm reading Jim Wenderworth's essays right now... (where's the mot juste, Jim? Where?) Where's my French? Where?
OK. Must pick up Zo and not forget the programs. Man, service is hard work.