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Society

Translation, Film, and the ESL Student

November 11, 2010
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A new language is a bully. Learning a new language is not really learning a new way to communicate, but a new way to think.

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Memorial Day

November 10, 2010
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White’s poems are mired in a period, but not stiffly so: they breathe, they surf along the pulse of memory and desire.

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Empathy, Cultural Dialogue, and Dead White Men

November 4, 2010
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“Bloody hell, no! I want to study dead white men!”

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Election Day Interregnum

November 2, 2010
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Nixon went down to the beach and sat in the sand and waited. The waves came in, the waves went out, and he sat there in his suit and waited.

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On Gene Tanta’s “Critical Introduction to Unusual Woods.”

October 30, 2010
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Even though both the form and content of Gene Tanta’s work are particular to his Romanian-immigrant experience, he insists that his poetry is accessible to everyone. His poetry, he says, exists both as aesthetic objects and political propaganda. This is absolutely true about all poetry, not just his own. Inevitably, literary criticism will come to see that literature is always both.

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Joe Weil’s Must Have Books (Towards a Different Kind of Workshop, Part II)

October 23, 2010
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Some days in a writing workshop should be like rainy days with a coloring book.

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Is Democracy Incompatible with the Humanities?

October 15, 2010
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Humanities programs aren’t being attacked because the voters are cretinous philistines (though we poets & writers prefer to stroke our own egos in thinking so). The humanities are suffering an identity crisis and are being picked off as the weakest competitors for state funding.

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More Construction Notes

October 14, 2010

Just a few things to notice about the site redesign.

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Outing and Demonizing

October 12, 2010

I don’t believe in “blessings” in disguise. I don’t believe that all that doesn’t kill me, strengthens me. I believe I was murdered emotionally. I believed that an already severe sadness was aggravated by being taunted relentlessly. This kid who was outed without his permission, who was exposed for the “entertainment” value of the reality TV culture is not merely an instance of gay bashing. He is a test of our failure not to torture. He is a victim of our pro-exposure, lack of empathy, sociopathic contempt for privacy or kindness. I keep his picture on my desk. I look at him every day.

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What’s Your Style Book of Choice?

October 8, 2010
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I followed Strunk religiously until I read Geoffrey Pullum’s extensive bitchfest in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Strunk & White, and in recent years I have reconsidered my devotion.

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The Inward Soul: Dickinson and St. Theresa of Avila

October 5, 2010
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There is an inwardness so vast, so total, that it has a true integrity—not the pretentiousness of artistic temper, not the vanity of professional mysticism, not the neurosis of social anxiety disorder, but a forthrightness, an honorable, hourly withdrawal from the world that seems, for lack of a better word—ecstatic.

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LOLcatspeak, pt. 2? The Internet of Babel

October 1, 2010
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I tend to believe that we don’t realize that technology is (always already?) an assumption about the world (as one philosopher called it “an account of the good”), not only a tool. Ironically, this writer is lamenting the disappearance of languages via the internet, which has become battering ram of English domination. The more I read and learn, the more I think that questions of technology and how man relates to nature are primary questions (not economics, race, sexuality, etc.—in many ways, the controversies over these can be directly traced to questions of technology).

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Towards a Different Kind of Workshop

September 30, 2010
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I am not the expert teacher here, but the experienced learner, the one who has a love for poetry and gets excited by weird things like grammatical ambiguity, or how the poet used the weather to suggest a mood.

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More about McLuhan and the Poetic Line

July 10, 2010
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When McLuhan described linearity (I think he actually used the term lineality…not sure if there’s a difference? Spell check doesn’t recognize the latter, if that means anything!), I couldn’t help but think about the poetic line and the way it is changing. As print culture (and hence the divorce made by the phonetic alphabet) ends, we move from the line, back to the field, back to non-linear, acoustic space.

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The Future of Poetry at the Research University

June 27, 2010
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Wendell Berry recently decided to pull his personal papers from the University of Kentucky, and it got me thinking. While I know this news story isn’t directly related to the topic of poetry (and this is–loosely–a poetry blog), I can’t help but feel it connects on some other level as we (poets) think about the […]

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Herman Melville Drinks Your Milkshake

May 13, 2010
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I was fortunate enough to have a American Literature professor who blew off the typical survey class BS and just gave us some of the best literature of the 19th century: Hawthorne, Dickinson, Melville, among others… In that class, I read Moby-Dick for the first time. I believe I read most of it over the course […]

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