Monthly Archives: January 2015

La méditation pour cette semaine

I woke up this morning very clearly aware of the reason I do not like to wake up: waking up means waking up to the university slapping me in the face and then putting me in a barrel of water and covering it, so that I will drown. I will then have to spend the rest of the day trying to get out of the barrel, which I will achieve sometime after dark. While I am in the barrel, the university will tell me how I must learn to sacrifice more. If I learn to sacrifice more, I will not be slapped around so much or put in barrels of water to drown.

Consider the opposite: is the answer that I must learn to sacrifice less?

I am so tired of this behavior and attitude of theirs, though, and I am so tired of hearing professors with good circumstances, well employed spouses, and so on, talk about how all problems are problems of “time management” or of “not knowing how to write” or of “not being serious.” And about how people in my class who left little teaching colleges saying they had not done the Ph.D. for this, were called arrogant, or considered traitors to the “profession.” It is the excoriating professors who are arrogant.

Remember that this week’s themes are conceding to power, rather, not conceding to it.

About practical life, I have said before that I am spread too thin and there is no way I have found so far to cut that down, in the circumstances I have. I do not fit in. I should be an enthusiast of second language teaching with one research interest.

But perhaps there is yet a way to time-manage the situation into submission.



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Filed under Banes, Resources, Theories, What Is A Scholar?


Black Warrior Review takes multiple submissions but some of the places I am interested in, do not. Slipstream does. I am looking at Beloit, which does not and which I like, and also Ibbetson Street, and other places around the Gulf because of some of my subject matter. I am not sure about Slant. In any case, I chose a multiple submissions friendly venue and should therefore choose others.

I have been writing Friday afternoons and those afternoons are bad for driving. I need another afternoon, perhaps not every week, but a regular afternoon, on which I will transport myself either to a library with poetry journals in open stacks or to a bookstore that has them. Many of them.


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Here are those lyrics

Moi et ma belle on avait été au bal
On a passé dans tous les honky tonks
S’en a revenu lendemain matin
Le jour était après s’casser
J’ai passé dedans la porte d’en arrière.

L’apres midi mois j’étais au village
Et j’m’ai saoulé que j’pouvais plus marcher
Ils m’ont ramené back à la maison
Il y avait de la compagnie, c’était du monde étranger
J’ai passé dedans la porte d’en arrière.

Mon vieux père un soir quand j’arrivais
Il a essayé dechanger mon idée
J’ai pas écouté, moi j’avais trop la tête dur
“Un jour à venir, mon neg’, tu va avoir du regret
T’as passé dedans la porte d’en arrière.”

J’ai eu un tas d’amis quand j’avais de l’argent
Asteur j’ai plus d’argent, et ils veulent plus me voir
J’étais dans le village, et moi j’m’ai mis dans tracas
La loi m’a ramassé, moi j’suis parti dans la prison,
On va passer dedans la porte d’en arrière


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The Forge of the Solstice

The best are older: with the unrest time brings,
No absolute remains to bind them fast.
One scrawls on rock the names of hallowed things,
Letters and hieroglyphs that yet shall last
When darkness measures with a martyr’s eye
The glories shed by life’s unchanging tree.

Another, curbing vigour on his page
To movement, makes the abounding life his own
And rhythmic finds in a discordant age,
Singing from living fountains sprung from stone,
Those unifying harmonies of line
Torn from creative nature. Light is born

Under believing fingers. Men refute
By inward protest what their masters teach,
Seeking a deeper meaning. One is mute,
Fearing far more the heresies of speech
Than watchful waiting. Figures move, they pass
Across the cave. Before them flies heaven’s glass,

And out of it now falls the winter sun,
Leaving a ceaseless myth of moving waves,
Till darkness quiets all things. Man is one:
The identity survives its many graves.
First was the hunter, then the prophet; last,
The artificer, compounding in one ghost

Hunter and prey, prophet and witness, brought
Into that circle where all riddles end.
Love gives their art a body in which thought
Draws, not from time but wisdom, till it bend
The solstice like a bow, and bring time round
White with young stars, quick from the forge they have found.

Vernon Watkins (1959)


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De la poésie pour le weekend

We are to read Spencer Reece.


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César Moro

Look here. Moro is yet another Peruvian poet with a problematic manuscript tradition, or at least edition tradition. I want this edition of La tortuga ecuestre but this store does not seem to mail internationally.


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Filed under Bibliography, Poetry

Une amie a dit

We have the responsibility to teach them how literary language is working, from simple literary examples, building onward to more complex texts. We have to teach them about what figurative language is, how it determines or opens semantic conditions; we have to teach them about accretion and resonance developing over time across sentences, paragraphs, pages. I blame generations of textbooks that are all about communicative competency–yes, along with the massive shift in our media cultures toward speed, the visual, fragmentation, and the changes in reading wrought by hypertext. But I also blame us, as literature teachers. If they are losing whatever we think of as skills and interest, we have to teach them what those skills are, and teach them how to use them, so that they might build what it is we value their being able to build in our classes.


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It is of course better than any of the alleged poems in that book I reviewed, but beyond that is it worthwhile to persons besides myself, je vous le demande.


How many roads lead to Heaven?
If you trip on the bridge, do you fall?
Had some event marked her,
did a single moment fix her to that chair?
Or had a slow accretion, a maze
of impasses melded her bones to the rock?
It may be either or both, as damage comes at every speed
and the effect is the same

We caught fragments of tales but dreamed of loving
an object that would look across at us and not be set
above or below.
A diamond or a comet, perhaps
a fiery gem that would hit us right in the chest

They wanted to tell each other about themselves
sat in twin chairs and rehearsed
What really happened, do you remember,
did you see, was it true? I had heard,
can we know, did he love me, should we call.

Sitting in chairs they repeated fragments.
Interiors once deep, dissolved slowly
They threw and caught lines but
did not hold out their hands

a fiery gem was desirable indeed

We are sifting fragments,
the fragments are of bone.
How many roads lead ahead,
if you trip on the bridge

we are sifting fragments,
the fragments are of bone
the stories have been lost
the fragments told their own

How many roads lead
a world of texture and gaps
figures falling to darkness
settling to the ground



Filed under Poetry, Questions

D’Angelo and the Vanguard

Real Love, from Black Messiah. That is new and you should really listen to the clip.

There’s Voodoo, and you can listen to it all–

and other albums, but I really think this Black Messiah would be the thing to have as you drove through the city, for instance.



Filed under Songs

Some interlaced conversations today

Student: This book is something you administer, not something you learn from. When I am working with it and its companion website I am in a frenzy trying to make sure I know where I am and that I am matching the right thing to the right thing. I am completing an exercise and learning to use the book and software more efficiently for this purpose, but I am not learning material since I am too distracted by the book and its website. This is to say that the textbook package is designed to enable students to pass courses, but not to teach them Spanish. It is only useful insofar as it helps one to fill out its rote worksheets. To do that it gives translations and has you fill in a blank, but it does not immerse you in the language.

Professor Zero: Can I quote you anonymously on that?

Student: Yes.

PZ later repeated the above to a TA she is friendly with.

TA: Yes, that is the problem with the book we are using in my field as well. But it is not only a problem with the book, it is also a problem with the structure of the courses.

Friend of the TA: Well, the problem of courses structured to get students through requirements but not to teach them anything is university wide.



Filed under Banes, What Is A Scholar?