Whenever I begin a new academic term I’m consistently reminded of Franz Kafka’s splendid parable “Before the Law.”  I believe it adequately sums up what Mike Rose in Lives on the Boundary calls the “mismatched expectations” of students who attempt to gain entrance into the academy.  School is made for their edification and enlightenment but […]

Seamus Heaney’s “The Peninsula”

A link to Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize Speech The Peninsula When you have nothing more to say, just drive For a day all around the peninsula, The sky is tall as over a runway, The land without marks, so you will not arrive But pass through, though always skirting landfall. At dusk, horizons drink down […]

On an Encounter with William Butler Yeats

This blog post is a brief response to Avies Platt’s memoir “A Lazarus Beside Me” which was printed in the London Review of Books.  It’s a charming narrative of a younger woman meeting the elder statesman of letters, but something in the telling rings false to me.  Not dishonest per se, but insincere.  That is, […]

University of Colorado Lecturer Kicked Off AWP Conference Committee for Racist Tweets

Los Angeles defense lawyer and conceptual poet Vanessa Place is offering a 2015 Maymester Humanities course at UC Boulder on technology and media poetics, specifically about the ways Twitter and blogging has altered art production and daily life.  Recently, Place has stirred up controversy and was removed from an Association of Writers and Writing Programs […]

Writing About Boredom, Or Writing About Writing

Boredom is not merely a symptom of existential despair, nausea, and ennui.  It’s a predicament that writing teachers negotiate with students in the classroom… But how so?  No, this is not a jaded complaint about illiteracy and students not meeting the proverbial educational mark, being underprepared for student learning outcomes and so forth.  It has more […]

Sisyphus in a Writing Class

Recently, I created a writing assignment based on Albert Camus’s absurdist philosophy and the famous essay  “The Myth of Sisyphus.”  Initially, I thought it was a brilliant assignment.  Why?  Well, aside from the obvious fact that novice writing students seemingly resemble the absurd hero pushing a rock uphill (along with the implications of the writing […]