Sunday, September 18, 2005

hmmm. . .

It's been a while, not because I don't have a million things to blog about but mostly because school is taking a lot of time and effort right now. The reality that I have like 80 books to read by April is weighing on me pretty hard core. Without the baby, it would be daunting but possible. With the baby, it just seems impossible. But on I trudge, through the lists. Longinus. Shelly. Wordsworth. Plato. Rosemarie Waldrop. Myung Mi Kim. Walter Banjamin. An interesting collection of voices in my head.

I bombed in class on Thursday attempting to teach an introducton to poetry class a Saussure essay- I guess I should have known better but it was a learning experience. I learned that it's a good idea to give some preface materials (define terms, reading questions, introductory lecture) before having the students read something really difficult. I think it helps them get more out of it. I rarely teach prose/ theory pieces in the workshops I've taught in the past, so I'm learning. It's definitely a process.

Eliot's 1st birthday is on Friday and we're going to Colorado to throw him a huge party. I'm pretty excited but also a little stressed out. It's a pretty big deal, and difficult to throw a party from 1000 miles away. Let's hope it all comes together.

I've been writing very little and what I have been writing is very empty and disembodied, so I've been keeping it to myself. Too much reading perhaps? Usually that helps. . .but maybe there are too many voices. But again, usually that helps. No time. That's for sure.


Justin Evans said...

I am sad to say this but it is the teaching that is getting t your writing. Some may disagree with me, but it is going to take some time for you to get used to the idea of both teaching others and writing for yourself. Don't worry, you will get the hang of it. What happens is this: You are so worked up about putting forth basic concepts that you are not advancing your own art. But again, you will get past it. I have been teaching for more than 6 years and the same thing happened to me.

You are correct that right now it's a learning curve to teach, especially with everything else going on. It took me years to get where I have a really solid teaching process. I'm not saying I could write a book, but have learned a lot. Unfortunately, there are very few courses for college professors to learn how to teach, and it is its own animal. One thing I will impart to you is what you already discussed: Frontload. Frontload to the point of absurdity. Undergrads, I suspect, especially in an Intro to Poetry Class, are in need of a scaffolding for the subject. That means a lot of vocabulary and the like. Trust this as well: Every teacher bombs. You don't want to do it often, but it is an inevitability, so don't be so hard on yourself when it does. Only be as hard as you need to to recognize what to do better the next time.

I don't mean to go on so much, but I really think you can do it. You know it, too. Just forge ahead and it will get better and easier. Also, talk to other professors in the department for specific advice. You don't have to take any of it, but you might hear something you like.


Lorna Dee Cervantes said...

Mackenzie, I think you have my address & home number. Call me. Let me know if there's something I can do for you here in Boulder. And do let me know when you'll be here. I'm sorry I missed you last time. Whatever old phone numbers & addies you have for me are most likely not crrect. I moved 4 times in '03, now back to my green house, if you remember it. Email me. I'd love to see you and Eliot. Hopefully, you're hand-carrying a manuscript. BEAUTIFUL cover/title idea. Did I comment on that?

Let me know what you need. My son's b-day is end of month, so I know all the party places in town.