Thursday, February 03, 2005

Reach the conclusion that S. should be taught a thing or two about poetry, but acknowledge that reinforcements might curtail the kicking and screaming that’s sure to ensue if you try to do it all on your own. Order the How to Read and Understand Poetry lecture series from the Teaching Company; it’s on sale.

Receive the series the afternoon that you have a migraine nagging your left temple. Turn straight to the section in the back of the course guidebook that lists which poem is discussed in which lecture. Feel relief that most of the poems—barring the ones for the first lecture—are in poetry anthologies you already own.

Pick up S. from drama. Ignore his look of panic when you mention poetry.

Back home, look on the poetry shelf for said anthologies. All—except Contemporary American Poetry-- have gone missing long enough to have their spots filled by individual poets. Wordsworth is not going to be found in Contemporary American Poetry. Turn to the internet for “Solitary Reaper,” et al. Your head still hurts, so you intend to stop once you’ve found the first week’s worth of poems.

Start to feel equally annoyed that your books aren’t where they’re supposed to and ashamed that you’ve never even heard of A. R. Ammons before. A North Carolina poet! Plus, the poem you need from him is not available on the internet. Look up the call number for his collected works so you’ll have it when you go to the library.

Look on the poetry shelf again and all the shelves that hold mass market paperbacks. Check in R.’s room to see if she has them on her shelves; didn’t she take them all in her room for a project two or three years back? Get really desperate and look under everything in S.’s room.

Talk to your poet friend on the phone. Discuss how sons hate everything they’re supposed to read for school, even stuff that’s boy-oriented. Feel a vague twinge that you’ll think about in more depth later—Gabriel Zaid saying that there are too many writers and not enough readers. But all the males you know who like to read are also writers. If no males read, won’t reading become even more devalued in our society? Discuss Lord of the Flies. Exchange reading recommendations.

Now the migraine has moved forehead dead center; take an Imitrex. Search shelves all willy-nilly. Find the plastic after-surgery collar for the cat. Find the remaining half of the D’Aulaire’s mythology that S. loved to pieces years back. Attempt to visualize where you’d last seen the anthology C.H. gave you in high school; search the bathrooms thoroughly.

Finally find the anthologies—laid flat and spine-inward on a shelf with photos taken at the Tate and What Shall We Name the Baby? Whew.

Rush to get ready to go to work. Take a supplementary handful of over-the-counter since the Imitrex is just sitting in your stomach; it might be lonely.

Transmogrify into someone competent by the time you reach the library. The guidebook says most of the poems are in Norton; that’s easy to check out. Once you determine which poems aren’t in Norton, which aren’t in the collected or selected or specifically named volumes the library owns, you place a couple ILL requests. Piece of cake.

Your headache goes away for the rest of the evening.


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