Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Snow Day #1

I have learned my lesson well, and I will under no circumstances be venturing outside today. Last year, a newbie to Newfoundland snow, I managed to get my car stuck in every single major snowstorm we had.

Not this year. I've learned: keep a cache of comfort food and comfort booze, DVDs you like, and blankets that might not necessarily be needed (because you've hiked the heating up in response to the storm), but which still provide a sense of smug satisfaction as you wrap yourself in them and look out at the snow.

This does put a bit of a crimp in my already-behind-the-eight-ball working schedule, as only about one-third of the things I was planning to get done today actually came home in my bag with me. On the other hand, today is an ideal day to get reading done: since getting up, I have read through the first third or so of Frankenstein, which we start next week in my second-year class. Having gone through two weeks so far of the nuts and bolts of reading poetry -- scansion, prosody, metrics, and all that rip-roaring fun stuff -- hopefully a good old-fashioned gothic novel will be a welcome break for my students.

My two classes are going well so far this semester, I think. Lestways, I'm having fun. However dry it might be, there is something deeply satisfying about teaching the basics of poetry. It's refreshingly concrete, and it lets you enjoy the poetry at the level of the language itself. And I've had enough students express enthusiasm for it to make me feel that I'm on the right track here.

The grad class is also going well -- I think. I say "I think" because we're really sort of early days here yet: we haven't started student seminars, and I'm front-loading a pretty broad range of theory and criticism on my students in order to establish the course's various meta-debates. The students are a good group, though (and I'm not entirely saying that because a know some of them read this blog) and the discussions we've had so far on the material have been promising. The first unit has been a little inchoate (partially by design, partially not) because of its topic (Sept. 11) and the principal text (Zizek's Welcome to the Desert of the Real! -- alas, one of those things that is currently sitting in my office, so I'll be doing some fast reading tomorrow morning!). But next week we start on Philip Roth's The Human Stain, and really get into some of the more focused issues at work in this course.

This semester so far has been an odd experience of going to extremes: introduction to scansion on one hand, and Slavoj Zizek's neo-Lacanianism on the other. I need to pass through a decompression chamber between wednesday afternoon and thursday morning.

Well ... the wind is howling outside and a fresh pot of coffee is ready, so I retire to my couch and read. I do so love my job.

1 comment:

FanglyFish said...