Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 03/08/10: My Papa's Waltz, Good Conversation, Closing the Time Gap with Susan-Louise

1. I'd like to think that many of my ENG 106 students were silenced, deeply unsettled by Roethke's "My Papa's Waltz" as the waltz meter of the poem takes us stanza by stanza through a boy being battered by his drunk father. It all sounds so nice, though: the meter, the rhymes, the child-like innocence of the poem's tone. In some ways, the waltz sounds fun. But, the waltz meter/rhythm breaks in one line: "You beat time on my head." Chilling. Also chilling: "Then waltzed me off to bed/ Still clinging to your shirt."

2. Friends and fellow teachers ask me if I miss teaching the Shakespeare course. I don't. Part of the reason is that if I stroll down to Michael McDonald's office, we have really great talks about the plays and what we understand to be the mind of Shakespeare at work. It's more enjoyable talking with Michael about Shakespeare than it is to teach the course, oddly enough. He's doing some acting, he's philosophically minded, he's really, really intelligent without being a boor, and our conversations go places with Shakespeare, movies, what we think about teaching, and other stuff untraveled in the classroom. We had one our conversations today. It was uplifting for me.

3. Speaking of uplifting. Susan-Louise and I took some time out of our evening to continue to get reacquainted. Over twenty-five years have passed since she was a student of mine at Whitworth and we have become reacquainted in the Westminster basement online and through the wonders of Facebook chat. So much has happened since we were youngsters at Whitworth and it's fun to learn more about Susan-Louise and to answer questions she has about me. A lot of time gap closing is happening in the Westminster basement. It's so deeply satisfying.

1 comment:

Katrina said...

It's a funny coincidence that you posted about Roethke today. I had an inexplicable urge to spend some time with him last night, especially "In a Dark Time". I love the sound of it. My husband used to like to quote pieces of "I Knew a Woman" to me when we were dating. :)