Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Katz, Woodward, and What do Teachers teach

I’m continuing to read Profession 2008 published by MLA. Why am I doing this when so many other things are sitting there on my bookshelf, crying out pitifully? I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because I’ve never read one of these Profession publications before. Maybe it’s time I started? Or maybe, having read one, I can be done with it?

I just finished Marshall Gregory’s essay “Do We Teach Disciplines or Do We Teach Students?” Fun enough, even with the somewhat disingenuous opening question: “What do you teach?” And then when the answer is something like, “I teach history,” he’s able to retort: “No you don’t, you teach students.” It sounds a bit like a knock-knock joke gone awry. But, that said, there is stuff to mull over in here:

“The point I am making is that given all there is to learn in any field, we are all pikers, stumblers, and terminal beginners. . . . and if undergraduate teaching does actually work a fair amount of the time, it cannot be because we are all doing a box office business expanding the boundaries of our students’ disciplinary knowledge. It has to be working for reasons other than disciplinary reasons.”

Anyway, I’m back after a few days of frenzy, with a couple more poems. They’re connected because I’ve heard all things are, in good cultural studies fashion.

Jon Woodward
[the bomber swept lower and]

the bomber swept lower and
lower in concentric circles we
felt bad about ourselves we
felt like dirt we had
poor self esteem the bomber

thanked us all for being
there but the way the
bomber said it made us
think he disagreed with himself
we added the bomber’s name

to the list of people
we couldn’t stand we also
were on that list and
at what point did the
bombs begin to fall exactly

* * *

Joy Katz
Color of the Sheets.

Far from the dominant science of white
I found this white
in continual pour

In the midst of this ordinary place, the bed.

Flooding the space between my eyes.
A sudden clearing, and then a floating at waist level.
Neither putting itself gaily forth as a sail
nor sequencing itself like a pencil.

Shall I hand you such a noblesse?

It makes my heart clutch out
to see a thing so long moored finally commence.

Will I see it fail, in your sights?
In the midst of an ordinary place, whiteless?

I weep at how I can count on it,
such unreasonably good fate in the midst of a life.
Even a small satan like myself it will accept.


At 12/10/2008 11:40 AM, Blogger Andrew Shields said...

Whenever I read "the point I am making is that ...," I figure that's a confession on the writer's part that he has lost the thread and is desperately trying to find it again!

At 12/10/2008 6:43 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

I love that Katz poem. Nice, nice.


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