So apparently I’m
pretty/very terrible at staying away from my blog, even when I’m not blogging. The FL-GA Line song “Dirt” *video link here* got me to thinking about the poem I wrote in my Poetry class five years ago about the dirt road I grew up on. The digital link to that poem is *here*, but I also have it printed out in a binder from the original Microsoft Word file we were required to distribute and copy (X 25) for critique purposes for my Poetry class…thank goodness I worked somewhere with a Xerox machine. I’ll try to scan it (i.e., take a pic of it) some time and add it into the blog, but this song and this poem have been on my heart lately, so here goes…
I’ve never considered myself a poet and even as an English major I steered away from poetry because I never fully understood (appreciated?) it. I only took the above Poetry class in 2009 because it fit in my schedule and I’d heard good things about the professor. Truth be told–and I believe I’ve mentioned this before in my blog–this is the class that changed my writing style and my outlook on writing the most of all the classes I signed up for in college. Because this was an upper level course, by this point in 2009–due in large part to the economy–we all knew (“we”=English majors) that the job market wasn’t in our favour, but we were still majoring in something we loved studying. This same Poetry professor also taught a Master’s course in Poetry and he finally told us towards the end of the semester not to waste our time or money on a Master’s in English, unless we wanted to teach. (I was in the traditional English track and most of my colleagues and myself didn’t plan on teaching.)
I can remember like yesterday, no joke, sitting in this Poetry class and having my poems critiqued week after week. Sometimes we’d go around the tables (we all sat in a rectangle of tables), or sometimes we’d pick randomly whom we’d want to read next. I had some of the most brutal criticism thrown at me that I’ve ever heard to my face…my poem re: Joan Kennedy at the funeral of her ex-husband Ted drew the most criticism, culminating with the professor jokingly calling me, “the voice of a crazed Palm Beach society stalker.” (I defended the poem to the hilt and ended up winning over the class and the professor once I explained watching Ted’s entire funeral and detailing the ways in which he treated Joan during their marriage.) As the semester went on, cliques developed and we became more outspoken with one another. I remember the “kid” in the class–he was probably six or seven years younger than me–who was clearly the darling of the professor and most of the class. As I’m prone to do, I spoke to a couple of my equally-disgruntled colleagues one afternoon following class and we conspired to trip him up on his next reading (the kid was actually a very good poet and very charismatic…also very handsome, which didn’t hurt his case). The next week he read a pretty decent poem, and I was the first to offer “constructive criticism.” He resented it, but barely before he could finish retaliating–which we were allowed to do–the guy sitting next to me offered some more “criticism.” Then our female friend across the room chimed in…we could all tell by his facial expressions that he got the point (and, oh, how we laughed about it on Facebook, OMG!). Poetry is very subjective, just like any sort of art. I’ve never considered myself an artist, but rather merely an appreciator of art. It’s not to be insulted as much as critiqued and appreciated, whether or not you yourself understand/know how to appreciate it fully. I wonder sometimes what that “kid” is doing now.
“You know you came from it…and someday you’ll return to it.”
–FL/GA Line, “Dirt”
Thanks for reading, thanks for the e-mails, and thanks for the comments. I can honestly say I’ve missed blogging, and realizing my Granny would’ve turned 100 years old in eight days has renewed my will to–for lack of a better expression–“keep on keepin’ on.” I must note that I cropped out my Daddy and my middle sister in the photo at the top of the blog…my trust is lost as far as people stealing photos on public forums goes, but I did want to include that one because to my knowledge it’s the only one I’ve got of me on my parents’ dirt road. Perhaps I should take an updated one when I’m home for Thanksgiving? I cannot wait to step foot on that familiar dirt road again soon.