Teaching Poetry in the Provinces

Teaching Poetry in the Provinces

“…Cram them full of noncombustible data, chock them so damned full of `facts’ they feel stuffed…`brilliant’ with information. Then they’ll feel they’re thinking, they’ll get a sense of motion, without moving…Don’t give them any slippery stuff like philosophy or sociology…That way lies melancholy…Don’t let the torrent of melancholy and drear philosophy drown our world. We depend on you. I don’t think you realize how important you are, we are, to our happy world as it stands now.”—Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451.

One afternoon, when I had finished a lecture on E. M. Forster at a university in the Southwest, a coed paused by my desk to ask, in all stammering earnestness, what I had meant by the inner 1-life and the s-s-self….

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