I have been writing
if that is what reading one sentence over and over, deleting it, restoring it, and eating 4000 hershey kisses is called. This activity takes place late at night and early in the morning, minus the kisses. Meanwhile, classes have started. I am teaching more than usual, hence, silence on the blog. Today, in Introduction to Creative Writing, a class filled with people who are fulfilling some kind of writing requirement and are not English majors, I told my unhappy students about John Donne and his interesting relationship to God. The class went something like this:
“What does ravished mean?” (this is me)
“Well, can you get the meaning from the context? Donne wants to be “ravished” by God. What could this mean?” (I admit it; this is a disingenuous question)
“Ravished often meant raped in the 17th century.” ( I say this neutrally.)
“Did you hear what I just said?”
“You should be shocked.”
This is when existential loneliness, or just plain old loneliness sets in.
I look out the window and think I should not be reading John Donne with these poor souls.
But I give it one more shot:
“Imagine writing a poem about having sex with God? That is what Donne is doing.”
“Don’t worry. I ‘m not going to make you do this”
more laughter. (I’m grateful for the laughter)
“Imagine having this kind of passion for the divine,”
My students aren’t really interested in imagining this and why should they be? Nor do they want to hear about John Winthrop’s weird poems to God, even though I suddenly feel like talking about them. This is Introduction to Creative Writing, not Introduction to Theology or Introduction to the History of English and American poetry, or Introduction to Church History, or even Western Civ I. And so we veer back to the topic of the day — What is a sonnet — and end the class by reading Elizabeth Bishop’s “sonnet” which mystified all of us. I did not help matters by reflecting that it was curious to see how un-iambic she is. Although, I was happy with my new word: un-iambic. In fact, it is possible that I wrote this entire blog post just to write un-iambic in public, although on second thought maybe it should be non-iambic, which seems very different from trochaic. I worry about sounding pompous. But here, perhaps, it is just fine to reflect on old fashioned things like meter, largely because I know my poet friends are out there, reading me — thank goodness.