Although I never did quote Wordsworth’s “emotion recollected in tranquility” line, we did spend a fair bit of today’s class talking about the tendency to articulate moments of sublimity and emotional intensity in poetry, that form of language most separated from first instinct and requiring the most detachment to compose, whether orally or in letters. The class did quite well, thinking hard about practices of poetry and why people might write poetry both for public functions and for private reflection. With what little class remained we talked about Psalm 90 and Milton’s “When I Consider How My Light Is Spent,” a pair of downers right before we get into revision groups.
Tomorrow I start the grueling process of meeting with every student to discuss papers. I don’t see how some of my colleagues do this one-on-one for the whole lot of ’em–my meetings with three or four at a time wear me out.
Then, on February 19, we start our dual discussions of King David and King Arthur. I’ve never done both narratives at once, and I think it could yield some really good discussions.