Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Negative Capability and Teaching

My students think they have all the answers. If they don't have the answers, they think they can look them up online and get those answers with 100% accuracy. Their poems have all the answers, too:

1. The couple gets together or they don't.
2. A young person dies and eventually the family moves on.
3. The man in the poem ultimately realizes that he is to blame for all his own misery .

Ah, the speed of our culture! How easy to get to a resolution . . . how readily available our answers, yes?

Well, today I won't be preaching from the pulpit in the Church of Closure. Today, Keats is my pal. . .

I've been reading poems written by my students and many of them veer towards the slamming door. Today we'll be working towards mystery-making. Let's be baffled, unsure, and uncertain today.


In other news, there is no other news. I'm humming . . . listening for the next poem to smack me up-side the head.


C. Dale said...

The notion of mystery was a kind of unofficial theme at the last residency at Warren Wilson. It came up over and over in various lectures.

Oliver de la Paz said...

That's great! I'd love to hear what was said . . . anything to help me help my students understand this idea would be beneficial.

Justin Evans said...

One of the things I remember from Richard Hugo's The Triggering Town, is the notion that if a poem asks a question, it shouldn't answer it.

Justin Evans said...

Sorry Oliver. I thought my post wasn't taking---until Idecided to actually READ that you had enabled moderator approval

Oliver de la Paz said...

np Justin. I had to moderate posts because I was getting weird advertising posts on the blog. That just won't do. Anyway, I use that Hugo essay quite a bit in my classes. Students just seem to be so set on a trajectory these days. Quite odd.