Some final musings…

I have to be honest. I didn’t really know what I was signing up for when I registered for this class. I needed a Senior Seminar and I saw Dr. Scanlon was teaching one, so I signed up for it. I didn’t bother to Google what a Long Poem was. After all, it seemed a little bit intuitive (I have since realized that this is certainly not the case).

I truthfully have not had a whole lot of exposure to poetry, especially long poetry, before this class. I’m pretty sure I read parts of the Iliad and Paradise Lost in high school, but usually I never read a long poem in its entirety. I have learned to appreciate the genre, its richness, and all the lessons it has to offer us, not only as readers and English majors, but also as people.

Here are just a few of the many lessons I walk away with after this class:

#1. Never ever assume that a work of literature belongs to one genre, one literary period, one style, and so on. We need to strive to set aside the absolutes and cannot be reductive in our study of literature, or the study of anything for that matter.

#2. When time permits, read things twice. I think this is especially the case with poetry. Maybe it doesn’t have to be the entire long poem, but re-reading sections, and re-reading them in a way that is different from the way we read it before, can offer us something new to take away each time we read.

#3. Language is powerful. This semester we focused a great deal on the role of the poet and how they chose to represent a particular time or group of people. The idea of revision and rewriting also surfaced frequently. Every time we sit down to write, we have the power and ability to represent the world through our eyes.

I could go on, but I might be writing forever. The bottom line is I got a lot out of this class. I especially loved our class time and the discussions that we had there. Our class was quite the mix of people and personalities, but I think that’s what made many of our conversations so quirky and interesting.

Thanks for a great semester guys :)! In closing, here’s a favorite quote of mine and more inspiration from our main man, Walt: “Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.”

One Response to “Some final musings…”

  1. malimcm says:

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I had read some long poems before this class, but I had never explored them as their own genre or category.

    With poetry, I’ve always been taught that you need to pay particular importance to your word choice because you have to be more succinct while also leaving an air of mystery in an artistic way… definitely not an easy feat! What’s amazing about these long poems is that the authors kept it up through these long, beautiful works of verse. There is so much to discover and learn about each of the pieces we have read. I’m sure that if we pull these works out again in a year, we’ll see so many new elements.