Sunday, September 22, 2013

student adventure

fall sky
[I wasn't supposed to be in this, obviously, but for some reason it's my favorite one of the batch - go figure!]

So I am completely loving being a student again! One of the biggest things is that I love the structure it's helping provide for me. There's rarely a question of what I should be doing these days. If I'm not working or taking care of us and our home, I should probably be reading or writing, or maybe making something although not a lot of time for that. But I did find one more little corner of time for more learning this past week. A friend had recommended a Coursera class on Modern Poetry and even though I knew time would be tight this fall I still signed up - it just seemed too irresistible. The first week came and went and I didn't even log into the class, but then this past week when doing my morning Nordic Tracking I ran out of Eckart Tolle videos to watch in my monthly subscription and I remembered ModPo (as it is affectionately called). So I pulled up the class on my phone, started watching the intro video, and I'm hooked. Every morning I get to immerse myself in wonderful videos of classroom discussions of close readings of poems, starting with Dickinson and Whitman. Yum yum!!! The setting reminds me so much of the seminar room in the English house at Trinity - taking me back to an ideal version of what education can be. So the last piece of the education puzzle is now in place. I have my amazing depth psychology/creativity curriculum with some incredible poetry thrown in, a vibrant online cohort that I'm really clicking with, and now a window into a classroom filled with a super engaged professor and his teaching assistants. As Joe Z. put it: "I'm in hog heaven!"

I'm reading the July issue of The Sun these days and am blown away back the late Jack Gilbert's poetry. Thought I'd share part of his "A Brief For The Defense" here. Enjoy!

Sorrow everywhere. Slaughter everywhere. If babies
are not starving someplace, they are starving
somewhere else. With flies in their nostrils.
But we enjoy our lives because that's what God wants.
Otherwise the mornings before summer dawn would not
be made so fine. The Bengal tiger would not
be fashioned so miraculously well. The poor women
at the fountain are laughing together between
the suffering they have known and the awfulness
in their future, smiling and laughing while somebody
in the village is very sick. There is laughter
every day in the terrible streets of Calcutta,
and the women laugh in the cages of Bombay.
If we deny our happiness, resist our satisfaction,
we lessen the importance of their deprivation.
We must risk delight. We can do without pleasure,
but not delight. Not enjoyment. We must have
the stubbornness to accept our gladness in the ruthless
furnace of this world.