Sorry @ the Ghost of ED

Found this gem online and because I’m still angry (and will be until the day I die) that my Creative Writing: Poetry class last semester was so dead set on RIPPING apart (I’m not bitter) any piece of writing without a title, I thought I’d share here.

Seems relevant enough.

Sorry @ the ghost of Emily Dickinson–there are no exceptions in poetry apparently

Brainpickings and WW

You will see in your readings this week that I’ve linked you out for one feature on the site brainpickings. I’ve seen a few posts on our friend Whitman there in the last several weeks, and share them here if you are missing the Good Gray Poet.

This one focuses on advice that WW gave to the young about building character and bringing change.

This one focuses on WW’s (odd) morning workout.

Office Hours Week Two

You have a technology assignment at the start of the week to familiarize yourself with our interface in Canvas for office hours, which allows audio, video, or text chat.  Based on polling data, OH for this week will be as follows:

Wednesday, 5/30, 8:00-9:00 p.m.

Friday, 6/1, 4:00-5:00 p.m.

First Wednesday Reminders


Tonight at midnight we have our first deadline and the turn into new material; I know some of you are already ahead of the game. Make sure you’ve done your sign-ups, tours, and intro post as detailed in the module.   After tonight I will assign anyone who hasn’t chosen a Conversation Starter date for themself, and I will post those dates here for easy reference.  If you’ve registered on the blog but haven’t seen me mark that as “complete” on Canvas, it may be that you’ve forgotten your avatar and still have the monster default. I love the monsters, but this is one more way we can personalize our experience in this virtual classroom.

When you begin your VoiceThread commentary on our focal artifacts, make 100% sure you are in the right group. Next week this assignment will move to the Monday-Wednesday frame so you can focus on your short essay Thursday-Sunday.

Also, I encourage everyone to quickly rewatch the syllabus thread at the end of the week.  There are many good questions being asked there, and I’ve been replying to them, so you may have things even further clarified about the course.  You can use the bar along the bottom of the page to jump ahead to new comments; replies show up as a circle rather than a square.

I’m really happy to see free-blogging beginning on the intro posts! Don’t lose track of Jordan’s Conversation Starter, which is a little buried in the intros. She was a champ to go first! Jordan, a kosmos!

Are you falling a little in love with the Good Gray Poet?  I hope his voice gives you shivers when you listen. He’s an incredible spirit and this summer I’m finding his faith in our nation to be an important reminder.

Jordan’s Conversation Starter

Perhaps of the arguments presented in both the excerpts we’ve read from Emerson’s The Poet as well as The American Scholar, the most clear is that we, as consumers of art, argument, life, death, beauty and so many other accessories of existence, are formed from even the most meager  aspects of this consumption. As said in The Poet, “For we are not pans and barrows, nor even porters of the fire and torch-bearers, but children of the fire, made of it…” (1). I’ve found in Whitman’s Song of the Open Road the same call for realization. He writes in section three, “From all that has touch’d you I believe you have imparted to / yourselves, and now would impart the same secretly to me,” (122).

Both Emerson and Whitman call out for the consumer of existence, which is to say those who believe that when we leave ourselves to the cyclical nature of society (to be born, to work, and to die) the world is only available to us as “rude, silent, incomprehensible” (Whitman 125), but when we refuse the mundane, refuse the satisfactory and adequate, when we “Stand there, baulked and dumb, stuttering and stammering…transcending all limit and privacy…” (Emerson 6) we realize our ability to consume.

In The American Scholar, Emerson writes, “Books are written on it by thinkers, not by Man Thinking, by men of talent, that is, who start wrong, who set out from accepted dogmas, not from their own sight of principles” (26). The every man is no different than the writers of philosophy, of science, of law and principle for these men started as every men. The crafters of truth began no different from the current consumers of it (26).

With this in mind, I am brought to the following question: Why was the call for the “soul active” as Emerson puts in The American Scholar one so difficult to answer? Why was the pantheistic idea Emerson asserts in The Poet one so difficult to accept? Was it so radical a notion in the time  that only through the assertion of this-is-and-so-I-am or Song of the Open Road’s “I am fill’d with them, and I will fill them in return” (121) the call be answered?

I am struck by this idea of what it means to be such a consumer of existence. I wonder if the reason Emerson’s call for such a person—such a soul active—went unanswered until Whitman was because a true understanding of what a soul active is, was never fully grasped. I wonder if it is because, much like I have done here, so many of us commit the sin of paraphrase, pretend we know what we are talking about. I wonder if Whitman was able to answer this call because he, unlike so many others, did not attempt to explain, but rather explored. Sought out the answer rather than fostered one. What does it mean to be a consumer of existence? Is it even a question we can answer?