Just came back from my first class of really teaching Song of Myself. Such an amazing poem. It allows portals into something very beautiful and much bigger for everyone. Some resist, but I think they can come around and see it, too, once their objections are calmly and logically responded to. I had to cast aside the lectern and sit on top of the desk and walk around and write the big words on the chalkboard all around the room:
Eternity. Hope. God. Vision. Duality. Sex. America. Death. Transcendence.
Everyone wrote a response to a line or verse from an assigned page while we listened to Revelator and April the 14th Part 1, by Gillian. Last class's dissenters seemed to be much more engrossed this time. Give a student some authority and he or she will bloom into the poem's slanted light.
My biggest challenge is sometimes when to stop lecturing my opinions and reading and how to help them unplug their dammed up resources. I want to guide them down to the water but let them do all the deep drinking. Also, tempting side topics come up, especially pop culture references. I find them somewhat useful, but when they get me into my Emperor Palpatine impression, I've got to find a quick way back to what is holy in the literature before the class gets lost to simple fun. Also, maintaining a degree of respect and minding my tongue when The Davinci Code and Angesl & Demons came up was difficult but I did it. Amazing those books ever became so successful.
Walking out into a spring day, discussing Eternity and Walt's presence under out bootsoles with newcomers is invigorating and cool and fresh.
Shantih Shantih Shantih