Sunday, November 23, 2008

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Despite a recent resolution to be a trifle more regular about maintaining the blog, I've been swamped, & it's fallen a bit by the wayside. Lordy, I've been busy. The recruitment thing, for one thing, has been a massive time-eater. So many lovely people to choose from, & so well-published, to be applying for an entry-level assistant professor position. I'm just glad I'm not fresh out of grad school myself; I'd be eaten alive, the way things are these days.
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Next month of course is the MLA  – the monster that ate my holidays, & that'll ruin a perfectly good trip to San Francisco. I'll leave it to the newspapers to make fun of the more recondite paper & panel titles – hey, I want to hear about Jane Austen and masturbating girls! – but I'm always amused by leafing thru the monstrously large program, looking for things that I won't get to see because I'm in a hotel room interviewing nervous young people. I don't mind reconditeness, or bad puns, or even the ubiquitous colonified things ("The X of Y: Adjective Z in the early A of B"), but what really breaks my heart is my colleagues' lame-ass attempts at hipness, usually signaled by punning on some pop song in their paper titles: "What's Habermas Got To Do With It?" or "Watching the (Scottish) Detectives" (the latter about Scottish detective fiction, of course, the former about – oh, I can't be bothered to look it up). Friends, "Watching the Detectives" is now thirty-one years old, and "What's Love Got To Do With It" was a hit in nineteen-eighty-four, a few years before most of our undergrads were born. These are golden oldies, not markers of your with-it-ness. Like, get out the study and buy some records (sorry, I mean download some records).
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Thinking about gardening these days, having finally picked the splinters out of my hand from ridding a planting of unwanted ferns. What's your favorite garden poems? Yes, Marvell – but other than Marvell?

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

full moon
in her garden
peeing

tyrone said...

Re strained "hipness" of MLA wanna-bees...You are on target. That's why I gave up on referring to "hip" rappers/punk rockers/etc. to illustrate some arcane philosophical-literary theoretical "point"...My most memorable come-uppance occurred when a recalcitrant baseball hat-wearing slacker in the back pointed out--muttered (almost) under his breath--"Eminem was ten years ago." I don't think the tag was "asshole' but it might as well have been...

tyrone

Don Share said...

Old-timey as they are, I like Vita Sackville-West’s The Land, and The Garden, sometimes published together. Ground too frozen here to garden, sadly! Have fun in S.F. in spite of it all...

E. M. Selinger said...

Hi, Mark! No garden poems come to mind--at least, none that you don't know as well as I do (Shrubs, etc.).

I know what you mean about those young'ns, though. My department has a couple of junior folk up for tenure this year, and they just floor me. A thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, and the modern languages, a certain something in their air and manner of walking, the tone of their voice, their address and expressions, AND they've devoted themselves to the improvement of their minds by extensive reading.

Altogether too accomplished, but what can you do?

Anonymous said...

2.5 million new jobs coming next year... rebuilding our infrastructures..

those kids with their new Lib Arts degrees and invented credentials and self-published drivel can surely get jobs operating back-hoes, or connecting sewer pipes or screeding newly poured cement/concrete...

plenty of jobs for the "educated" with useable skills..

benk said...

Unwanted ferns? Now, how can that be...?

Brian said...

Assuming Amy and I are there (as interviewees, obviously), maybe we can get together and we'll show you around some of our old haunts. We might even be able to wrangle a brewery tour--never can tell.

Ayse Papatya Bucak said...

What are these things called records that you speak of?

Mark Scroggins said...

Hey anonymous! -- that you, Ed? -- go be nasty somewhere else. Or get a job with Sean Hannity.

Benk -- you'd be surprised how ferns can take over a planting down here in So. Florida; but we've got plenty where we want 'em.

Brian -- lovely offer; I suspect it'll be all sleeping & interviewing for me in SF, tho maybe I'll make the offsite poetry-thon.

Papatya -- you're not that damned young, either! And I do seem to recall that it's called a "record" whether its mode of reproduction is vinyl, compact disk, or digital, right? But I really meant to say, "go out and buy some LPs, guys -- or some shellack 78s..."

E. M. Selinger said...

No little notes for me, Mark? Sniff! Ain't I no hollaback girl?

bill sherman said...

Allen Fisher's "gardener" poems in GRAVITY AS A CONSEQUENCE OF SHAPE. Bill Griffiths' vegetable garden poems. Iain Sinclair tending public gardens in LUD HEAT.

Steven Fama said...

It's probably more accurately classified as an "orchard" instead of a "garden" poem,

but Montale's "The Lemon Trees" comes to mind . . . .