Yesterday, before meeting with my 101 college comp class, I reviewed an interview in which a colleague had asked if I bring into my classes things I think they should have already been taught. I said, yes, cinema literacy and poetry are two things students need to know before college. This semester I was able to accommodate bringing in cinema literacy because Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis was one of the selections I could assign.
|In Persepolis, Marji drifts numbed by the losses of Uncle Anoosh and God.|
I don't see poems in the textbooks assigned for college composition. But if analogy is a move of figurative language, then I see poetry often in the rhetoric manuals. It is of course for his sin of distrusting The Poets that Plato will be best remembered for his allegory of the cave.
The problem is not that there is no poetry in college composition. The problem is that many if not most students can't see it.
So after checking the interview for accuracy and sending it back to my colleague, I was standing in front of a class analyzing an introductory paragraph that compared itself to meeting someone: "we feel the pressure of wanting to make a good first impression on our readers, just as we feel feel the pressure of wanting to 'impress' our classmates or co-workers the first time we meet them" (Gorup 198). I came back to the word as and dwelled on the power of comparison. One student briefly looked up from her cellphone.
I shifted gears and diagrammed the author's funnel on the board as an example of how to write an introductory paragraph, but my dry-erase picture couldn't raise all the heads. It went downhill from there. As was beyond the class' collective grasp. I was destined to read a large number of regurgitated summaries, analogy free for at least one more week. I said silent prayer for God to send one analogy after the next deadline.
My subversive consciousness whispered, "Bring in Sohrab Sepheri or Rumi next week, get them whirling like dervishes."
Probably, I won't. The majority of faculty are non-tenured for good reason. Poetry is not on the syllabus even if it is a rhetorical device politicians campaign on: the assonance in "great again." Let that be another class, later.
So I tried to focus on identifying the elements that made the thesis in the textbook complex, while my subversive consciousness whispered the late Richard Wilbur to me, thoroughly distracting me in front of the whiteboard: "Odd that a thing is most itself when likened." Standing there with the dry-erase marker poised over the whiteboard, I probably looked just like a college professor.
Group, Natalie. "How I Write an Introduction," Carol Lea Clark, Praxis. Southlake: Fountainhead, 2016. Print.