Monday, April 20, 2009

John Ashbery at William Empson's birthday party; and "Why students don't like poetry"

John Ashbery at William Empson's birthday party (click for video).

Here's an article suggesting that Ashbery's poems are part of the reason Why Students Don't Like Poetry - "Don’t choose poems so difficult and remote from young students, especially the non-humanities majors. They [the poems] may be brilliant and powerful, but if their brilliance and power requires too much guidance and contextualization on the teacher’s part, they won’t work." Uh-oh!


mgushuedc said...

Well, I'm either not impressed with the caliber of his students, or the caliber of his teaching of poetry.

There are lots of reasons why students "don't like" poetry, and one of them is the way it is "taught."

Didn't Kenneth Koch get students to read Ashbery and enjoy it? Enjoyment, what does that have to do with teaching?

equivocal said...

Yeah, but if the poems are insipid, deadly boring, and painfully obvious that won't work either. Mostly, students tend to make a special point of not reading anything that you give them.

Jordan said...

Kenneth Koch did do that. He chose better poems than Bauerlein did, though.