Poetry, Politics, and Edumacation

The basics of Edumacation:
  • Being able to spell words accurately enough for search engines to provide you with the proper spelling.
  • Being able to ignore long speeches, essays and lectures while appearing engaged.
  • Being able to bullshit through speeches, essays, lectures, and other such nonsense with out adequate preparation.
  • The ability to present your self as an authority on subjects in which you have little knowledge.

"Calculating the worth of poets and other professors":
First, let me tell you about the least cost-effective professor I know. He's a poet. He's not a wannabe, but the genuine article, an extremely prolific writer and the winner of many awards. In an endowed university position he makes what most people would consider a lot of money, although nothing approaching the salary of a doctor, lawyer or football player.
But he teaches relatively few students. A typical load might be two courses per semester with small classes, perhaps as few as 10 students or up to 25. Sometimes he teaches a "lighter" load, and occasionally he takes a sabbatical.
If he lived in Texas, he's just the sort of professor who might find himself in the crosshairs of a plan that aims to hold college and university professors to better account -- to calculate more accurately their bottom-line contribution to their institutions' financial health.

Knoxville News Sentinel Letters: "‘Prolific’ no measure to pay poets, professors":
via http://scottpaeth.typepad.com/
Crisp is right about one thing. Things like poetry (which he argues that the government should fund) are difficult to monetize and evaluate according to any measurement of contribution. That’s why their creators shouldn’t be publicly compensated. Many hard working individuals are struggling to provide for themselves and their families. Why should they suffer while poets produce “non-monetized” assets on the taxpayer’s dime?

Crisp forgets who pays his salary. It is the taxpayer, not an infinitely vast pot of gold. In Texas, the people have decided that their tax dollars are better spent on defense, roads, and police departments than on “prolific” award-winning writers. We must exercise caution whenever the government hands out a paycheck. Because this sort of salary isn’t a market commodity, its value is nearly indeterminable. Government funded professors should be compensated according to standards of productivity as concrete and measurable as possible. History’s greatest minds have created art, literature, political treatises, philosophical works and more, motivated by fame and love of knowledge, not a state or federal payroll.

"How we can pay the poets":
If this newspaper thing hadn't worked out, my backup plan was selling poetry door to door.


Ashland Daily Tidings: "Poetry and Politics":
Just turn on cable TV news for one minute. If you don't hear someone complaining about politics, you're either deaf or you have incredible peacemaking powers and should run for office yourself.

Other exhibits are all around. But, here and there, you can also see exhibitions of promise for the future of poetry and the future of politics.

Ashland High School students are writing poems.

Southern Oregon University students are registering voters.

And, no matter how much Washington forgets about America or how many Americans forget about Whitman, we can be happy here. We can continue to try to live sustainably, supporting the environment and the artists in it — even if it seems like the rest of the country is slipping toward madness.


"On In(form)ality: Creative Writing Pedagogy in the Youtube Generation":
It could be that there exists in my youtubed and validation-hungry generation an unprecedentedly weighted dependency, when it comes to our identification as readers and writers, on the affirmation that others have felt the way we have -- prohibitively anxious, like we're nuts, too wounded to go on, plagued by a fairly regular and colossal loss of perspective, etc -- which naturally leads to a question of how that might shape both the (im)maturity of our writing and that of our reading: our goals in both mightn't be loftier than to get reassurance either that we are not insane or that insanity is part of being a good artist. I wonder whether the solace we seek in literature has been somewhat defined and/or substantially changed from that of previous generations by the emergence of a specific culture, one wherein twelve-year-olds with social network profiles have public images that they manage and maintain, not to mention a culturally encouraged acute awareness the concept of "self" in general. I wonder whether the literature we create is influenced by that change, if there has indeed been a shift.