Observations and arguments.

Archive for July, 2005

Fucking Nunberg

Ok, so I’m a couple of weeks late on this, but what. the. fuck. was with Nunberg‘s June 21 commentary about the value of memorizing poetry.

Listen if you want to get in a mood to break your radio into tiny shards. I nearly crashed my car.

So fine. The kids aren’t forced to memorize poetry in English class any more. Nunberg acknowledges this is a natural evolution in the curriculum, and accepts that there’s no academic value to recitation per se.

But then he goes and says what a shame it is, because there is beauty and power in memorizing and speaking a poem through one’s self that cannot be replicated by simply reading the words on the page.

Which: you elitist, racist fuck.

Apparently the sounds of the entirety of American popular music have never reached the high parapets of Nunberg’s ivory tower.

Since the introduction of radio (or, ok: the 45 rpm single), it has become nearly impossible to pass through one’s adolescence and teen years without internalizing, and yes, reciting poetry through one’s self.

Here’s an idea: let’s get together all the people everywhere whose emotional lives have been forever changed by reading Byron (dead people included) and see if they can pack the same size stadium as Tori Amos.

Which, I know this is not a popularity contest, but come freaking on.

And today’s kids can spin rhymes “by heart” at Nunberg’s head until he gets dizzy, plenty of them with verse they’ve created themselves.

There’s my next idea. Let Nunberg assemble a team of his contemporaries who did endure recitation curricula, and let me round up a half dozen twelve year olds and: Poetry Slam.

I would so fire his ass.