Monday, February 10, 2020

Teaching stories

In my first class, I handed out a quiz about duende, as they'd read Lorca's essay. I'd asked who has the most duende, Mozart or JLo or Philip Glass. The obvious answer is JLo, but one student just went off on how Mozart could have duende, too, which I acknowledged. Then she started talking about how Shakira had much more duende than JLo, and she wouldn't stop. We were all laughing, so I suggested that they should have seen Shakespeare pole dance. (We're doing his sonnets now, a hard sell to young undergrads.) "Shakespeare didn't pole dance!" she exclaimed. Oh yes, he did, I insisted, and then read them Sonnet 135, the one where he obsessively uses the word/name "Will": "Wilt thou, whose will is large and spacious, / Not once vouchsafe to hide my will in thine?" Then, we moved on to Sonnet 73, and I showed them this video that I found last night: Sheer duende! Later in the class, after I'd talked about the speaker has lost his duende because he's grown old, the same student blurted out to me, "You're not dying are you?! I mean, you're still creating, aren't you?"

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