Tuesday, February 12, 2013


I'm putting the finishing touches at the moment to an essay on William Blake. Four poems about childhood from Songs of Innocence and Experience. It's a topic I'd be happy to write about usually, maybe for a book or a poetry magazine, but because it's for my Romanticism module at the uni the bloody thing is driving me mad.

At the start of the year the lecturer Jon Mackley gave us a list of the tenets of Romanticism. I think there were seven, although there may have been four, or sixteen. I've no idea where the notebook is that I wrote them all down in.

Anyway, ever since that first lecture the idea has been that when we analyse a poem in the class or write an essay we're supposed to identify these tenets of Romanticism in the text we're considering. At first Mackley would even say a chirpy BING! and raise a finger in the air every time we named one. Thankfully, he's cut that out now.

I didn't name any of the Romantic tenets in my last essay. I still got a B+ but he said, "Your writing was excellent. It broke my heart not to give you an A." I can't say it broke my heart, Jon, although it did annoy me. I didn't come to university to learn how to parrot other people's words back at them.

Of course, I didn't really come to uni to learn either. I came to get off the dole and put a bit of money in the bank without working. I was too burned out to work, after the ugliness of my last fight with Cruela and the Forces of Mammon.

Now I'm here again, as I say, sitting in an overheated I.T. room with another Romantic essay that has to be submitted by tomorrow. It's written, but I'm having to bend my fine words into contortions to get these goddamn tenets in (the ones I can remember). And my essay will be uglier for their presence, not their absence.

This is education? Afraid so. Like I wrote somewhere, "Monkey do what monkey see, monkey get a nice degree." Which doesn't suit my curmudgeonly, stick-in-the-mud, anti-authoritarian style one bit.


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