Because it is past time I moved out and into a cell of my own, I found myself doing a little research on what careers are available for a graduate degree in English. Usually one would consider their job prospects before doing a program but I did the program for the fun of it. Hence the reward is the act in of itself. But I started to wonder, knowing what I know now, will I make the same choice if I could go back in time? At first I thought, yes I will. Then I thought about it a little more and the answer is heck yes I will! Graduate school is one of the best things I have invested money and time into and I have learned more than I could have imagined. It was never my plan to get a master's degree in literature. I flirted, briefly, with the idea in college and gave it up owing to my feelings on research papers: not fun. Even when I got accepted into the program and through the fog of surprise I could feel my ego swimming in pride, I still hesitated because research papers are not my strength. And yet the eleven or so classes I have taken over the past three years have not only introduced me to some great minds and interesting new ways of looking at literary works but have also taught me some priceless life lessons. Perhaps I will not find a good job after graduate school but that is not the point. That has never been the point. The point has always been to broaden my mind. And one would say what is the point of broadening one's mind only to starve? And my answer is that there are different kinds of starvation and physical starvation is often the least of one's worries. The sort one ought to concern oneself about is the starvation that afflicts the mind. This sort of deprivation is quite. It can harm one for years without one being conscious of it. It has a way of driving away happiness or distorting it to be that which is habitual or familiar. A starved intellect is stunted in its ability to observe itself and the world it inhabits, for it works mechanically in a hamster wheel of its own making. Graduate school is not for everyone and I wouldn't advice one to go for it if it is not one's thing, but learning is necessary for a fulfilling life. And since every day proves itself to be a new lesson, it is hard to believe that there is such a thing as too much learning.
Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop
by William Butler Yeats
I met the Bishop on the road
And much said he and I.
`Those breasts are flat and fallen now
Those veins must soon be dry;
Live in a heavenly mansion,
Not in some foul sty.'
`Fair and foul are near of kin,
And fair needs foul,' I cried.
'My friends are gone, but that's a truth
Nor grave nor bed denied,
Learned in bodily lowliness
And in the heart's pride.
`A woman can be proud and stiff
When on love intent;
But Love has pitched his mansion in
The place of excrement;
For nothing can be sole or whole
That has not been rent.'
William Butler Yeats’ "Crazy Jane Talks With the Bishop" is one of my favorite poems. The humor and wit in the exchange between the speakers are excellent and give one much to chew on. The interest of this analysis is to try and decipher whether Jane is indeed crazy or mistakenly identified as such. The title tells us what is happening in the rest of the poem: a woman, ref…
Staying the night at Wang Changling's retreat*
by Chang Jian
The clear stream is immeasurably deep;
Where you live as a hermit there is only a lonely cloud.
At the edge of the pines a sliver of moon is showing,
Its limpid light still shinning there for you.
Shadows of flowers sleep under your thatched roof;
Moss grows in veins over your peony courtyard.
I'm going to take my leave of the world, like you,
And join the phoenixes and cranes in the western hills.
* Three Hundred Tang poems. Translated by Peter Harris. Everyman's Library Pocket Poets
Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!
There has been a little conversation between myself and Edna St. Vincent Millay’s speaker in “Second Fig” for months now. Sometimes I would forget to think or talk to her for days or even weeks, then run into her riding the shades of a slow afternoon or merging with the shadows of an eerie night. Most recently, though, I have been finding her lisping within conversations shared with others and reading her on pages here and there. The thing is, often, in polite society, we speak only of our minor headaches in such ways that arouse neither genuine pity nor concern for our wellbeing but shine a dim light on our shared struggles in the search of infinite satiation. And this is why the lines of “Second Fig” are irritating––they are shamelessly honest. They can even be called coarse in that they seem to mock and brag simultaneously without apology. T…