Miss Dickinson, no Emily, still makes me nervous

Fandel, John

Miss Dickinson, no Emily, still makes me nervous n those days, jacketed and tied, Let us remembering we stood in the Holy Presence of God, in those days when a part-time assistant adjunct...

...1 can say this, after all: "Emily is the slice of eagle breast between Walt's slabs (hunks),of cornpone, and until the young tyro cats this sandwich & digests it, he cannot be an American poet...
...not so good as Sing Sing's) where we chanted David, more or less on key...
...or read Emily to calm me down...
...His books of poetry include Testament and Body of Earth...
...Damascene...
...I was a tyro, no Tyrone...
...I did not want to admit (too jejeune) she made me nervous: and, besides, that sharp and keen and controversial Major Physicist in row 6 seat 8 next to the window I used to wish he would be evacuated through to Heaven made me even more nervous, challenging every single comma of every single comment until I felt, on Fridays, that, indeed, the proofs of God as myth (-'Without his myths, man is only a cruel animal without a soul...
...Or finally: "Emily makes me nervous...
...And that is important...
...Emily, "Miss Dickinson" to one student the archetypical prototype of Tyrone Power as a young dog waiting at the door of my Tuesday 9:00 A.M...
...Sophomore by Sophomore...
...And skin docs, too: thicker...
...quite just and accurate...
...All great art makes us nervous...
...But that the students made me nervous does not matter...
...Or I could say: "There is only one perfect spondee in American poetry and it is in the poems of Emily...
...I lied, lying to young Tyrone, of course...
...I had just recently been sprung from a monastery' purely & perfectly Benedictine in a Sears Roehuck bldg...
...It seemed no one could be American Critic until one pinched 2 grains of incense at Emily's vestal shrine...
...classroom, to ask if he might sit in on what I had to say about "Miss Dickinson," in those days, he said, 1 had, he heard, "something" to say on Walt not Mr., mind you Whitman...
...and Santayana was my Savior...
...Yvor Winters...
...I said firmly...
...the bottom [the top".'] slab [hunk] just slightly thicker [ 11 after, 6 before] as Math Major Tyrone figured out for Tyrone did come in and stayed three 538: Commonweal days [I was moving on to Longfellow] and got an A in Calculus...
...Or I could say: "Had Emily written but one more poem, she would be our most patriotic poet.'' Or this: "One thing about Emily, she's no poetess...
...En garde...
...Or I could say through an imagined resurrected Emily: "What are you doing rummaging in my bureau drawers...
...I mean...
...She still makes me nervous...
...That's not tin foil, that's steel...
...Miss Dickinson, no Emily, still makes me nervous n those days, jacketed and tied, Let us remembering we stood in the Holy Presence of God, in those days when a part-time assistant adjunct instructor on trial taught, among other American poets in English 110...
...I think Winters got off with 1 or 1/2...
...No, I said, politely, not pointing out the quite-a-difference between Walt and Emily...
...doesn't is important...
...And not either, though probably closer to, the nervousness, that fine delirium of Diana of the Crossways who found it less difficult than to be positively rational...
...And my hair hadn't grown back, yet...
...1 could say a thing or two about tetrameter-trimeter-dimeter-dimity Emily but, to tell the truth...
...Now I will have to write a treatise on nervous, but I would rather watch the rain...
...That's no nail-file, sweetie, that's a rapier...
...lifting arcane declaration from a poet who docs not as 1 live & breathe say in which poem...
...Not the nervousness of "My nerves are bad tonight...
...But that Emily made me nervous Walt did...
...Let me dismiss the kind of nervousness I do not mean, the not knowing what to say: you know, we want to say something but we do not want to say anything...
...and besides further, I did not want young Tyrone to be so subjected, too, to my embarrassment, that he should sec his teacher, admired, made look silly by a mere Sophomore: he was too handsome for that, too handsome-hearted...
...JOHN FANDEL John Fundel, a professor of English at Manhattan College, was Commonweal's poetry editor from 1964 to 1979...
...and the scholarship on FmiJy was ferocious...
...Hair grows...
...6/8 did, indeed, make me nervous, more nervous than Emily did...
...For in fact Walt does sandwich Emily, 1819 11830-1886] 1892...
...No, because I had nothing to say about "Miss Dickinson" (except not to call her Miss Dickinson) to justify his missing Calculus 107, that I would say the obvious, that, indeed, he would be wasting his time, better for him to refine his integrals a Math Major than listen to me talk Dickinson to Physics Majors: in those days we lived categorical academic lives and imperative ones: Instructor: Live Jesus in our Hearts...
...You notice the ploy (if the delayed introduction: I'm still too nervous to talk about Emily...
...Damask...
...Or I could say: "It looks like dimity but it's really damask...
...Students: Forever...

Vol. 114 • September 1987 • No. 16


 
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