I am super excited about my humanities class though, which is International Literature and Culture. I expected to have to read a lot, but even I was shocked by the four pages of listed required readings. The plus side is most of the readings are poems and my professor seems to love what he does. (I was happy to find out our textbook is a poetry book.) We spent the day yesterday talking about privilege and unpacking our own knapsacks by filling out questionnaires. Our professor also criticized the statement "All men are created equal" by pointing out that Thomas Jefferson surely did mean all humans as we like to now think. Seriously, I swooned a little. (I hate to admit that the Tea Party has made me even more critical of our "founding fathers.") Then we went on to talk about the different kinds of literature, how rap music is poetry, and El Aleph. It has been one of the most interesting classes I've had by far.
And I know the class is called "International Literature and Culture," but I was happily surprised to see our professor wasn't joking around. Our reading list is made up of sections from all around the world (Italy, China, Pacific Islands, Hispanoamérica, etc) and women as well. There are also film and restaurant assignments to round out the course. On top of all that, there is a final project that I am already excited for (it has to be some kind of creative piece). And while I realize this is exactly the opposite of what most people want in a class, I think I am going to love it the most.
Anyhoo, I'll leave you with this poem we read in class by Pablo Neruda. (Keep in mind that poetry is meant to be read out loud. It is much better that way.)
The Poet's Obligation
To whoever is not listening to the sea
this Friday morning, to whoever is cooped up
in house or office, factory or woman
or street or mine or harsh prison cell:
to him I come, and, without speaking or looking,
I arrive and open the door of his prison,
and a vibration starts up, vague and insistent,
a great fragment of thunder sets in motion
the rumble of the planet and the foam,
the raucous rivers of the ocean flood,
the star vibrates swiftly in its corona,
and the sea is beating, dying and continuing.
So, drawn on by my destiny,
I ceaselessly must listen to and keep
the sea's lamenting in my awareness,
I must feel the crash of the hard water
and gather it up in a perpetual cup
so that, wherever those in prison may be,
wherever they suffer the autumn's castigation,
I may be there with an errant wave,
I may move, passing through windows,
and hearing me, eyes will glance upward
saying, "How can I reach the sea?"
And I shall broadcast, saying nothing,
the starry echoes of the wave,
a breaking up of foam and of quicksand,
a rustling of salt withdrawing,
the grey cry of sea-birds on the coast.
So, through me, freedom and the sea
will make their answer to the shuttered heart.