Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Whenever I'm teaching too much, which is most of the time, I find it really difficult to maintain the level of energy and focus required to follow comment streams, blog posts, and emails. I want participate and have some kind of conversation that isn't with my (generally great) students, but it feels too much like work, and I get overwhelmed by the details--sometimes posting a comment feels about as exciting as commenting on (for the bazillionth time) a student response to "The Yellow Wallpaper." I love "The Yellow Wallpaper," but if I had any control over the content of the courses I teach, I'd take it off the reading list so that I can enjoy it again.

There's a new issue of Galatea Resurrects out. I'm always impressed by the quantity and variety of the reviews in each issue, and it's one of the first places I look when I'm trying to find a review by a book I've not yet read or an author who is new to me. But looking at the table of contents makes me feel like I have vertigo. It's frustrating.

This tiredness also changes how I experience new work: I'm unlikely to really enjoy or be able to give full attention to anything I read, and I've never really mastered the art of being able to read without full attention.

7 comments:

shanna said...

I have been feeling much the same way lately. (Hey look! I commented! ;))

K. Lorraine Graham said...

It's helpful to know that I'm not the only one experiencing boring general malaise. I always feel like a jerk complaining about work because even I know that it's much better than it might be.

I'm pretty sure there is no solution to this problem--one just has to accept the fact that sometimes you'll be too tired to do anything other than work. After thinking about this long enough, I'll get really really mad, and that anger will give me some energy...

rodney k said...

Hi Lorraine,

I've been thinking along these lines, too. For me, it's been more a form of wondering how the sheer quantity of blogs, and the speed-reading (and writing) they encourage, extend the day job rhythm you describe into private life. I like Galatea Resurrects, and Ron's big link pulls, but there's too much of both I think, all pulled together too fast, to encourage much quality thinking or responding.

Since I've lost the wind on my own blog lately, I was looking back at some old posts and came across one on "Numbers Trouble." That seems a decade ago in blog time, but I was shocked to see it was only Feb.'08. For those of us who ride the blogs regular, since then there's been a large roundtable on the Gurlesque, Orono, Flarf vs. Conceptual Poetry, announcements for the launch of precisely 234.6 books and chapbooks I'd like to read, and Heath Ledger as the Joker.

I keep imagining there's some place I'm not privy to where people keep in touch with poetry in some other way, discuss poems in paper journals that appeared more than a year ago, savor and carefully respond to something as serious as Numbers Trouble. Or that the future we'll sort it out: some scholar will write on the "Numbers Trouble" debate deep in the next century and it will all shine with its proper significance. But in my neck of the woods, everything's feeling a little these days like noise. Corporate fighting-for-mindshare day-job-like noise.

I'm with in in thinking there's no no easy solution to this problem, until something in our neoliberal work life changes. That won't happen I think until they (we?) stop spinning downturns, in every sense of the word, as disasters.

K. Lorraine Graham said...

Hi Rodney,

Thanks for your comment--there's much to respond to, but I'm here on my teaching break, so only have a few moments. Still, I was thinking of the following:

Mark and I often joke about how it's impossible to have less or even do less. Whatever you do or have, no matter how little it is, is always more than what it was before...

Nada said...

I'd love to join this conversation but I'm too exhausted :-)

mark wallace said...

Hey Rodney:

In a few years, it won't seem to you anymore like it's all moving too fast. Instead it'll seem like it's all moving in circles. That is, moving fast, but not going anywhere. Welcome to Poetics and the Eternal Return.

You heard it here first.

DUSIE said...

okay and i was just thinking, wow, lorraine always has these amazing coversations I want to take part of, but feeling lame and exhausted and unable to keep up of late! like yr recent musings tho, I do! and looking forward to seeing you &mark here next year! xS