Sunday, October 12, 2008

explicate and extrapolate

Last week I was at the library with a serious mission: to gather material for our homework in Lit 41 (Traditions of Poetry), and the homework was to find a poem, from antiquity to 19th century, and analyze/dissect/explicate it.

Although there is plenty of raw material on line, I opted to use good old books as reference. The major reason being that there were so many distractions on the web last week, particularly the spoof and non-spoof youtube videos of the comedy/horror/hopefully-not-tragic-drama going on someplace very important.

Considering that it was the finals week, the library was full of students. I thought everybody would be dead serious about studying but obviously my thoughts were wrong as the library was humming not only with the huge air conditioners but also with the buzz of conversations going on all over the room. I had half a mind to berate the teenagers beside me who were talking animatedly on a subject matter that was definitely not their subjects. I wanted to tell them, hey, why don't you talk about that there in the SU Ballfield, right outside the window, see? And then I looked around and realized I would have to tell the rest of the students there on the second floor of the main lib as most of them were engaged in discussions, too.

Grossly outnumbered, I refocused my energies on reading the book I had at hand, the title of which I wrote somewhere but can't quite find just now. There, near the end of the book, was this article by Theodore Spencer entitled "How to criticize a poem" which I thought was just the help that I needed for my homework. I gave one last withering look to my seatmates, but my laser gaze went unnoticed as they were deeply engrossed in the trials and travails of somebody's lovelife.

Spencer's article begins with this line: I am going explicate this poem:

Thirty days hath September,
April, June, and November;
Thirty-one the others date,
Excepting February, twenty-eight;
But in leap year we assign
February, twenty-nine.

And then Spencer proceeds to discuss in a very scholarly manner, using all the elements of poetry and explication guidelines, in a windingly elaborate and lengthy explanation, the simple lines of this ancient rhyme! It was a very funny parody, a classic example of deliberate overreading of the text. I really felt like laughing out loud but held myself as I was in the library, right? I looked around and decided, what the heck.


bricalz said...

Haha, parodies all around.

Just LOL, the kids couldn't hold a candle to you. Haha

Vk-mahalkaayo said...

Have a nice Monday.........