REMAIN CALM It’s Only Paper Writing Time

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I took two years off between undergraduate and graduate school. We don’t write many papers in non-lit courses in the poetry program, and I am not enrolled in any lit classes in this, my first semester in the program. I now have a paper due in roughly 18 hours that I just got a draft done for. I’ve been bad.

It’s funny but I’ve had a very hard time getting up the urgency to really, seriously worry about this until yesterday. My work habits for the rest of my assignments are typically pretty good; working in “the real world” taught me better habits than my undergraduate education ever really did in terms of just shutting up and doing the work. I can’t quite pinpoint the reason for my lack of urgency here as compared to when I freak out about poems, but it’s there and now I’m here freaking out about editing this paper into something that doesn’t embarrass me.

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I didn’t set up the picture above. The picture above is my existence right now. I’m not even sure when those papers got scattered. Life’s a mess.

For all that chaos I actually think there are some good ideas here regarding Wallace Stevens and his development of images to illustrate his anxiety over a First Idea in his earlier work.

One of the reasons I wasn’t worried about this paper is I wrote something very similar in my last semester at Michigan. I reread that paper yesterday and, looking at it now, find my younger readings so wildly shallow I’m almost embarrassed. How did I not see the connection with the plant-life he uses, or the connection with “Nomad Exquisite,” or even “The Poems of Our Climate” which is the name of the book of criticism I’m using for crying out loud (to the sea)? What was I looking at?

I’m reminded of why it’s so fascinating to keep a journal or at least write informal long emails. To retrace your old thinking, which I’ve done a lot of as I’ve done a lot of introspection in my first semester, is so interesting. I’ll probably look at this in a couple of years and wonder what I was thinking yet again.