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Cahiers de Corey [US]:
Jordan confirms my intuition that the only way to teach someone how to feel is by modeling affect. That's the brilliant basis of his Million Poems Show: the host sits onstage with the poet, listening and reacting and giving the audience permission to share the many facets of his enjoyment. He proposes that teachers can do the same thing, that teachers are like actors and performers. But there's a difference: while talk show hosts generally play the role of your appealingly goofy uncle or aunt, dismissable at a touch of the remote, teachers are in loco parentis, authority figures that students naturally want to please, defy, or elude. All three of these desires (each of which can easily occupy a single student simultaneously) inhibit the experience of the freedom or enlargement of perceptions that ought to be generated by the encounter with a poem. Or if they don't inhibit the experience of the poem they color it, sometimes indelibly. This is why I wonder if a teacher can ever do more than provide an opportunity for the expression of what's already in the student...
Bemsha Swing:
Surely nobody needs to be taught how to feel? The point is that students approach literature as any other academic subject, and are judged by their intellectual responses, their knowledge of the field, their interpretations, their mastery of critical language--everything except their emotional response. It's as though the reason for reading poetry in the first place were removed from serious discussion, made virtually unmentionable. Then we can complain that the students don't get it at a fundamental level, that they are not feeling literature as they should.
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