I'm still here. I decided to give my self a break from exceptionalism, and start a commissioned article on the poetry of Olvido García Valdés, an article I'm writing in Spanish.
Once July 1 comes I will work on Barcelona course for study abroad and return to cultural exceptionalism.
I decided that OGV's poetry exemplifies something highly valued in the humanities: the toleration of a high degree of ambiguity. I say tolerance because this does not come naturally. Students tend to want clear-cut answers to things, while humanities professors tend to emphasize fuzzier ways of thinking. This can be frustrating, because, what does this professor want? Not his answer, but the student's answer. It is difficult because not everything goes: there is a requirement for precision in writing. Yet it is easy to see how the student will just say, if everything is subjective, why is not my answer acceptable? Olvido's poetry is a very precise description of a very ambiguous and difficult to define set of subjective experiences. Of course, how do you know it's precise if you don't know what the original experience is? That's the paradox.
I'm approaching it through prosody, in the first place. The prosody avoids easy rhetorical effects, symmetrical rhythms. Also, there is a heightened attention to the prosody of the world, both the social world and nature. It would be like listening to a conversation in a foreign language in which you can't hear the semantics or syntax, only the pragmatic dimension of the tone of voice, the power relations.