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reading tiger

Speaking of "A Queer History of the United States"

Once upon a time I was an English major at a state university, and that state university required students to take a survey Intro to Fiction/Drama/Poetry sequence. Graduate students taught these courses, of course. For Intro to Poetry, I got some prig who'd gone to Adrian or Albion or one of those hyper-religious colleges for his undergraduate work. He kept the Christian thing to a dull roar -- but he was unable to do so for the homophobia. Or the distaste for free verse. I had this class first thing in the morning three times a week. I had a stronger constitution then.

His homophobia and distaste for free verse combined into, unsurprisingly, a virulent dislike of Whitman. So virulent, in fact, that he cut him out of the curriculum entirely. Honest. He made some sort of statement about how American poetry of the 19th century had two major figures but he despised one of them so he wasn't going to assign any of it for reading.

Instead, he assigned us double doses of the other one: Emily Dickinson.

I'm going to have to presume a heaping helping of denial (plus the always-lovely attitude that girl-homos don't count) assisted him in this particular mental gymnastic routine.

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