What has Nicky been up to lately?
This is an update in March of 2022, back in classrooms and very grateful for that. I'm exhausted: this is my eighth term in a row teaching, seven of them dealing with Covid-19. But my current classes are a joy: Engl 234, the large quantitative poetics class, and Engl 320, which is focused on students publishing an anthology of English poetry from the long eighteenth century. Students are also stressed and tried, and I'm continuing to offer my classes an optional five minutes of mindfulness once a week. We're doing the best we can and learning a lot.
I have my one-in-nine semester off in Summer 2022--I get a vacation every three years, along with my professional development time. Then I have a study leave from Sept. 2022 to August 2023: I'll be teaching again in Fall 2023. While on study leave, I'm reading huge piles of literature for young readers by BIPOC, queer, and differently-abled writers, in order to get my syllabus for Engl 387 Children's Literature down to zero percent straight able-bodied white male writers.
I'd like to share a poem I wrote for my Q course the other day, when we were talking about sonnets.
In my Grade Two class we sing songs about
Birch-bark canoes and rocky shores. We pitch
Our wigwams on a ledge, and we don’t doubt
Our right to sing, nostalgically, that which
It is not ours to have. I say to her
Who was my self, that many years she'll roam,
But stay at last in lands that never were
The settlers’ to begin with. In this poem
I tell her of the ways that she’s done harm,
Hit out, and caused much pain not knowing it.
This poem is a sonnet, not an arm
With which I might now beat that white man’s shit
Into the people here before us. No
Canoes, no quiet lake and praising nature. No.