by Sylvia Plath
I have done it again.
One year in every ten
I manage it
"Is this the poem that inspired Britney's Oops I did it again?"
Just imagine for a moment, in a classroom full of young women just a year or two removed from their high school prom, this balding man nearing his 40th birthday uttering what could be perceived as a creepy tribute to Britney Spears when in fact, he should be pretending to have never heard of her, not to mention her hits.
Thankfully, the instructor of the Creative Writing class did not solicit reaction from the class after the passionate reading of Lady Lazarus by Sylvia Plath before moving onto Oranges by Gary Soto, and my mouth remained shut while I found myself squirming in my seat.
I don't read poetry.
I don't write poetry.
I don't listen to poetry.
I don't recite poetry
I don't think about poetry.
I don't appreciate poetry.
Oops, did I just write a poem?
Well, let me back up a little here.
Growing up in Korea, I deeply loved literature especially poetry. As a child, I gobbled up every book I could put my hands on, and accumulated for myself a hefty collection of poems by famous Korean poets.
All that changed when we moved to the United States. With just three years to prepare for college, my literary appreciation took a back seat to a full blown crash course in English characterized by rote and dry learning techniques. The college years in the wilderness of barrenness which saw my nose buried in engineering and hardcore science textbooks were the final blow to my love for literature.
First impressions count, not just when it comes to people, but words as well. That most English words were introduced to me as dry scientific technical terms still poses a serious roadblock to literary appreciation. I think in order to be appreciative of literature, you need to feel the language, which is not an easy thing to do for non-native speakers.
Some words cannot be fully translated into another language because of built-in cultural nuances and feelings. I cannot possibly translate, for example, the word "salacious" to a Korean word without compromising certain feelings it evokes. Frequently I say, "I want to hear all the salacious details" of new powerful software development paradigms at high tech conventions. That is how much I love that word.
So I am dropping the Creative Writing course :-(