The Hobby Horse I Ride (Billy Collins, too!)

Elizabeth Gauffreau

When I was in graduate school, there were two types of people in the English Department: Lit People and Writing People. The Lit People breathed the rarefied air of theory, while the Writing People were pretty much viewed as the idiot savants of the department:

Awww, isn’t that sweet. You wrote a lit-tle po-em. Bless your heart. Now, step aside while I tell you what it REALLY means and why, in point of fact, you felt compelled to write it. No, better yet, I shall deconstruct it into meaninglessness. And if that is not enough to send you sniveling back to your misbegotten scribblings, I shall prove that your poem does not even EXIST until I read it!

All right, I may be exaggerating just a wee bit.

However, I do believe that poetry is meant to be experienced, not used as an exercise in sociocultural and phenomenological theorizing.  Interpretation…

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