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Tag Archives: college

Required reading. It’s a phrase that strikes fear in the hearts of lesser men and women. Despite the delays that my undergraduate career caused for my reading list, I encountered some of my favorite works of literature during those years. I had numerous lists of required material for my classes in college, and I can honestly say that my tastes have changed for the better because of it.

Some of my favorite pieces of required reading from my college courses are listed here.

Beowulf (translated by Seamus Heaney). My medieval literature professor had us read this one. I knew the story prior to taking the course, but I’d never read Heaney’s translation. Heaney maintains the verse form of the original text, but makes the legendary tale accessible to modern readers. Follow the adventures of Beowulf, mighty warrior, as he does battle with monsters and becomes a king. Side note: kennings are awesome.

Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Bechdel’s art recreates memories of her childhood in the family-run funeral home. Along the way, she reflects on her coming out as a lesbian and explores her recently-deceased father’s reasons for hiding his own homosexuality from his family. This graphic novel and its follow-up, Are You My Mother? are fantastic. Solid writing, honest prose, and intricate drawing make Bechdel’s works must-reads. My many thanks to my American Literature professor for introducing me to her writing.

The Giver by Lois Lowry. This was one I’d read a couple of times since first encountering it in audio book format on a family camping trip as a kid. When I learned that it was on the list for a sociology class I was taking, I wanted to thank the professor for picking something that so beautifully described a small, isolated community. Jonas’ selection as his village’s new Receiver of Memory is the first step in his realization that life in his home is not as ideal as he believes.

That’s it for now, folks, but I may make another post or two along these lines. Remember, literacy is our friend, even if it’s forced on us.

Today’s post is a poem I wrote a few years ago, originally for a poetry slam. I consider it the single best piece I wrote during my college career, and so I thought that National Poetry Month was the perfect time to share it with my current audience. This is “Gravity.”

Gravity is a bitch, but I let her have her way with me anyway.

She tries to keep me in bed every morning. I guess she likes

To keep me down, constantly. I’ve known since she first gave me her number

That it would be like this (it’s 6.67×1011, by the way—Somehow I’m

Feeling like she hasn’t been getting those texts I’ve been trying to

Send to her). I think it’s a doomed relationship, but she’ll never let me go.

I don’t even remember how long it’s been since I met her. I think I’ve

Known deep down that we’ll never be apart for long.

I suppose that her embrace is comforting.

Being too far from it can be disorienting. It’s a strange sensation.

Like I’m weightless—nothing without her touch.

It’s been a very strange relationship.

She said that she likes long walks on the beach,

But every time we’ve tried to go,

The tides come in. I don’t know what that’s all about.

She says it’s all relative.

I’m a nerd, and she knows it, but she still stays.

Some part of me hopes that she always will.

I think I’d probably fly off hurtling into space

If she ever left. It would be the breakup felt

By everyone around the world,

Even the people who don’t know me.

They’d all feel it. They’d all know.

What would they do if they found

Out? If they knew that I was the one who’d

Pushed her away? I think that they’d find

Me fairly repulsive. Yet somehow, I doubt

That they’d be in any position to do anything

About it at that point.

So I stay in this loveless relationship,

More out of the convenience of it than

Anything. It’s better for all of us that

Way, isn’t it? I mean, despite my feelings,

The attraction is oddly irresistible.

I’ll always be hers. It’s almost a crushing

Feeling of inevitability. Oh well. I’m stuck with her.

 

Gravity.

 

 

 

That bitch.