Thursday, February 6, 2014

Tyson's Journal 3

1). The story about Hugo's hitch hiking ordeal was entertaining.  It is telling about how sometimes politeness and a smile will get some further than they should.  In this case it was the British colonel getting classified information out of Hugo.  Maybe the colonel didn't have this as a goal but simply doing Hugo a favor resulted in a reciprocation probably exceeding what the colonel ever hoped for.  This story shows how easily classified information can be spread and is surprising that such an intelligent person would be foolish enough to have "loose lips".

These stories serve Hugo to show the reader that experiences big or small can lead to many different poetic works.  These works may still be "not good enough" but regardless can be worth the journey to become a better poet.  Poetry is about personal experience and I don't know why but I feel it is only right that the teacher of "openness and honesty" be open and honest in his own experience.

3).  I think Hugo touched upon honesty, obsession, vulnerability and humor all together in the chapter about defending creative writing classes.  The locale being academia, his position is honesty about needing to defend the classes, by default admitting they are vulnerable (as well as the students under the teachers he describes), and using occasional humor to do so.  I think the following quote sums up the terms nicely, with a strong bit of irony as well...

"I started teaching at the age of forty. In the fourteen years I've been at it I've talked to many students and faculty, and I've reluctantly come to a  few conclusions.  It hurts to state why I believe students are turning away from literature courses because even at fifty-four maturity is not my strong point, and polemic (strong written/verbal attack) tends to make me either nervous or bored and withdrawn.  I do not like a fight and I hope what I say doesn't start one."

This personal honesty by Hugo is refreshing and makes him seem more open and down to Earth.  Something readers like myself can find relatable.


  1. Tyson, thanks for getting us rolling! What's so interesting about Hugo's honesty in the book is that it comes at a price. He admits for years he was trying to imitate the stars in the movies or even his teachers like Roethke who really put on a show. And it seems like for Hugo, it was therapy that let him see that. Just the fact that he admits he's been in therapy is refreshing. I guess that's called integrity when you can be honest even when it costs you some possible risk or embarrassment. Good stuff!

  2. Tyson, I totally agree with you. I love how open and honest Hugo was about his own experiences writing and in his own life. It made him feel very down to earth like I was having coffee with an old friend discussing some tips on how to better write poetry. I thoroughly enjoyed that aspect of this book. What I also think was so nice was that he just laid everything out for us to take it or leave it. He wasn't forceful about his ideas.

  3. I agree as well. Honesty from people is becoming a rare thing. And I'm sure bringing up some memories may have brought up some unpleasantness from his past. That's pretty brave of him to do that. And it may be part of the healing process. Let the honest live and continue to share their stories.


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