Monday, January 24, 2005

Bits and Pieces

Bookstores doomed due to cyberglobalism. The book was supposed to be doomed because of the computer too, but that has yet to happen. No bookstores to browse in? I doubt it. Philip Pullman gets cranky about grammar. I must say I agree with him. When I was in grad school in California I tutored English as a Second Language kids on writing and then later taught a class of Freshmen Composition for four semesters. The theory at the time was work on the proccess of writing and don't worry about the grammar. It was the ideas that were important. We were to ask the students questions like "what are you trying to say here?" Or make comments like "this is a really great idea, can you expand on it?" We were supposed to be guides and sounding boards, not harpies with red markers. After the ideas had all been worked out and developed, then, and only then, were we to bring them around to grammar. It was hard work for teachers and tutors--lots of work one-on-one with students during office hours and lots of time spent going over draft after draft of an essay. But I think in the end the students learned more and they learned better. At least I hope they did. The Academy of American Poets has been posting a new essay every day by one of 31 "young Amercian poets." I've read a few of them and they are short but quite good. Shakespeare may have been poisoned by treatment he received for syphilis. During Will's time the treatment involved the use of mercury. (link via Good Reports)