January 16, 2006

The critical mass of information...

A former student of mine has a blog where she occasionally puts things down in free verse (something I needed an explanation of ... clueless me when she was an English grad student, right?). This morning, I responded with a sonnet. Awful, of course, but since her entry was vaguely about the problems of learning too much, I felt the need to point out that part of the role of grad student is to acquire enough information to put scholarly writings into perspective: what's new, what's a real contribution. Okay, with a twist at the end.

Historians claim that Los Alamos
was where the nascent sub-critical mass,
analyzed over poached eggs and dry toast,
was then declared a failure or a pass.
Those one percent, we ex-grad student fools,
know better. Reading we came upon ore,
mind through dross with our self-sharpening tools,
for nuggets of insight. The open doors
to that written, printed uranium
did not carry any red hazard sign,
warning us too much and a cranium
explodes or, worse, learns
. But now it's just fine.
Redrafted dissertations come and go,
deconstructing old Michaelangelo.

Listen to this article
Posted in Random comments on January 16, 2006 8:12 AM |