Category Archives: Working

It is a normal day and I am begging my colleagues to do their jobs

A favor for T: could you get the language evaluation for the Fulbright in sooner, rather than later? Here’s why: there is a possibility B won’t get to his letter. Any encouragement you can offer B, or help editing, would be great but B is going abroad for 10 days on Friday. He has fallen down on letters before and I would say there is about a 50-50 chance of his doing this. I’ve hinted at him as much as I can, and T is at this moment making a final plea.

If B cannot manage to write, T will need to get a new recommender and perhaps a short extension from Fulbright. It will help if the rest of the application is complete. Your language evaluation and B’s letter are all that are missing, and it will look a lot better for T if there is only one piece missing and not two.

T has strong letters from me, S (a prominent professor in another department), and R (the university Fulbright advisor). From Fulbright Country he has beautiful affiliation letters from the President of the Academy of Letters (also a professor at the Catholic University), a full professor in field at the national university, and the director of a poetry foundation who has published extensively and on modern texts. T’s statement of purpose is well done and R thought it was fundable even before meeting T for the Fulbright interview.

It would be such a shame for this application to be incomplete/late because of a missing letter from our department. I’m asking you to get your language evaluation done so the packet is complete minus one, not minus two. As I say, T is making a final plea to B. Then if B disappears there will still be a few days to make an emergency request to someone else and perhaps an emergency request for extension from Fulbright, so that that person has time to write their letter.

Axé.

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Le voyage à Washington

The entire trip will be reimbursed, so I have to keep every record, which I am not used to. And I insured the flight, which I do not usually do, since that will be reimbursed (or should be).

FLIGHT: $361.39
INSURANCE: $21.62

That is so far.

Also, I am recycling something, a photocopy of part of the book reviewed here, Ballón Aguirre’s Vallejo edition in Ayacucho. It was exciting when it came out because it was an alternative, something was happening, things were moving, but the actual book is available in several libraries in my very state now (although not in Maringouin). I am getting rid of a xerox of this book, too, because our library has acquired it! (In its margins I had written: Vallejo as “emo boy,” pimp, and “man-whore” (interested in very young women).

Axé.

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ACLA possibility

Who is speaking? Sense and self in Vallejo

César Vallejo is considered one of the most important Latin American writers of the twentieth century. Yet with the complexity of his texts, his doubled, branching voices, and the controversies over his editions and manuscript traditions, he became both myth and interpretive battleground before most of his work was available to read. Vallejo’s transformation into a cultural artifact began in the 1920s, when critic José Carlos Mariátegui sought a prototypical Peruvianness in his work. The marketing of Vallejo after his death presents a mysterious, but also unchanging figure: the shadowy voice of a body speaking of orphanhood, poverty and the pain of being. The early critics’ attachment to this dark image promoted reductive readings. The postmodernist corrective, to see Vallejo as a writer of fractured subjectivity, has value but more useful are the ideas of cultural layering and a subjectivity that is neither unitary nor “fragmented,” but plural, distributed, mobile. This presentation would consider Vallejo in light of Foucault’s “What is an author?” Angamben’s “The author as gesture,” and some contemporary Vallejo criticism (Clayton, Granados, Hart, González Viaña). Key texts are the prose poem “Las ventanas se han estremecido” [The windows have shuddered, 1924], the novella “Fabla salvaje” [Savage Fable/Wild Speech, 1923], the novel El tungsteno [Tungsten, 1931] and the post-epic poetry of España, aparta de mí este cáliz [Spain, take this cup from me, 1938].

Axé.

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Encore qq. ch. que j’ai dit

Well, I think we should put the research opportunities and the community involvement into the specific plan. They won’t work if added as band-aids / for window-dressing: they have to be real. So, things like writing across the curriculum, research opportunities in every course, hiring a person part of whose job would be community engagement, etc., would actually speak to these problems in a realistic way.

In terms of events, we could already have faculty-student symposia, a Sigma Delta Pi event every month highlighting someone — I wish we would. Specifically, this could be something we could undertake as major committee.

Do you see? These things matter because since this is an official document, we can cite it and use it to justify various improvements. Re grammar, their grammar needs addressing but what they need is to read more. One can have them do exercises all day but without exposure to the language, and ideally educated versions of it to start with (Benjamin did *not* understand why the Spanish he learned in the kitchen of Chuy’s was not enough to qualify him as a professional translator), they won’t have a head for grammar. They also have to produce it, speaking and writing, not just do exercises in it or have it explained to them. In other words, things have to happen in context and there is ample research on this.

So what I mean is, we can use this to create really forward-looking course goals and strategic plan, and NOT as an excuse for dumbing-down (which is surely what some would like to do)?

Axé.

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More anti-Boicean-ness

And I still dislike the Boiceans, and the academic advisers, because they are about conformity.

I think I am onto something with this. Everyone knows how to be “productive” and if they aren’t, it is a question of circumstances or techniques, not discipline or character.

Academic advice isn’t academic advice–it’s an exhortation to conformity and a way of shaming people for originality or creativity.

That means it’s deceptive, coercive, manipulative. Invasive and condescending, while it also appears to hold something of actual value, the true secret, in reserve.

Perhaps it is that impossible academic advice is what is given women and minorities, and collegiality is what is given men.

Axé.

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Internet-free workdays?

I have discovered that I surf the Internet while working, or instead of working, because working means being on the Internet, and I do not want to be. If I surf, I can just read, but if I work I must check boxes, constantly interact with the machine. It seems like an instrument of torture.

I asked myself: what would make it possible for you to get up and work without anxiety? The answer was: if I could deal with books, papers, and live telephone only, except perhaps for a half an hour at the end where I would download articles for the next day. Or perhaps even, five minutes per hour where I looked things up. But I would not deal with course websites or e-workbooks, nor would I read articles on JSTOR and similar services that I had not already downloaded.

I never liked television and all of these screens bother me. The entire enterprise seems like a form of junk food, with similar effects. I may try one of those pieces of Internet-blocking software I have heard of, that still lets you read things like JSTOR.

Axé.

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Things I want and am not buying

New glasses and linens, these are what I want. I shall perhaps buy them in January and June. It is a down comforter I want, and striped towels of Baltic linen. I want at least one, but probably more good lamps, and I want illumination under the kitchen cabinets.

But I spend larger slices of money now, and adjusting for inflation and for professional costs the university used to cover but no longer does, I make less than I used to do. I must have trees pruned, house painted, teeth fixed. But this week, I will fix the cars. I will weed and prune bushes, and spray for insects.

Then I will write my paper and go to Mexico. Next, I will make Christmas plans and  visit New Orleans. Then I will work on trees and paint. I will call about getting a protective finish on the front door. I think you can get glasses at CostCo, and I may do that. I foresee trouble including the death of my roof and my mobile telephone, but in spring and summer I will work on teeth, and I will keep working on the garden.

I don’t think I can go abroad in the summer but I have ways to travel in the United States. This gives me time to do some other things, although not money. But I also want to paint a part of the inside of the house. I want new blinds as well, and a new porch floor, too.

Axé.

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