Thursday, July 09, 2015
CHINA 2015 - Part 2
My students in Wuhan were graduates in English at the School of Foreign Languages. Several of them had been in last year's seminar (Modern and Contemporary American Poetry), and we were joined by a few enthusiastic auditors.There was no telling who might pop in. One morning on my way to class I was stopped in the hallway by an undergraduate French and Japanese student who remembered seeing me last summer. Turned out her English was every bit as good as her other languages, and after several minutes of practicing on me she invited herself to the seminar. Many of the students have English names they use in class (much as we all took Spanish names for Spanish class when I was 14); this young lady introduced herself as "Icicle." She seemed surprised when I asked if she was cold. Turns out the name had something to do with a Disney character she liked.
My grad students gave wonderful seminar presentations, even on the short notice our tight schedule gave them. They would come up to me during breaks and after class to ask followup questions about poems we were discussing in class, Robert Hayden's "Soledad," for instance. And out interactions extended well beyond the classroom, as the grad students were also my guides around town and my hosts for meals in the neighborhood.