"Poets are made of poems and other literary works from a past that especially engages them and of works by near antecedents and contemporaries that embed themselves in whole or in part in their imaginations."
--Michael Schmidt, Lives of the Poets
This semester I've been teaching Brit Lit. I was excited to do so because I knew this course would give me a chance to supplement my literary background by reading works I either haven't read or haven't read since undergrad. The details of Beowuf, M'orte D'Arthur, and A Modest Proposal had faded from memory. Now their best passages dance nimbly on the tongue's tip.
Yet beyond the texts, outside reading such as Michael Schmidt's Lives of the Poets have given my lectures (and my knowledge) a background that has made literature newer, exciting, and more complex. My interest in writers' biographies continues to evolve. As Schmidt says, "as speakers, each of us is an inadvertent anthologist." Hopefully, I will be able to incorporate my growing interests into more than just my lectures.