On the Ten Twenty Thirty

The F. Scott Fitzgerald story “Head and Shoulders” features this unfamiliar phrase, spoken by a young actress who, through an unimportant plot contrivance, invades the study of a bookish progeny: “I knew a girl,” said Marcia reminiscently, “who went on the ten-twenty-thirty when she was sixteen. She was so stuck on herself that she could never say ‘sixteen’ without putting the ‘only’ before it.” I had to Google this phrase…

Poetry, the First Milk

Tomorrow I will be teaching some Harlem Renaissance poets in my American Literature class, so this reflection on the function of poetry is welcome and timely. Poems are first and foremost to be experienced—sensually, imaginatively. Of course, learning more about form and structure, the words and historical contexts of a poem may make that experience richer. But explanation of a poem can never replace a poem itself, least of all…