Hybrid texts?

Bringing it back around to teaching...  I can appreciate all of what Susan has to say, and also JT's comment about studies relating learning to student-teacher connections.  That's a helpful way to look at it.  It doesn't matter so much what we're teaching or how, in the end, but maybe what matters more is the human connection that emerges (which is to some extent out of our hands?).

Question: does anyone have suggestions for hybrid texts that are appropriate/accessible enough for undergraduates?  I've been teaching Don't Let Me Be Lonely and Incubation: A Space for Monsters, and the students connect to them to varying degrees.  I'd like to add to that list or switch them out-- in an attempt to keep myself from becoming too "settled" in my teaching.  Problem is, I haven't had much time for reading lately.

(Although I did recently read Eileen Myles' Sorry, Tree and Dodie Bellamy's Barf Manifesto and Dorothea Lasky's Poetry Is Not a Project... maybe more on those later, as I'm still processing... and those aren't for teaching as much as for writing (for me, at least)...)

I do think that in teaching hybrid texts to undergrads, I run the risk of simplifying these very complex books.  I think only a small number of students, in the end, "get" the complexity.  The rest probably just discover a different approach to reading and writing.  I wonder if it's enough to be happy with that discovery, for them, or if I'm doing the texts a huge disservice?  I also have to add that this essay by our own L.M. on her own blog has been SUPER helpful in teaching hybrid texts, and it's the only outside source I bring in (it's really just a composition class, by the way-- "Writing About Literature").  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it!


DeWitt said...

When I took Laura's class on hybrid texts, I had never considered the hybrid before. I think poetry has come to mean so many everythings that it's hard sometimes to stop and name these things.

But I don't think the hybrid in itself is complex. To me, I liked hybrid because it works off the principle of surprise.

Poems have changed not just in the language but in the shape, I think, because the shapes of poems can get very boring after awhile.

To me, learning of the hybrid was a new way to consider the old family bible. Where you know what it's going to sound like but then there's grandma's petrified flower in the pages. So opening a book is not just about reading something but re-reading someone.

So maybe that would help your students. Maybe if they re-think the books they're most familiar with, they'll "get" the unfamiliar ones.

Or more people will start putting flowers in books, which would be a better outcome if anything could be.

Ty said...

Check out Araki Yasusada's Doubled Flowering. A supposed "hoax" text, but a beautiful hybrid text none-the-less.

Jean Toomer's Cane is an obvious choice too--classic.

I think you could make a case for Beowulf too, because of the myth within the myth and also because some good Christian hacked out the pagan bits and made Beowulf a Christian soldier (via unwieldy adding in of text), which is wonderfully bizarre and off-putting.

Kristin said...

Ty, we must be forgetting that we were in the same class-- I've considered Cane, and I admit I forgot about Doubled Flowering. Thanks for the suggestions!

In related news, two(!) students in my class wrote a response paper on "Incubation: A Space for Monsters," written by "Leon Works." Wow.

DeWitt said...

The Ancient Use of Stone by DiPalma was good, not too loud, not bland hybrid text.