from the diary: “Saturday 2/28/87
“I realized what animal Don Emblen reminds me of – a Galapagos Tortoise.”
3/1: “I typed up three poems for First Leaves [the campus literary annual] an’ sealed ‘em up in an envelope. Actually I typed up five but then I reread the submission guidelines Don E. had handed out. It said ‘three literary works.’ So I’m sticking with the three I’ve handed in, the ones he’s handed back with ‘try First Leaves’ on them.”
3/3: “Don gave the class copies of [‘a poem about a dead pet … by … a fellow faculty member’].” In critiquing the poem I wrote all over it – maybe I even rewrote it, as that’s one of the ways I figure out what a poem is doing. Said Don, “’Steve will be surprised and delighted to receive your critique. I wasn’t surprised but I was delighted by the depth and length of your critique.’”
3/11: “Creative Writing today was intensely boring.” It was probably a workshop day; that is, the poems of classmembers are handed around and you’re supposed to say intelligent things about the poems, especially suggesting improvement. This is a common form of creative writing pedagogy. It don’t do much f’r me.
One of Don’s assignments was a “word study.” I chose to research my name. It’s very English, first middle last. Ingersoll, for instance, comes from a place in Derby’s called “Inker’s Wall” (more recently I’ve read it’s “Inker’s Hill”). Didn’t find an explanation of who/what “Inker” was. I also did some work trying to figure out the origin of the queer construction “ough” which appears in so many words and has so many pronunciations. It goes way back.