Thursday, July 21, 2011

English Major Geek-Out

Many years ago, someone gifted me with a CD titled English Majors, which is a collection of skits/songs/stories to tickle the fancy of the literate heart.

I put it in once, wasn't quite in the mood, and it's been sitting on my shelf ever since.  On a whim, I put it in today and discovered a true gem: a track titled "Red Rose Rose."  But it is not merely a recitation of Burns' delightful verses, it is actually a mash-up of (parts of)Song of Solomon; My Love is Like a Red, Red Rose (Burns); Daffodils (Herrick); The Passionate Shepherd to His Love (Marlowe); A Drinking Song (Yeats); Time (Herrick); and (I think) Ode (Wordsworth)

It's beautifully performed by Keillor and Guy's All Star Shoe Band (are they part of the Prairie Home Companion?  I don't know) to a traditional Danish tune (no, really, it's beautiful.  Think not of clogs).  I loved hearing these pieces fold into each other so sweetly and thoughtfully.  Keillor isn't a great vocalist, but the sweet instrumentation and melody make up for it.  It's quite lovely.  And what potential for conversation about the universality of themes and motifs!

One point we discussed in my Comp class last semester was about getting readers to think of writers in conversation with one another.  I think this could be a fun (and unusual) example of just that!  Though poets may not be in actual conversation with one another like writers of scientific discourse might be, poets write to have conversation with humanity.  There's bound to be similarities in ideas, be they physical, mental, or spiritual.  Couldn't this be a fun project?  Students could do something similar to Keillor's "Red, Red Rose" and "mash-up" poems they've studied (oh, maybe bring in some Glee mash-ups!) which they think have similar themes or ideology.  They could put it to music or not, but definitely get them to talk about what their mash-up says or if the blending of poems & verses might bring new meaning to the texts.... the more I think about this, the more I love it!

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