Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Road Retaken

How's this for poetic justice?

When a group of more than two dozen young people broke into a former residence of poet Robert Frost (an old farmhouse in New England which belonged to Middlebury College) for a drinking party and trashed the place, the problem was to find an appropriate "punishment", The Burlington Free Press reports (found via The New York Times).

The Addison County state's attorney decided that instead of a jail term or community service, the offenders should go back to the classroom to study - the poetry of Robert Frost. And what poems more appropriate than The Road Not Taken and Out, Out? And who best to teach them than Jay Parini, a Middlebury College professor and Frost's biographer?

Parini of course underlined the relevance of the words to the offenders' own lives :
Believe me, if you're a teenager, you're always in the damned woods. Literally, you're in the woods -- probably too much you're in the woods. And metaphorically you're in the woods, in your life. Look at you here, in court diversion! If that isn't 'in the woods,' what the hell is 'in the woods'? You're in the woods!


Janet said...

Hardly poetic justice! What kind of punishment is that for a bunch of hooligans anyway! I'd like to break into JM Coetzee's home so HE can 'force' me to attend his classses! ;) Adelaide's not that far away... now to start planning.

Chet said...

It is punishment to them cuz they're not used to sitting in class!

kamal s said...

I would like to break into Toni Morrison's house, so that I can be the first to read her latest, "A Mercy", coming out this November.

As for Frost, maybe "Acquainted with the Night" should be assigned as well. I gave that particular piece to my students, and some of them still have nightmares!

sunt_lacrimae_rerum said...

I was upset when I read that only 11 of them came to Prof. Parini's first lecture. Few than half!

But what do I know? I am old and the nineteenth century seems more vivid to me than the 21st (because of the reading I choose to do).

I'm really enjoying your blog.

bibliobibuli said...

thanks a lot! it's really nice to have a reader from across the world. i was admiring all your knitting! i am a hopeless hopeless knitter. i have some funny stories about my attempts.