Wednesday, March 2, 2011

"No More Room for English Professors" by Catherine Rankovic

Catherine Rankovic was one of three featured readers at Duff's on February 28.

The next reading at Duff's, 392 North Euclid, will be Monday, March 14. Featured readers will be Kristina Marie Darling, •chance operations• co-founder Chris Parr, and Buzz Spector. Musical guest will be Learn, Artist!; doors open at 7:30 p.m. Advance sign-up for the open-mic following the featured readers is encouraged. Cover charge is $3.00.

No More Room for English Professors

The world has no more room for English professors.
I saw the last of them: Men of little flesh, they faded like pages
and at last became paper,
and one or two were painted in oils
and hung among their books.
Those who taught the use of The Readers Guide to Periodical Literature,
who taught The Canterbury Tales using thirty-year-old notes,
and sent students to read manuscripts on microfiche,
and took sabbaticals,
who mumbled, “Be that as it may...” and “so to speak,”
who sobered up on Antabuse or electroshock,
men wearing cordovan wing-tips,
or socks and sandals, with tenure, I saw the very last one
from a mullioned window: with a mustache now gray,
crossing the campus, as dashing as a minnow,
while forty-five part-time instructors,
barbarians in lumberjack shirts,
replace his books and journals
with materials easier to throw away.
The world has no more room for English professors,
their offices divided, remodeled, their departments
now run by Visigoths and flashy scholars.
I witnessed their filing away
underground, in reverse alphabetical order.

--Catherine Rankovic

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