Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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Some good advice for the first day of school….

Michael Leddy has some great words of wisdom today for students about how to read:

My advice: slow down. Here’s what the poet Ezra Pound says about reading literature: “no reader ever read anything the first time he saw it.” Or consider this exchange between Oprah Winfrey and the novelist Toni Morrison: “Do people tell you they have to keep going over the words sometimes?” “That, my dear, is called reading.”

[. . .] Taking the time to slow down — marking a passage, pondering a detail, looking up a word, writing down a question, changing your mind, looking at the page in a way that allows you to begin to notice what’s there — might change, for keeps, your idea of what it means to read literature. Slowing down will also help you begin to understand how it is that some people seem to see so much in what they’re reading. They know that reading well sometimes means taking your time.

I say much the same thing on the first day of class every year, but I don’t think one can reiterate this enough. I love the quote from Pound, and I think I’ll be using that one for years to come.

(Here’s something interesting, too: when I looked at this article on, a google ad appeared saying “Take an English class: Learn about English and literature at the University of Vermont.” The link took me here to Continuing Ed’s list of fall English courses.)