Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Story

Have you ever read 1300 AP exams in one week all analyzing the same poem? I have!

I was able to attend the AP Literature grading session from June 10th-18th in Louisville, KY. 'Twas exhausting, but there were some good papers, hilarious misreadings, and GREAT friends to make it more enjoyable.

Here's some of the fun things we did:

The first few days were consumed with catching up and going to CVS, when we weren't grading like crazy. My friend, Leslie, and I have only seen each other 3 times (once in Calgary in 2007 for a conference, once in 2008 for a short visit, and this week in Louisville), but we have SO MUCH fun together.

Here's how Leslie and I caught up: the Rivue bar, view of the Ohio River,
delicious Malbec for me, delightful Riesling for her. :)

A gang of U of I folks at a Brewing Company restaurant.
They were fun! But be prepared to bring your own receipt.

Leslie got flowers from her sweet boyfriend.
He had them delivered to the hotel on our first day of grading! :)

Inside the Cathedral of the Assumption, where we went to church on Sunday evening.
The church was built in the 1830s and recently re-done. It was gorgeous! And a rewarding, thoughtful mass!

As the week progressed, we felt a little better about the job we were doing and even had time to explore Louisville for a couple of hours before we collapsed into bed. FYI: Reading exams for 8 hours can make your eyes eyeballs are only now grudgingly forgiving me. So here's some of our weird fun, mainly focused on statues and fountains near the Galt House, our hotel and conference center.

We love crazy statue pictures. Here's one with Leslie!

Galt House, Cathy, and a Statue!

Playing at a fountain.

Watch out, Leslie!

I got a bit wet in the fountain, but I had fun!

On Thursday night (when we were ALMOST done...we could taste the end!), Leslie and I went to a fancy-schmancy dinner. We have a tradition of a nice dinner out and were pleased to continue this tradition at the Rivue Restaurant, a great place on the 25th floor of the Galt House. I recommend it!

The revolving part of the Rivue restaurant;
we didn't get to eat there but it was pretty neat to watch it revolving.

My dinner! Potato and leek soup and scallops. YUM!

Leslie and I split a bottle of Gewurtztraminer. Yum, yum!

Our waiter took this pic. He took several tries to get this pic; the other tries were, according to him,
more "like we were on a Carnival Cruise ship" than in his fancy restaurant.
He was an AMAZING waiter! Our streak of fancy restaurants + delightful waiters continues!

We finished grading on Friday! YAY! Leslie and I had become friends with Heidi, a teacher from Memphis. The three of us decided to celebrate the end of our first AP grading session with a steamboat ride. Since Hanover (my undergrad college) was right up the river from Louisville, I was convinced that we'd see it from the boat. I was wrong, and rivers really are long. BUT, we had fun. We went on the Spirit of Jefferson; it's sister-boat, the Belle of Louisville, I remember from Hanover. It was a stormy evening, but we were lucky and it didn't rain very much. It was a beautiful experience, and I was glad to share it with my friends!

A view of our steamboat!

Spirit of Jefferson!

Heidi...on a BOAT!

Leslie...on a BOAT!

Cathy...on a BOAT!

My friends on the steam boat....we weren't fazed by the looming storm clouds in the back.

Pretty little sunset on the Ohio River

Hello, Indiana!

Skyline of Louisville

Here's the poem analyzed by the AP students:

A Story

Sad is the man who is asked for a story
and can't come up with one.

His five-year-old son waits in his lap.
Not the same story, Baba. A new one.
The man rubs his chin, scratches his ear.

In a room full of books in a world
of stories, he can recall
not one, and soon, he thinks, the boy
will give up on his father.

Already the man lives far ahead, he sees
the day this boy will go. Don't go!
Hear the alligator story! The angel story once more!
You love the spider story. You laugh at the spider.
Let me tell it!

But the boy is packing his shirts,
he is looking for his keys. Are you a god,
the man screams, that I sit mute before you?
Am I a god that I should never disappoint?

But the boy is here. Please, Baba, a story?
It is an emotional rather than logical equation,
an earthly rather than heavenly one,
which posits that a boy's supplications
and a father's love add up to silence.

-- Li-Young Lee, ©1990. Reproduced from The City in Which I Love You, with kind permission of BOA Editions, Ltd.

Believe me, I have seen EVERY POSSIBLE thing to say about this poem. Wish I could tell you some of the gems I read, but I have to "keep to the code" and not divulge information. I can guarantee that multiple students thought the father's name was Sad, that no-mom in the story seems to mean the dad is divorced, and that 3rd-person limited pov has been incorrectly diagnosed as 1st person, 2nd person, omnipotent, omniscient, ominous, and many more! :)

I hope to go back next year!