I still can’t quite believe, that twice a week, I get to meet with about 40 students at a local community college to teach a Beatles class. Co-teach actually. With author and good pal, Greg Herriges, a founding member of the 70s band Athanor, who is suddenly garnering attention for reissues and new songs, which is remarkable and beyond exciting. You can find info on Greg and his band/books at Herriges.net.
What reminded me to finally post something about the class was this Chicago Tribune article that ran today: Beatlemania.
The article was also picked up by an international Beatles fan site: Beatlesnews.com. So Paul and Ringo should be reading about us any minute now.
To give you some idea of what we do in class, here’s what we recently covered. We devoted an entire class period, about two and a half hours, to the theme of Place. We first analyzed Wordsworth’s Tintern Abbey poem, his reverential ode to this peaceful locale in nature he once visited five years prior. Then we read Billy Collins’s parody of Tintern; maybe parody is too strong a word, but his take is much lighter, which provided some relief to Wordsworth’s gravely serious tone. Then we discussed Bruce Springsteen’s My City of Ruins, which became an anthem for NY after 9/11. We finished with a lively discussion of Strawberry Fields and Penny Lane. Finally, we had students write their own short poems about the place where they grew up.
Are you jealous? I’m teaching the class and I’m feeling a little of that. Maybe not quite jealousy. But a feeling of contentment washes over me fairly frequently as the music pours out of these concert speakers we have in class. Before I started teaching the class, I worried that this immersion would dull the music in some way. But the contrary has happened. Slowing down to read each line of Eleanor Rigby or Revolution has only infused the songs with a newness that rekindles my fascination with the magic that is the Beatles.
Or you can read the excerpt if you sign up for the Beatles class next term. How lucky am I.