Author Archives: Peter Schmidt

Henry Louis Gates, Jr., on the values of literature

Amen, brother! Read this talk of his. I’m also struck by the contrast between this essay in the NYTimes Book Review (Oct. 31) and Marjorie Perloff’s depressing and deluded essay in a recent issues of the LA Review of Books … Continue reading

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Donald Rumsfeld Tries to Enter Into Heaven

(as retold later by the Devil) … into the known       unknown or maybe it’s       an unknown  unknown       Donald comes to the Gates       unrepentant. A large book       swings open hard to see       the pages but it seems       they hold long lists … Continue reading

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16 postcard-length meditations on the Game of Thrones ending

Does this really need a spoiler alert?  OK, spoiler alert.  Don’t have a meltdown. Dany touching the Throne of Swords in the snow in 8.6 completes one of the dream-visions she had in the House of the Undead in the … Continue reading

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download Ecotone and/or Spleen (my 2 new poetry chapbooks)

Ecotone // 14 poems by Peter Schmidt, about wandering through the natural world … A downloadable pdf, from Pixel Press / Swarthmore You may also download SPLEEN (political poems protesting + reimagining the fate of society and nature). =====For either or … Continue reading

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Cultural biases built into Gmail and FB autocorrect spelling

Two examples: 1. No matter how many times I type a student’s name, Shaoni, in Gmail, Gmail’s autocorrect always wants to convert that to “Shane.” Ditto for Facebook. Shaoni is a South Asian name. Shane is a name popular with … Continue reading

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On Contradictions in Nathaniel Rich’s “Losing Earth: The Decade We Almost Stopped Climate Change.”

Nathaniel Rich’s issue-long essay in this week’s New York Times Magazine receives a title worthy of a play: “Losing Earth: The decade we almost stopped climate change. A tragedy in two acts.” It’s definitely worth an hour or two of … Continue reading

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Garbage In / Garbage Out: Why is Facebook Using Its Powerful Resources To Help Teachers Teach Bad Common Core Standards In AP English Classes?

Facebook on its Summit Learning Resources Site for K-12 English & Language Arts teachers is now promoting ready-made lesson plans for teaching Common Core standards. Sounds good, right? But many of the lesson plans are screwed up because so many … Continue reading

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On Canons and “Headcanons” in Cultural Studies

Yes, “headcanons” (one word) is a term. Has been for awhile. Interesting conundrum: while the idea of an agreed-upon “canon” has been treated with increasing skepticism in literary studies (though not by all parties), the concept thrives in popular culture, … Continue reading

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Why Judith Butler is Overrated

One of many reasons why Judith Butler is grossly overrated: Here’s a passage from her new book Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly, followed by 2 brief comments of mine, one a translation of Butler-ese into regular English. Overall, … Continue reading

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On Colson Whitehead’s new novel, _The Underground Railroad_

Three chapters of Colson Whitehead’s new novel, The Underground Railroad, were published as a special print supplement to last Sunday’s New York Times (Aug. 7). What’s so extraordinary about the novel’s vision is not that he makes the “underground railroad” … Continue reading

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