When students analyze your poem . . .

So I went to Union College to give a reading last night. First of all, props to Professor Channette Romero for bringing me down. Channette, if you're reading, your students are fantastic and I had a great time.

Now, as far as the heading for this entry . . . her students used my book as one of their required books for the course. In fact, some students wrote papers on my book.

The sensation was flat-out bizarre. So then, when I sat down and started conversing with the students the following conversations started taking place:

/Hyperbole mode on

Student 1: So, can you tell me about your obsession with religious symbolism and religious terminology?

Me: Uhhhhh . . .

Student 1: Because, it seems that your defrocked Catholic thematic concerns are pervasive throughout this text. Care to comment?

Me: Uhhhhh . . .

Student 2: Yes, I noticed this too. Tell me about the halo symbols throughout? Are they really halos?

Me: Yes. I don't know. . . yes?

Student 3: And in another passage, your character, Fidelito, miraculously ascends . . . heavenward? How can that be because there's no direct mention of god in any of the pages.

Me: There's not?

Students 1-4: No.

Student 4: You also have your character return two poems later, after his ascencion. Is he a Christ symbol?

Me: Yes?

Student 4: Hmmmm. . . That's what I thought. But that's weird, because most of the religious gestures that your character makes are very . . . tribal? Is that correct? Maybe superstitious without the idea of a church organization would be a better way of putting it.

Student 2: Yes, because your character worships things like the wind and the rain, you know?

Me: Ok.

/Hyperbole mode off

Ok, in all seriousness, it was flattering and alarming to have had my work read so closely. I tell you, I discovered a lot about my poetic obsessions sitting in that class.

Oliver de la Paz