[Milton-L] Paradise Lost reading

Greg Lowe irnbrigade at hotmail.com
Thu Mar 22 11:34:06 EDT 2007


I would like to chime in on Jameela's account of her experience with the 
marathon reading.

Following the lead of Tim Strzechowski and his students at Argo Community 
High School in Summit, Illinois, we started holding a marathon reading here 
at Collins Hill High School in suburban Atlanta three years ago (we had our 
third one a couple of weeks ago). We begin reading at 9:00 and finish around 
8:00 that evening. Readers make requests if they have particular passages 
they wish to read, but otherwise we take volunteers as we begin each book 
and assign "chunks" of the poem ("chunk" seems such a clumsy word for pieces 
of PL). We all enjoy hearing the better readers but the competency of each 
reader does improve as the day wears on. Some readings might bring a wince 
but still it is Milton and we are witnessing someone trying to deal with him 
and no doubt gaining from the experience.

This year we had 25 total participants (including 6 who traveled all of the 
way from "The Verse" to "solitary way" during the eleven hours). 
Participation is not required though some faculty members do offer some 
"extra-credit" inducement (we bow to living in a very capitalistic culture 
and nowhere is more capitalistic than the 'burbs).

We leave the experience mentally exhausted but with a true sense of 
accomplishment. I approached the first year apprehensively, not really 
knowing what to expect, trying to make sure that I had made adequate 
preparations; it worked out fine that year and has each year since.

And so as Jameela so eloquently states "just do it."

Greg Lowe
Collins Hill High School
Suwanee, Georgia

>From: Jameela Lares <Jameela.Lares at usm.edu>
>Reply-To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>To: John Milton Discussion List <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
>Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Paradise Lost reading
>Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 20:33:54 -0500
>
>I've read everyone else's contributions, but though I've done None of the 
>Above,
>rather having everyone just gather at 9:00 a.m. and simply read 20-30 lines 
>each
>in a circle, it still works.  I have one rule:  keep reading.  In my 
>experience,
>if everyone has Milton open, it doesn't much matter if one stumbles over 
>those
>long lists of proper names, and Milton seems in fact to teach people to 
>read
>him.  I've had second language users, dyslexics, and eye surgery patients
>reading him, and their performance improves dramatically over 12 hours.  I
>think that preparation matters far less than we might think, because Milton 
>is
>THAT GOOD.  I've even had folks drop by for a quick visit who never left.
>Perhaps my best memory is of my less-than-academic neighbor, who thought 
>she'd
>come for an hour with two even less-than-academic friends, who found 
>themselves
>staying for the whole book because they couldn't bear to--as it were--stop
>watching the movie.  In fact, at the end of each book, they would look at 
>each
>other and say--as if in a movie soundtrack--da-da-da-DAH!
>
>So, if all else fails, just do it.
>
>Cheers,
>
>Jameela
>
>--
>Jameela Lares, Ph.D.
>Director of Graduate Studies
>Department of English
>The University of Southern Mississippi
>118 College Drive, #5037
>Hattiesburg, MS  39406-0001
>601 266-6214 ofc
>601 266-5757 fax
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