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Throughout American Academies

One hears throughout American academies a strain
that is at once belligerent, intolerant, and strange.
It drips with antisemitism all across the land.
What new “Mein Kampf” is being written? What new hate is planned?

From Harvard, Stanford, Michigan State University,
to Swarthmore, Tufts, U of Chicago, SUNY, MIT.
Unbated seething, hatred-breathing, rancour tense, high-pitched;
in Yale and Columbia, vituperation’s cinched.

What must the scholarship be like within such institutes?
What demagogues have taken to the streets and Internet?
Are these the early stages of another Holocaust?
At such ex-pensive schools, how can the nation bear the cost?

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Bruce Dale Wise is a poet and former English teacher currently residing in Texas. 


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9 Responses

  1. Stephen Dickey

    With the exception of the particular references to ongoing the pro-Hamas rampages (and they have not come to pass without antecedents), your poem could have been written at any time in the last 20-30 years.
    And it’s not just at the big, elite institutions. I work at “Cow-Flop U” and it’s just as bad here, and just as bad at many smaller places I know of.

    Reply
  2. Cheryl Corey

    Your wordplay on “ex-pensive” is fabulous; and to answer one of the questions that you pose, there’s very little happening in the way of scholarship. There is, however, a plethora of student indoctrination, as well as plagarism being revealed.

    Reply
  3. BDW

    Yes, indeed the ideas in this poem could have been written in PostModernism’s throes, as well as in these NewMillennial times, as Mr. Dickey has pointed out; however, perhaps not in the dodeca format.

    It is interesting, sometimes very much so, to see how writers approach similar events.

    Take, for example, Ms. Corey’s point about “acceptable” protests in “On Student Protests”. As members of the same Zeitgeist, her point about so much that’s missed, was “close” in topic to the protest tennos “In Store for 2024” to Paul A Freeman:

    Another year, another end. Imagine there’s no war
    in the Sudan, Ukraine, Burkina Faso or Myanmar…
    that antisemitism will be exorcised as well,
    and Climate Change—the Cult—will go back in to its grim Hell,
    that thé EV electric-hogs, will leave “green” energy,
    from coal, wind farms, gas, nuclear, and solar paneling.
    [The dirty lies in where pollution’s really coming from,
    child labour mining cobalt, aquafers for lithium…]
    Indeed the water and the air grow strange with all of this.
    Improbable? The answer is a grand resounding Yes.

    Another place one sees an approach to a similar topic, but with far different emphases, can be seen in a recently printed work by Mr. Dickey “Shades of Vesuvius”, which uses a second person point of view, but has a more earthy approach (perhaps because of his Slavic novelist interests), than, say, to a poem of the first decade of the New Millennium, “This Side of Eternity” by Aedile Cwerbus:

    In Seventy-nine, Mount Vesuvius
    erupted, and destroyed Pompeii, keeping
    it ironically impervious
    to nature’s inevitable sweeping
    away of the past. Lava made it last
    far beyond the ravages of savage
    time. Into eternity it was cast,
    and salvaged for use in a later age,
    as a store of knowledge for life back then,
    hardly what its inhabitants wanted,
    though no one has been able to ask them.
    Most had answered by running the gauntlet,
    except for perhaps the elder Pliny,
    who wanting data, didn’t get any.

    Reply
    • Julian D. Woodruff

      To play the gadfly for a moment, Mr. Wise: while current protests here in the USA clearly reflect (and are probably fueled by) anti-Jewish zealotry, in fairness it should be recognized that there are a number of Jews who are also openly expressing strong negative sentiments concerning Israel. There are undoubtedly many gentiles, including some Arabs and Arab-Americans, merely of the same mind about Israel as these Jews.
      Nevertheless, your point about persistent anti-semitism stands.

      Reply
      • BDW

        To answer the gadfly Mr. Woodruff; in fairness, these same protesters, whether “Gentile or Jew”, Arab or Arab-American, who are “expressing strong negative sentiments” concerning Israel and Jews, would undoubtedly despise the work of Chagall, Mendelssohn, Mahler, Primo Levi, Jacobi, Cantor, von Neumann, Einstein, etc.—in addition to thousands of years of poetry and prose, from before the time of David to the many figures of PostModernism and the NewMillennium. One of the many disturbing sights seen at one of these colleges simply stated “Kill Them All.”

  4. Roy Eugene Peterson

    Great poem fitting for the times! As those of us who once were inspired by great institutions of higher learning, I can only say how the mighty have failed and fallen. Some of the greatest universities need to revet their faculties and have monitors sit in on their classes to provide balance to education and unseat the intolerant and unobjective.

    Reply
    • BDW

      Despite Mr. Peterson’s suggested solution, it is doubtful these poison ivies, nightshade institutes, and stinging nettle universities will revet their faculties—rather American purchasers of education need to be more discerning than they have been in the past, and avoid those baneful places—like the plague.

      Reply
  5. David Whippman

    BDW, thanks to you – and others at SCP – for calling out the bigotry and hatred among the antizionists.

    Reply
    • BDW

      In response to Mr. Whippman’s comment: To be anti-Zionist, or anti-Jewish, seems utterly absurd to me. I don’t even think I could fathom this World without understanding the outstanding contribution of so many Jews. Take just one small field, for example, mathematics, in the last century-and-a-half. What would the world of mathematics look like without the contributions of Jacobi, Sylvester, Kronecker, Cantor, Hadamard, Minkowski, Hausdorff, Noether, von Neumann, Volterra, Wiener, Zariski, Post, Tarski, Erdös, Gelfond, Weil, Grothendieck, and so many others? That World would be so barren, so empty, and so insignificant.

      As to the poem itself, “Throughout American Academies”, this dodeca, twelve lines of iambic heptameter, is one of the many new short forms of poetry I am interested in creating. Part of the reason for this type of poem (the tennos, the bilding [sic], my American sonnet, etc.) is because the World is just so enormous, and its ever expanding topics are so numerous, I cannot allot a lot more than I do per topic. Though I can write about the smallest and most insignificant topics, for my sanity I must limit how much I write per topic. So, for example, though I have written about many of the above figures, as I go through this World, I have not gone into much depth at all on any one of them, though each is very vivid in my mind; and a poem could arise at any moment on any one of them.

      The structure of this dodeca is fairly straightforward. In the first quatrain, although I like the first couplet, I cannot tell precisely from whom those lines are drawn, nor the next couplet either. [If I investigated, probably I could—but I don’t want to.] In the second quatrain I wanted a brief catalogue to lay across those lines. The final quatrain is a series of questions. I suppose the tone throughout in attitude, catalog and questioning is Miltonic, Whitmanic, and Audenesque; but other than a few more poetic elements, the poem does not further go.

      Reply

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