Much Madness is divinest Sense —
To a discerning Eye —
Much Sense — the starkest Madness —
’Tis the Majority
In this, as All, prevail —
Assent — and you are sane —
Demur — you’re straightway dangerous —
And handled with a Chain —
Why did I pick this poem? There’s a rather convoluted story here.
- I wanted a short poem that I could easily fit into the schedule. We’re getting close to exam week, and we don’t have a ton of time to work with a highly complex poem.
- I wanted something by a woman poet. Right now my “scorecard” on women vs. men is 12 men to 6 women, and I’m not too happy about that. I can do better.
- I wanted something that I could use as a critical lens.
It’s the last one that’s the crazy one. I’m working up a new approach to teaching the “critical lens essay,” and I need a lens. My original plan was to have students outline an essay using the poem of the week and one other text. But then it occured to me that I culd simplify things by finding a poem I could use as the critical lens.
So then I went looking for a poem I could excerpt for a critical lens quote. And I found this one while flipping through my copy of Women’s Work. Incidentally, I was feeding the twins at the same time. Call me a modern father.
I promise that at some point I will write a piece explaining the whole “Poem of the Week” concept. For now, feel free to take a look at my class wiki, where I briefly explain the poem of the week and list the poems of the week I’ve chosen so far.