Lit Week 1: Intro to Thoreau

I gave students an assignment: read Thoreau’s essay “Reading” and make notations about passages that have special meaning. For instance, why does Thoreau refer to some readers as cormorants and ostriches?

Lit Week 1: Why Read?

Through various readings, I find out how familiar students are with Western literature. One poem about the Congo River by Vachel Lindsay, an American, intrigues them. They ask if it is really a “rap” song…

The Journey Began

Reality Laid Somewhere Between Daydreams and Nightmares I got out of bed at dawn Wednesday.  It had been restless night spent thinking about all the clever things I would say to make students wonder if I was some reincarnated Confucius in disguise. I had spent the last few days losing track of time in a(…)

Object of Curiosity

As I walk the streets outside the university, cars blow horns and a busload of people compete for the best positions to see the Westerner. Who is he? Where is he going?

Matt Muller — Smethport’s China Connection

Smethport resident Matt Muller is off to teach English at a university in Hunan province in south central China. The province is famous for its spicy cuisine and the birthplace of Chinese Communist revolutionary Mao Zedong. The major city there is Chenzhou, home to about 4.5 million people, most of whom live in the surrounding(…)