The flowers of H.D.’s HERmione and Gynopod

Mara Scanlon’s “Women in Modernism” (aka as “Gynomod,” or more recently “the womb”) course blog is on fire, and having had first-hand experience of her teaching for all of last semester, it is really no surprise. She is able to bring her energy and passion for poetry—and literature more generally—into every facet of her teaching, and it is brilliantly reflected in the engaged and regularly inspired work of her students for the past three or four years (and while I’m sure that was the case well before that, now we have evidence 🙂 ). It’s an absolute privilege to work with her, and I think she, along with many others at UMW, present the best argument for the importance of focusing a liberal arts education on the art and craft of teaching and learning. She’s a master, and it pains me to say it because she is responsible for all kinds of shots at my ever fragile ego, most recently during the Digital Whitman seminar was the “TBJG,” or spelled out “That Bastard Jim Groom.”

Ok, now that I got that necessary, even if difficult, encomium out of the way, check out some of the work her students are doing in the Women of Modernism course. Sarah Lawless, when talking about H.D.’s autobiographical novel HERmion in this post, uses Flickr to create a gallery of images that feature the various plants that are mentioned in this work, along with the specific quotations from the novel in which they are referenced:

HERmione is extremely dense with botanical references, as you may have noticed, many of which are names of local flowers and trees that you non-gardening people might not recognize. Therefore, I’ve gone to the effort of making a gallery in flickr of some of the plants mentioned. The ways in which these flowers and plants are mentioned is also important to understanding the novel (or getting closer to understanding it?).

Amazing! What an awesome use of images for thinking about the imagistic style of H.D. Brava, lawless, brava (and I really wish I had Sarah’s last name).

But that’s not all that’s happening on the Gynomod, there’s also been a recent development called “Gynopod,” which is something various students have started experimenting with that relates the books they’re reading to the music they listen to—check out the inimitable Sam Protich’s inaugural gynopod that got the ball rolling in which he relates Jens Lekman’s “The Opposite of Hallelujah” to H.D.’s HERmione. And make no mistake about it, there is some serious literary analysis happening through these comparisons, check out the other three Ggynopods that have emerged since here, or subscribe to this sure to be regularly updating phenomenon here.

Yep, UMW Blogs, changing the game is our only name!!!

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2 Responses to The flowers of H.D.’s HERmione and Gynopod

  1. Alan Levine says:

    This is such powerful work, and we know it is just one slice of many fine ones at UMW.

    As I scan “the womb” the sheer volume of writing and creativity is astounding, staggering, which is all so GOOD. I just love the idea of assembling the flowers in a flickr gallery; especially as I wonder why more educators dont use this curatorial feature flickr snuck out last year.

    Keep them blogs a humming!

  2. Mara says:

    Thanks for the shout-out for Sarah, Sam, and the excellent gynomodernists! They amaze me every day. The Womb is a great place to be this semester.

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