In my poetry class last semester, our second unit of study was “The Weird.” Our homework was incredibly vague — write a poem or two that is weird, with only one stipulation: No mythical creatures, supernatural beings or magic. Our weird poems had to be about ordinary things. The goal was not to look at things that are different, but to look at things differently. (I wrote about California rolls.)
Fast forward a couple months into the pandemic: I’m reading Excellent Sheep by former Yale English professor William Deresiewicz, and “The Weird” appears again. In his book, Deresiewicz laments the dearth of “passionate weirdos” on today’s elite college campuses.