English Literature students in England will be allowed to opt out of poetry in this year’s exams, on account of “difficulties for students in trying to get to grips with complex literary texts remotely.”
To Dr. Boli, this seems like a drastic step. But there is good news. If one can “opt out,” then one can also stay in. For his young English readers who do not wish to have their future careers hampered by a lack of poetic education, Dr. Boli presents this
FOR GETTING TO GRIPS WITH COMPLEX LITERARY TEXTS IN THE HOME ENVIRONMENT.
1. Hold the complex literary text in front of you with the front cover facing up. Note that there will be one side of the text on which the edges of the pages are not visible. That is called the spine, and if you are reading a text in English, it should be to your left.
2. Open the complex literary text by grasping the cover on the right-hand edge and moving it in an arc until it lies opposite its original position on the other side of the spine.
3. Repeat this process with the first few pages, ignoring the page with the title and author’s name in big type, until you come to a page with lots of words on it.
4. There are likely to be anywhere from a few to several dozen pages headed “preface” or “introduction.” In the complex-literary-text business, these are known as the “rubbish.” Keep turning past them, and you will arrive at the complex literary text.
5. Read the complex literary text.
6. Enjoy the bracing sensation of storms of electrical impulses raging across your neural network.
7. IMPORTANT: If the storms of electrical impulses become too violent for your personal comfort, a nice cup of tea will help.