Michael Wood


3 November 2009

In a Villanelle Mood

In a villanelle mood, Colm Tóibín started the following poem. The immediate context was a remark by a colleague that our students (and indeed most of our colleagues) don't seem to get excited about theory the way they used to. The title and first stanza are Colm's, and therefore so are the rhymes. You can tell from the word ‘skid' that I'm running out of options. A Structuralist Lament They don't thrill at the sign as we once did. They see Saussure as one more dead white male Trapped between the ego and the id. The Elementary Structures all are hid, No Lévi-Strauss is heard to tell the tale: They don't thrill at the sign as we once did.