or, what I might use to start my next chapter, w/o the blog-specific colloquialisms.
Anyone remember this scene in Dead Poets Society? Robert Sean Leonard et al. have formed a secret poetry club that meets in the middle of the night in a cave in the woods. They paint themselves with mud (or paint?) and sit around a fire declaiming dramatically. They have cast off the jackets and ties of prep school repression, show their skin, mess their hair, and experiment with drums. Soon they are dancing through the woods to a pounding drumbeat, reciting a verse that until a few years ago I wouldn't have been able to identify:
THEN I SAW THE CONGO, CREEPING THROUGH THE BLACK,
CUTTING THROUGH THE FOREST WITH A GOLDEN TRACK.*
The chant starts almost at a whisper, and crescendoes until the boys are screaming into the air and wildly waving.
Those two lines, of course, are from Vachel Lindsay's poem "The Congo," now held up as an example of the white primitivism of the 1920's, when white authors fell in love with Harlem and purportedly African rhythms. The effect the poem has on the Dead Poets Society boys is, however, completely divorced from race on the surface. Nothing else in the movie (that I recall) turns to Africans or African-Americans as representatives of authentic rhythmic feeling, capable of reconnecting soulless prep school boys with their bodies and souls. The mere reference to the Congo (exotic, mysterious, Other) in combination with the poem's admittedly catchy rhythms (I've heard pop songs with exactly the same beat) drives the boys wild.
And I don't think the movie is wrong. Why and how is probably what my chapter will be about, although without prominently featuring Vachel Lindsay.
*You can find the rest of the poem here.