“Information is endlessly available to us; where will we find wisdom?” – Harold Bloom
Poets to come
POETS to come! orators, singers, musicians to come!
Not to-day is to justify me and answer what I am for,
But you, a new brood, native, athletic, continental, greater than
Arouse! for you must justify me.
I myself but write one or two indicative words for the future,
I but advance a moment only to wheel and hurry back in the darkness.
I am a man who, sauntering along without fully stopping, turns a
casual look upon you and then averts his face,
Leaving it to you to prove and define it,
Expecting the main things from you.
The TAG English department seeks to develop autonomous readers who, by studying significant works and the structures of English, become thinkers and writers able to represent complex ideas through careful substantiation—but for what reason?
The seat of our discipline is simple: the conveyance of wisdom. When we encourage interaction with good and great works, our students have the opportunity to engage the authors and to gain wisdom that good and great writers provide. Consequently, our students begin a personal sorting of what is good and true within the expanse of written ideas, taking steps toward intellectual autonomy. Harold Bloom wrote: “Ultimately we read—as Bacon, Johnson and Emerson agree—in order to strengthen the self, and to learn its authentic interests.”
Dr. Donald Cowan, a founder of the Dallas Institute of the Humanities and Culture, in an essay from Unbinding Prometheus, suggests that:
…[a] proper education must be thought out on its own terms with its territory clearly in view—society as it will be twenty to forty years ahead. That society does not yet exist, cannot be known or predesigned. It will be constructed by these students now under tutelage.
Accepting the implications of his statement, we must be aware of our constituency, understanding that our reach exceeds its obvious membership, realizing that our academic influence will reach the communities in which our students will be trusted, respected leaders on whom others will depend. Understanding the weight of what we do, the TAG English Department makes extended efforts to find, understand, and develop the talents and interests of our students. We will feed and cultivate the extraordinary potential in each of our students and ensure that they graduate more than merely skilled. We will use literature, rhetoric and composition to help them become more self-aware and, therefore, wiser. When we succeed, it will be seen in what students produce while in high school, college, and most significantly, in their autonomous adult lives.
Writing Across the Curriculum
As an English Department, we strongly encourage the curriculum-wide use of complete thoughts, completely expressed through the correct use of grammar and syntax. This is a critical practice that all students must adopt as part of their intellectual and functional selves, and is especially important in the very competitive worlds of college applications and the global marketplace. Students who are well-versed in the use of complete and accurate expression of thoughts and ideas (this includes responses to questions in ALL academic areas) and who apply these abilities in all academic subjects, develop a critical perspective that is invaluable to them as individuals, learners and professionals.