cricketmuse

a writer's journey as a reader

POM: April 5


Bildungsroman

Bil·dungs·ro·man
ˈbildo͝oNGzrōˌmän,ˈbēldo͝oNGks-/noun 
  1. a novel dealing with one person’s formative years or spiritual education

Such an interesting word. My German heritage perks up when I hear this term bantered around in literary musings. Bildungsroman is the combination of two German words: Bildung, meaning “education,” and Roman, meaning “novel.” To Kill a Mockingbird always comes to mind when I try to explain to students what the word is all about. After the mention of TKaM titles ping about the classroom: “Oh, you mean like Huckleberry Finn, Jane Eyre, The Catcher in the Rye…I get it now.” Gotta love those literary epiphanies. In fact, the other day my across-the-hall-colleague walked over with purpose and asked, “What is the long word you like to toss around when it comes to To Kill a Mockingbird?”  I told him. He tried repeating it and I shrugged with a smile. “Try it phonetically.” I’ll see his students in about three years and I’ll ask them if they know the technical term for a coming-of-age novel. Or maybe I’ll toss out examples.

All that to say this is why I’m featuring this poem excerpt today. Enjoy. What’s your favorite bildungsroman novel, play, or poem?

 

 

                         i.m. Scott David Campbell (1982-2012)

From “Bildungsroman” by Malachi Black

Streetlights were our stars,
hanging from the midnight
in a planetary arc
above each empty ShopRite
parking lot—spreading
steam-bright
through the neon dark—
buzzing like ghost locusts,
trembling in the chrome

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3 thoughts on “POM: April 5

  1. I’m writing a nonfiction one of those!

  2. Whadayacall that in German?

  3. A non-fiction Bildungsroman.

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