Tuesday, February 07, 2012

from The Delphi Seminar with Norman Holland & Murray Schwartz

the work as a whole or parts of it (characters,
phrases, ideas) that particularly
interest you.
Whatever you write about, try to
avoid the intellectual, analytical response
of the ordinary English class. Try instead
for three things: feelings, associations,
Feelings should form the foundation of
your written response. Describe them as
best you can . . . as precisely and as fully.
Analogies will help you and lead you
toward associations, that is, ideas, memories,
or thoughts that come to mind as
you let the literary work 'float' in your

After five weeks of writing about
poems and stories, the group took a
crucial step in order to discover more
clearly the characteristics of our several
styles of response. We began writing
about ourselves. We treated our accumulated
responses as themselves texts to be
written about, partly in the same associative
way as poems and stories, but partly
in explicit analysis of the personal
style we thought an individual was bringing
to the literary experience.

Thinking as teachers, the two of us
believe a Delphi seminar would work
with any combination of students, graduates,
undergraduates, or even schoolchildren,
and in a variety of subject
matters-provided the group is willing to
chance the Delphi method. That is, if
both teachers and students will risk a
temporary abandonment of the shelter of
subject matter to explore the feelings of
self and others, they can come back to
subject matter in a more profound, more
vital, and more honest way. In life and
letters we use our selves as sensing instruments.
In a Delphi seminar, both teachers
and students accept and articulate that
truth as they respond to literature, persons,
or any other subject matter.