[No online link available.]
B. had written about one of his students, Valerie Trueblood, along with three other young women, also students of his, in DS 113. Trueblood wrote asking why he had “honored” her so, and this DS is his response.
“Why do you honor me?” could have several shades of meaning depending on the context, and I’m sorry, big-shot poet and all, supposedly sensitive to the nuances of language, I definitely suspect that B. missed the main one. Let’s face it, his social acumen, his “people skills,” were a bit stunted. The best the poet can muster is, “‘Why do you honor me?’ / she weirdly askt.” Her question is weird? I don’t think so.
I gather that his take on her meaning is that she is finding it “weird” that a great man of such stature and talent would deign to notice little ol’ me. (Blushing. Batting her long dark eyelashes…) His response is that of course she’s mysterious and the most beautiful woman in the world, so of course he would notice—and, oh man, is it me or is the BS getting a bit thick around here?
Here’s what she meant, I’m thinking, though she was much too refined to come out and say it directly: “What the hell do you think you’re doing, creep, attaching my name in perpetuity to your work? Who do you think you are?” There’s more than a touch of violation about the whole incident. So in deference to Miss Trueblood’s honor, even though it’s half a century too late, we’ll let it go. Sorry about that, Ms. Trueblood. All you wanted was to attend an English class without being hoisted onto some pedestal for all the world to gawk at.