As a recent victim of Sudden iPod Death Syndrome, I’ve returned to my antiquated Dell MP3 player. It’s a bit of a throwback to the four years or so when I bought it. . . . and I’m tired of most of the pop songs on it. But one album I never liked at the time strikes me as fantastic now–Radiohead’s Hail to the Thief. I found it pretty much unlistenable when I bought it.
What changed? When I took a poetry course from Helen Vendler, she once said: “If you don’t like a poem now, wait for 10 years, and re-read it.” That may sound a bit smug on the computer screen, but I think you’d have been as impressed as I was if you were there. She tended to declaim like the Iris Murdoch of Judi Dench’s Iris–always from a minimalist lectern surrounded by hundreds of square feet of empty polished parquet floor.