I was one of those college students who paid careful attention in class because I took terrible notes. In retrospect, I probably would’ve been better served by improving my note taking skills. Much of what my professors had to say blended into a kind of buzzing. Certain lessons, however, have persisted even after thirty years. One lesson in particular, taught by Jim Merritt, my instructor for Romantic Poetry at Brooklyn College, has had a profound effect on my writing.