Earth, Milky Way: punctum books, 2016. 278 pages. ISBN-13: 978-0-9982375-8-9. OPEN-ACCESS e-book and $19.00 [€17.00/£15.00] in print: paperbound/5 X 8 in.

Professor Noterdaeme has compiled a conceptual wonderland of fibs, pleas, prevarications, and fantasies. Teaching, or so his ready-made litany implies, is a strangely Promethean endeavor, a slow drip of deferrals and stunts. Comedy accrues from the Noterdaeme assemblage – bubbles rising to the rim of absenteeism’s snifter. The Professor himself remains divinely silent; his remarkable art consists in turning the relics of the no-show into a voluble museum.

~ Wayne Koestenbaum, The Graduate Center, CUNY

Welcome to Professor Noterdaeme’s inbox, where a steady stream of “slightly big problems” seems to threaten the pedagogical project at every turn. Between conjunctivitis and a benign tumor, a gig in Vancouver, a perplexing family tragedy and a mysterious diplomatic surveillance snafu, it’s a wonder any teaching gets done at all. Still, his students’ buoyant desire to fit at least a little learning in there – and their apparently game professor’s willingness to try to accommodate – give a wry but tender picture of higher education in a time of high distraction.

~ Barbara Browning, New York University

Like examples from an ethics textbook, these e-mails from missing students ask for an exception to the rule, and thereby throw all rules into question, sometimes while simultaneously admitting that no exception should be granted. These at times Kafkaesque confessions, woven from desperation and indifference, honesty and concealment, force the instructor into a courtroom to cast judgment on life itself. In the end, a strangely funny and exasperating – sometimes even traumatizing – collection from artist-professor Filip Noterdaeme.

~ C. E. Emmer, Emporia State University

In his latest work, homoplagiarist Filip Noterdaeme documents the dislocations of American education in the digital age. As much a work of sociology as of poetry, Dear Professor gives voice to the voiceless in every classroom discussion: the absent student. The result is a portrait – at once hilarious and haunting and highly instructive – of a new lost generation. Lost not in the trenches at Marne Verdun Namur or Mons, but lost on their way to class.

~ Geoffrey Rees, University of Chicago

If only Dear Professor were required reading for all of academia. With his signature wit, Filip Noterdaeme offers us a concise and original exposé of what ails American higher education. My gut ached laughing so hard at this insouciant commentary.

~ Rich Benjamin, author of Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America

Dear Professor: A Chronicle of Absences

What an absolutely brilliant idea for a book. I wish I’d had it and feel full of envy that I didn’t. These compulsively readable messages are part of the pathetic and poignant pornography of our time.

~ Simon Critchley, Professor of Philosophy, The New School for Social Research

Dear Professor: A Chronicle of Absences is a collection of over two hundred often involuntarily comical emails in which students excuse themselves for missing class. The result is a satirical yet unexpectedly sympathetic collective portrait of modern-day academia where both students and teachers feel pressured to comply with the impositions of hyper-connectivity.


THREE EXCERPTS

5/29/2014

Dear Professor,

I have registered for your [Course Name] starting June 4th and very much look forward to these sessions. Unfortunately two weeks ago while in the Sahara desert I fell off a camel and fractured 4 ribs. I am in Paris recuperating but as you probably know only time and pain killers are the treatment. I will not be able to travel in time to make the first session on 4th June but hope to be in New York in time for the second and subsequent sessions.
I would appreciate your input on the following:

–venue as to where to meet at 3:15pm stating on June 11th
–should I obtain any reading or other materials needed or desirable for the course
–would you have an outline or any notes you could let me have on the material you will cover (and I will miss) for the first session.

I look forward to meeting with you.

kind regards
Paul C.


4/18/2015

Dear Professor,

I am very sorry about the lateness of my assignments. And my absences during the semester. I am graduating after this semester and I found myself swamped with a ton of work I was not expecting. All of this piled up with vet visits, caring for my new puppy, and other things getting in the way I lost a lot of my energy this semester. I’ve attached all the assignments in this email. And if there is anything else I can give you please let me know.

Thank you for a great semester and for understanding,

All the best,
William


12/7/15

Dear Professor,

Excuses section: I’m sorry that I had to leave early on Tuesday last week and was additionally unable to attend on Thursday. On Thursday something came up and I was sadly unable to attend any of my classes. For Tuesday I do not have such a good reason, if I am honest I left 20 minutes early because of a beautiful girl (the only and last time I would use this reason and I apologize, I let instinctual hedonism take over for better or worse!)

Interesting section: I have been working on this piece “To Fear with Love” and thought you might appreciate it as per our earlier discussion about writing. It is attached below for your enjoyment and I would love any feedback/criticism!

Best,
Abraham

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