The other reviewers don't lie: This man is hilarious. The class discussions always seemed to circulate around sex and death. Professor Bird's laid back encouraged me to write better papers. He is really a nice guy who will spend a lot of his time helping his students with their writing. He even e-mails interesting sources to individual students to allow for better work on the papers. Overall, a great class with a super chill guy.
As a person, Mr. Bird, with his cuffed pants, boat shoes and chain smoking, makes class interesting. As a teacher, his book discussions can be pointless and frequently off-topic. Overall, a funny and interesting class but if you're interested in serious discussions, you have to make them happen yourself. He is very available for help on the papers.
Prof. Bird is great! Funny, laid-back, and def. knows his stuff for most of the books. He makes a lot of effort to help his students, and is generally a very helpful professor in improving writing and understanding of classic texts.
Mr. Bird is a funny one, that's for sure. He's pretty inept at leading class discussions, since he doesn't ask many questions that draw people into them, so he just ends up talking for almost the entire time. Our discussions about novels always left me bored out of my mind, but on the other hand whenever we discussed poetry he did a fine job and I always left feeling I understood more than when I came. Given a free rein in many classes to just ramble, he often seemed to be trying to shock us with cursing and talk about sex. His saving grace in long and boring discussions is that he's a very funny man, and would come out with the most random statements. Once he said, "Is Frankenstein, like, a gigolo? Did he go back to Zurich and hang out with all his gigolo friends?" What? He also genuinely doesn't mind talking with students during office hours, and will engage you in a far longer discussion than you expected when you went to see him. His grading seems of average strictness, he gets papers back in a timely fashion, and doesn't mind giving extensions. Over all, going to class was a bore, but in terms of difficulty and a likeable teacher, one could do far worse.
My writing improved in this class. Overall, Mr. Bird coaxes rather that demands. He also encourages independent thought and makes a conscientious effort to bring out the best in his students. I highly recommend his course.
John is a fantastic teacher. His enthusiasm is contagious and he goes out of his way to help his students understand the difficult works of Milton, Shakespeare, Hopkins, etc. Class discussions were always lively and his tough grading really helped me focus on what I wanted to say and how best to do so. John is open to his students' interpretations of the material covered and honest about what he isn't sure of himself -- no ego trip from him at all. He's someone you want to talk to after class about every type of literature or anything at all. One of the best.
John Bird is a really nice guy, but his class is very uninteresting. He grades very harshly and gives very unhelpful criticism. His prompts are interesting, but don't think you'll get anything other than a B -- no matter how well or poorly you have written.
I didn't really learn very much, but who does from L&R? John Bird is a really cool guy, class discussions are always fun and interesting, and he's very helpful and devoted. He knows if you're having problems, and he will reach out to you. He is, however, a very tough grader. Overall, a fine way of getting through Columbia's most ill-conceived course.