Posts Tagged ‘Andy Leonard doesn’t even GO HERE’

Stress Be Gone

Monday, April 29th, 2013

If you’re going to lose your mind this week lose it somewhere beautiful.

That’s a Wrap

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Some notes for the final stretch:

  • I will hold regular office hours this Thursday, 11-12.  On Friday, my office hour will be moved from late afternoon to 10-11 because of Kemp Symposium.
  • This blog will CLOSE for graded business on Saturday, April 27, at midnight.
  • You should check the blog before our final exam slot (Wednesday, May 1, 12-2:30) in case there are any announcements.
  • The final recitations/celebrations will be held in the Parlor of the Mansion.  Yummies are welcome.
  • Apparently the syllabus says that at the final exam you must recite a poem from the Norton anthology that is not on our syllabus.  ACK.  I blew that.  You may recite at least 14 contiguous lines from any poem of our primary authors or from the anthology.

Stand-up, Slam-down

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

Don’t you just love when things line up in your life? I do, and today, it happened!

For the past two weeks, I’ve forgone my usual lunch break to attend the Anthropology Department’s Senior Thesis Presentations from 11-11:50 every Monday/Wednesday/Friday. My favorite of today’s lecture had to do with the way “black humor” is used as a form of political resistance against the day-to-day stereotypes made about people of color. My pant-suited classmate argued that Dave Chapelle and Chris Rock are perhaps the best examples of this in action.

After showing clips from the above videos, Mandy asked the audience: Do you think this is effective in changing racial stereotypes? Those who spoke up agreed that Chapelle and Rock’s stand-up acts presented a double-edged sword: On one hand, they exposed just how ridiculous the popular assumptions that comprise racial stereotypes are. On the other, the giggly conversational delivery by each comic, created a window for listeners to take their statements less seriously (than perhaps they ought to) and/or laugh, then move on. What was missing from the performance was the incentive to change their behavior, and do so with a sense of urgency.

Slam Poetry seems to be the new-improved model of poltically-charged stand-up. Sure audience members involuntarily laugh at Staceyann Chin’s one liners:

“she tells me how she was a raving beauty in the sixties
how she could have had any man she wanted
but she chose the one least likely to succeed
and that’s why when the son of a bitch died
she had to move into this place
because it was government subsidized.”

OR

“Will I still be lesbian then
or will the church or family finally convince me
to marry some man with a smaller dick
than the one my woman uses to afford me
violent and multiple orgasms”

But she isn’t laughing. Her humorless delivery makes a statement that no one can misinterpret. In the end we are downright scared of her (or at least I was).

What do you think?

For Monday

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

New Walcott  readings, replacing White Egrets:

The Sea is History

A Far Cry from Africa

Sea Grapes (or listen to DW read)

Dark August

 

Midsummer, Tobago

The Schooner Flight

Still Looking for “The Lost Empire”

Friday, April 12th, 2013

I left class today feeling conflicted over our interpretation of Walcott’s Caribbean in “The Lost Empire”.

Now I have never been the Caribbean myself. However, I do sail, and that interest has thrust me into a community of those who spend winters there, maintaining boats whose owners are unwilling to both risk the damages of an east coast mooring or crew the vessel themselves. The result of this intimacy gives me an interesting perspective on the archipelago which Walcott describes to “look as if a continent fell and scattered into fragments” (lyric II, lines 2-3). This perspective is one which begs me argue against sentiments of the “small place produc[ing] nothing but beauty.”

The islands I perceive are home to a giant social george. That is, a gaping  chasm between rich and poor. The exact opposite of a “simplifying light” the author illustrates four lines from the bottom. Perhaps those who can afford it are “receiving vessels of each day’s grace”, but those who cannot seem to be receiving vessels of capitalist colonial fallout. Without an infrastructure to protect them from exploitation, the islands have become a bona fide waste basket for the overnight tourism boom. Pollution runs rampant under a disposable standard, and a people who may have once attempted to husband the albeit picturesque landscape are now plagued with Western growing pains.

It surprises me that Walcott doesn’t see this. Or that we are unable to trace an appropriate irony in his “content”. Lyrics I and II must be sewn together somehow. After centuries of haunting, “The Spectre of Empire” surely didn’t just pack up and leave….

…right?

images

Vollmer Quotables, The Newest Greeting Card Sensation:

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Unknown

“I’m always trying to push the narrative line to it’s greatest intensity.”

“Spring cleaning was a military operation in our house. My grandmother rolled up her pant legs then took her teeth out.”

“It’s OK to have a mundane life, you just have to do the work; make the effort to see things differently.”

“I come from the school of get drunk: on wine, on poetry, on the world–be altered.”

Q: What do Babies, Fungus, Oppressed Women & The Cold War have in common?

Monday, March 25th, 2013

A: Sylvia Plath’s 1959 Poem “Mushrooms” has been speculated to be written about each.

When I first read this poem (on page 139 of our Collected), I was struck by how simple, hopeful and almost childlike it was (at least in comparison to the other works we had assigned last week). Of course, my initial reading was a literal one,  encouraged by the objectist voice Plath uses. For 11 stanzas, she speaks from the mushroom’s perspective…

Overnight, very
Whitely, discreetly,
Very quietly

Our toes, our noses
Take hold on the loam,
Acquire the air.

Nobody sees us,
Stops us, betrays us;
The small grains make room.

Soft fists insist on
Heaving the needles,
The leafy bedding,

Even the paving.
Our hammers, our rams,
Earless and eyeless,

Perfectly voiceless,
Widen the crannies,
Shoulder through holes. We

Diet on water,
On crumbs of shadow,
Bland-mannered, asking

Little or nothing.
So many of us!
So many of us!

We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot’s in the door.

Consider some of the following interpretations as you reread. What’s your take?

  • Women seen as purely domestic objects by men:  ‘We are shelves, we are Tables..”
  • “Overnight very whitely, discreetly, very quietly”: is this a description of conception?
  • Similar description of birth: “Perfectly voiceless, Widen the crannies, Shoulder through holes”
  • “Diet on Water, On crumbs of shadow, bland-mannered, asking little or nothing. So many of us! So many of us”: description of lower class struggle, buttressed by last line “our foot’s in the door.”

Who’s foot? WHO’S FOOT?!

Response to “It Is Not Necessary”

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

I enjoyed reading “It Is Not Necessary” because I’m positive loneliness is universal. The first line is a great lead in because making your own music is necessary to keep in rhythm with the world when you are wandering about.  I love when the first stanza establishes the poem as if it’s a movie or something it’s a nice segue/Segway we can ride into the poem. Being in a crowd and still being alone is what I consider the limit of our lives as human beings. “Public Pedro” and “adequate Bernice” really brings the temporaryness(<—not a word) of the moment Pablo is discussing almost as if we are used by society for a little while and then thrown out of the moving car. Pablo answers much confusion within the poem. He refers to a crowd as a “wide sky” and revisits it or answers it when he says, “Eyes don’t close only in order to sleep,/but so as not to see the same sky.” I always worry about repeating words in a poem but if you are doing it so the critics will get off your back, it’s tactful.

 

In the third stanza we see how the form and the content of this poem correlate. During the second stanza the “Hidden flower” was truly hidden but by adressing the “hidden flower” in second stanza he brings it into view and now it is only “half-hidden.” “There we suddenly are”, is what i meant when I suggested that we are thrown out of a moving car or moving Czar. I have a hunch that the speaker of the poem, who is Pablo, is single. The best line in the poem, in my opinion is, “Within the four walls of our singular skin”, because Emerson suggests the body as being not “us” but just a vehicle of our “true being.”

 

I’ll end with one of my soul mate’s quotes Ralph “Where’s Waldo” Emerson:

 

“Philosophically considered, the universe is composed of Nature and the Soul.  Strictly speaking, therefore, all that is separate from us, all which Philosophy distinguishes as the NOT ME, that is, both nature and art, all other men and my own body, must be ranked under this name, NATURE.”

Eve’s Apple Bottom

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Eye Candy?

No, not for my precious cavities!

My holes made whole by nine foot knolls that

know me too well. My green escape from

Hell when there’s no one to tell of this special

Spell

spelt wrong in this book.

 

Like two foot gnomes who possess old cold pain

but never complain in the rain.

Their bodies were stained by pain-

t

or the pinschers that piss. Me off

wearing the weaved green on my sleeve.

 

Lips are chipped and chapped from

the Kiss that can kill. So, cold I know

when you are naked in snow and The

wind will blow.

OH!

 vmc03/01/13

Pablo Neruda- “It Is Not Necessary”

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

It is not necessary to whistle
To be alone,
To live in the dark.

Out in the crowd, under the wide sky,
we remember our separate selves,
the intimate self, the naked self,
the only self who knows how the nails grow,
who knows how his own silence is made
and his own poor words.
There is a public Pedro,
seen in the light, an adequate Bernice,
but inside,
underneath age and clothing,
we still don’t have a name,
we are quite different.
Eyes don’t close only in order to sleep,
but so as not to see the same sky.

We soon grow tired,
and as if they were sounding the bell
to call us to school,
we return to the hidden flower,
to the bone, the half-hidden root,
and there we suddenly are,
we are the pure, forgotten self,
the true being
within the four walls of our singular skin,
between the two points of living and dying.