Posts Tagged ‘if you need me i’ll be out by the trees freaking out about the best minds of my generation’

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.

A preview to tomorrow’s slam poetry presentation.

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

A Far Cry from Africa

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

As Julia’s earlier post touched on, Walcott seems to ground us as his audience most specifically in terms of location, often through his titles; however, in his piece “A Far Cry from Africa,” I found the notion of “Africa” to be much more abstracting than stabilizing. Rather than “Africa,” Walcott’s title maybe improved upon by being more specific to the REAL issue at hand: “A Far Cry from Africanness.” If this sounds silly and reductive, that’s because it is, linguistically. But on some level, isn’t this what Walcott is actually addressing in this piece?

In any case, it seemed awfully timely to focus on this piece right after the Multicultural Fair, because that is precisely what strikes me most about it– how poignantly and obviously MULTIcultural it is. The cultural awareness does not necessarily stem from racial differences, although that’s definitely a huge aspect of it– just the sheer number of times Walcott brings “whiteness” into the text stands out in itself. However, it is the idea of betrayal of one’s heritage rather than race that sticks out the most– “Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?” (27) This is reminiscent of some of the language Langston Hughes uses when he writes of his biracial background, and yet he has accepted and exemplified his own blackness in no uncertain terms. I think it is always difficult knowing “where to turn” in situations of multinational understanding of the self. Thoughts, yeses and nos?

Incidentally, did anyone notice that the first stanza of this piece has ten lines, the second has eleven, and the third has twelve? Weird… 🙂

Also, for your viewing/listening pleasure:

“Africa” by Toto, an 80s classic. I still can’t quite figure out what they’re talking about, though…

 

 

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

Shadows & Ghosts

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Alright, Komunyakaa loves talking about shadows & ghosts (& he really loves ampersands- by the way).

“Gray-blue shadows lift/ shadows onto an oxcart.” (Starlight Scope Myopia 1-2)
“unaware our shadows have untied/ from us, wandered off/ & gotten lost.” (A Greenness Taller Than God 20-23)
“We’re men ready to be fused/ with gost pictures, trying” (Seeing in the Dark 14-15)
“with a platoon of shadows” (The Edge 7) also, not techinically a shadow/ghost, but still: “to the charred air, silhouettes of jets” (27)
“Ghosts share us with the past & future” (Jungle Surrender 1)
“Sometimes I wrestled their ghosts” (Short-timer’s Calendar 14)

& the list goes on…

I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make, but I guess I’m just wondering what you make of this repetition. Obviously, I can understand why ghosts & shadows would appear in a collection of poems about war, but I feel like Komunyakaa has to be more brilliant than this. Beyond lost souls what do you think these figures represent?

another burning question…

Garrett mentioned to me the other day that Vollmer used the ampersand exclusively and that he had meant to ask her about why she made this choice. Now, I can’t help but notice that Komunyakaa also uses the ampersand exclusively. I really want to know whether this was an editor’s choice or if this was the poet’s preference and their reasoning. What do you think?

From “Memories and Thoughts on Adrienne Rich”

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Did you know Adrienne Rich passed away last week on the 27th in California? I did not. Writer Cathy Park Hong wrote one of the most beautiful memoriam pieces I have read yet for Poetry Foundation this past weekend.

While Hong discusses her own personal meeting with Rich filled with warmth and compelling conversation, she tackles the same question that Rich and even we grapple with as readers of poetry: “is poetry political?” Poetry may seem “flimsy” when discussing “war, class, sexism, racism, terror” and all the other social intersections that surround society. What Rich and Hong communicate, and what we saw Brooks trump, is that whether or not poetry seems useless, there is an “ethical responsibility” to be engage in a “historically charged moment to write it.” There is an “urgency” that writers and readers both usurp to resolve any uncertainty. The first step that seems to be taken is to read or write these poems.

Hong then discusses a “courage,” both public and private, that poets take when writing. Rich did examine this courage and use it if not to catalyze, then identify a revolution:

Then I turn to Adrienne Rich and her essays, her poems, become a call-to-arms, a reawakening of my fatigued consciousness: “We may feel bitterly how little our poems can do in the face of seemingly out of control technological power and seemingly limitless corporate greed, yet it has always been true that poetry can break isolation, show us to ourselves when we are outlawed or made invisible, remind us of beauty where no beauty seems possible, remind us kinship where all is represented as separation.”

A nice companion blog post to this would be Abbie‘s “Where’s the poetry in today’s Climate Movement?” from February. Here’s to you, Rich.

More about Frieda

Monday, March 11th, 2013

Erica has posted a really interesting Q&A article with Frieda Hughes already, but I found this article that I thought was really interesting too.

In the article Frieda Hughes is quoted on how she is against BBC’s 2003 movie, Sylvia. The article also includes two verses of her poetic response to the movie, titled “My Mother” (I found the full poem on Tumblr but didn’t want to post it because I didn’t know how accurate it was). The poem uses a lot of images from “Lady Lazarus,” which i think is kind of interesting. In the article one of the verses starts out with Plath’s “peanut crunching crowed,” which Frieda Hughes calls the “peanut eaters.”

Greetings from San Francisco

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

For Spring Break, I am in San Francisco visiting with my Mom, who moved here about a year ago. Before I get all braggy about how BEAUTIFUL this city is, I need to come clean about a couple of things. First I should admit that I threw an enormously irrational temper tantrum when I found out she was moving here because HOW COULD SHE LEAVE ME ON THE EAST COAST ALONE? And second, I spent a sizable amount of my first visit to the Bay area wrapped in a blanket on the couch in a state of panic because HOW WAS SHE GOING TO SURVIVE WITHOUT ME ON THE WEST COAST? Luckily my strange anxieties have dissipated (unlike the ever-lingering fog) and I have come to realize how freakin’ cool this city is and how much cooler my Mom is for moving here.

Today was a long day- we walked for miles along the Embarcadero and accidently drove over the Golden Gate Bridge on the way back to our apartment (which just so happens to be on the opposite side of the city). I also had a nerd-attack and forced my family to stop by City Lights bookstore. It’s on the corner of this great street that borders Chinatown and Little Italy. Inside there are three flights of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves filled with some of the most famous and obscure books, all meshed together. The third floor was devoted solely to poetry books and was where I lingered for a little too long. I snapped some photographs for your viewing pleasure. Check it:

photo 1

 

photo 2

photo 4

I hope you are all enjoying your time off as much as I am. Ps- do I get extra credit for posting over Break??

 

 

Brooks essay

Friday, March 1st, 2013

Prompt posted.  Due date moved back to March 15.

Anne Sexton reads “Her Kind”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZDcARJqtqFs

So I just finished the reading for Friday and there are so many poets I like! I especially enjoy the Lowell and Sexton poems. I loved this poem “Her Kind” by Anne Sexton so I attached a link of her reading it so we could get a feel for how she sees the poem! Her reading of this poem is very eerie and not how I imagined it so it was very interesting to hear! Enjoy!