Posts Tagged ‘I’m obsessed with her. Whatever’

Def Poetry

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

I love def poetry and I’m so excited to hear it and learn about it in class. I watched the videos that Dr. Scanlon posted on the blog and my favorite was the one by Gina Loring, Somewhere There is a Poem. It is so cool how she intertwined history and touched on major historic events and people and it all flowed so well when she said it. I’m always amazed by how def poets speak their poems so well and so fluidly. My favorite part, well I have two. The first was when she sang the beginning of Amazing Grace-incorporating different spoken art styles into the reading is one of my favorite things and it really added to the poem, it gave it even more of a musical flare. I also loved how she used repetition to transition from one subject to the next and how it made her sound as if she was rapping. The poem flowed so so well and I loved her voice as she recited, the intonation and changing speed with which she spoke was beautiful. I found the written poem online and pasted the lyrics here because I loved them so much 🙂  This was so great!

Somewhere there is a poem
And I want to write this poem
I want to speak this poem
I want to feel this poem
I want to experience this poem
Cradle it in my arms
Feed it a good meal
And send it on its merry way

I want to sing this poem
“Amazing grace, how sweet the sound”
Somewhere there is a poem screaming
Get up, stand up
Stand up for your rights
Human beings, human beings
Beings being so
Caught up in the tangible material surface
Or that they never actually feel
Their touch is liquid and grazes right through
But misses the core
This poem whispers to me
And rocks me to sleep
And tells me stories of indigenous people
Diseased and tricked and slaughtered
And made to be extinct
But this ain’t no pterodactyl
Or tyrannosaurus rex blood flowing through my veins

I am a Creek American Indian
I exist
I am an African
I am an old Jewish woman muttering prayers in Yiddish
As my name is replaced with a number on my arm
I am a little Japanese girl
Staring in horror
As my village is bombed and burnt to the ground
I was born in India, but not to the right caste
So regardless of what I accomplish
I will always be a peasant
I died in Mexico three feet from the border
Gunned down by evil troops
Who shoot for a living
Who sacrifice their souls for
The man-made boundaries of these Americas
Somewhere, there is a poem somewhere
Dozing in subway stations
And flying high on a 405
And taking the L to Brooklyn
The 15 to Vegas
And the Marter through Atlanta
And cruising down a dark street in Oakland is a poem

This poem comes from somewhere deep
Somewhere where the angels sleep
Where pixies dance and mermaids weep
Where hymns are hummed
So God will keep us all in mind on Judgment Day
This poem warns, but does not sway
For what you do is up to you
Where you go and who you know
If you close up, or if you grow

Somewhere there is a poem about the insanity
Of war, Hiroshima, Hiroshima
Hero, hero, war hero
Hero-, hero-, heroin is
Crack cocaine is
The systematic genocide of my people
Brown skin behind bars
Locked up behind bars
Trapped behind bars
And slaves behind bars
Kept in lines behind bars
Counted behind bars
Bars, there are more bars
Selling alcohol on a single reservation in Oklahoma
Than in all of Ventura county, county
Counting me in ‘cause I’m down for the revolution
Which may not be televised
And may not get radio play
But it will be told through poetry
‘Cause somewhere there is a poem

This poem speaks to me and draws me in
Like an amusement park to a kid
I want to freak this poem and dream this poem
And share it with y’all
Hold up, shhhhh
I just did

daM goD

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

During Monday’s discussion of “Looking a Mad Dog Dead in the Eyes,” Sarah’s comment about reading “Mad Dog” as an anagram blew my mind.

I believe the speaker is criticizing man’s relationship with God. Furthermore, I think the speaker is calling on man to take back control and suggests that man should assert his power over God.

I think this has to be a myth, or at least partially a myth, but growing up I was always told that there was a simple way to establish dominance with a dog (granted, I was terrified of dogs much of my young life so there’s a good chance this was a lie adults told me, thinking I might find it comforting). I was told that one must look a dog dead in the eyes and hold its gaze to assert power until the dog ultimately looks away.

I think it’s interesting to think that this poem is criticizing the way we have been trained to worship God and calling on us, instead, to train God…even if this all does sound a bit Mad.

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?

MORE Judith Vollmer

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

http://http://fourthriver.chatham.edu/index.php/where-the-music-happens-an-interview-with-judith-vollmer

I was very impressed with Vollmer…so naturally I did a little stalking after class on Friday. If you didn’t get to ask all the questions you wanted to, then check out this interview! I found it on judithvollmer.com.

1962 Interview with Sylvia Plath

Monday, March 25th, 2013

I’m reading The Bell Jar by Plath in another class right now and my professor let us listen to a few minutes of this interview today in class. I thought I’d share it with you, it’s really interesting to hear her talk about her poetry and influences. The interviewer also asks Plath about her incorporation of Holocaust imagery, something we drew a lot attention to in class discussion. It’s a fascinating interview, check it out!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-v-U70xoZM

Two Views of a Cadaver Room

Sunday, March 17th, 2013
Brueghel's Triumph of Death

Brueghel’s Triumph of Death

brueghel detail

Triumph of Death detail

Ariel: Sylvia-Ted Smackdown

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Poems that are RED were not in Plath’s original manuscript, but were added by Ted Hughes for the 1965 edition of Ariel.

  1. Morning Song
  2. The Couriers
  3. Sheep in Fog 
  4. The Applicant
  5. Lady Lazarus
  6. Tulips
  7. Cut
  8. Elm
  9. The Night Dances
  10. Poppies in October
  11. Berck-Plage
  12. Ariel
  13. Death & Co.
  14. Lesbos – (This poem is censored in some conservative publications)
  15. Nick and the Candlestick
  16. Gulliver
  17. Getting There
  18. Medusa
  19. The Moon and the Yew Tree
  20. A Birthday Present
  21. Mary’s Song  (only in US version)
  22. Letter in November
  23. The Rival
  24. Daddy
  25. You’re
  26. Fever 103°
  27. The Bee Meeting
  28. The Arrival of the Bee Box
  29. Stings
  30. The Swarm  (only in US version)
  31. Wintering
  32. The Hanging Man
  33. Little Fugue
  34. Years
  35. The Munich Mannequins
  36. Totem
  37. Paralytic
  38. Balloons
  39. Poppies in July
  40. Kindness
  41. Contusion
  42. Edge
  43. Words

Plath’s version (on your syllabus).  Poems in BLUE are not in the Hughes version:

1. “Morning Song”

2.“The Couriers”

3. “The Rabbit Catcher” 

4. “Thalidomide” 

5. “The Applicant”

6. “Barren Woman”

7. “Lady Lazarus”

8. “Tulips”

9. “A Secret”

10. “The Jailor” 

11.  “Cut”

12. “Elm”

13. “The Night Dances”

14. “The Detective”

15. “Ariel”

16. “Death & Co.”

17. “Magi” 

18. “Lesbos”

19. “The Other”

20. “Stopped Dead” 

21. “Poppies in October”

22. “The Courage of Shutting-Up” 

23.“Nick and the Candlestick”

24. “Berck-Plage”

25. “Gulliver”

26. “Getting There”

27. “Medusa”

28. “Purdah” 

29. “The Moon and the Yew Tree”

30. “A Birthday Present”

31. “Letter in November”

32. “Amnesiac”

33. “The Rival”

34. “Daddy”

35. “You’re”

36. “Fever 103°”

37. “The Bee Meeting”

38. “The Arrival of the Bee Box”

39. “Stings”

40. “Wintering”

 

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.”

Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I’m going to argue that the “you” Plath is referring to is her husband, Ted Hughes.  Furthermore, I think that the Nazis are also a metaphor for Hughes.  I say, this entire poem is about Hughes!

Obviously, there were many problems in Plath and Hughes’s marriage.  And Plath certainly doesn’t shy from using Nazis to represent OTHER male figures in her poetry (i.e “Daddy”), so why can’t these Nazis be Hughes?

I read the “spectacle” part of this poem as how the speaker feels when her husband looks at her, or comes on to her.  There he is, munchin’ on his peanuts and chillin’ as she “undresses” and tries to make a marriage and a real relationship… as she tries to make her life work!

Because Plath was obviously very well educated, I don’t even think it’s a stretch to suggest that the “dying” in this poem is a pun a la the Shakespearean meaning of dying, i.e. having an orgasm, or even just being intimate with her husband.

I got the Hughes vibe especially in the last few stanzas, if you care to take a look.  (“HERR ENEMY”!!!)

Or a piece of my hair on my clothes.
So, so, Herr Doktor.
So, Herr Enemy.

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash—
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there—-

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring, (!!!!)
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

 

Did anyone else sense this layer of meaning? Or am I the only one?

Ruminations on Holocaust language in “Lady Lazarus”

Monday, March 11th, 2013

I agree with what Tricia said in class about how “And there is a charge / a very large charge” invokes the abuse the Nazis inflicted upon the Jews and how the speaker in “Lady Lazarus” almost identifies herself as being objectified and tortured. I would go as far to argue that incorporating Holocaust language characterizes the speaker’s own oppression from her external environment, not necessarily equating herself but making it similar to Jews mistreatment in the Holocaust.

I’m still trying to figure this out, and I think we will continue to debunk this when we read “Daddy” amongst other poems. Skimming this article from good ol’ trusty JSTOR, scholar Al Strangeways suggests that Plath’s inclusion of the Holocaust was done to “combine the public and the personal” to “shock and cut through the distancing ‘doubletalk’ in “contemporary conformist, cold war America” (375-76). This motive confirms, for me at least, that the metaphor of the Jews equates to suffering for the speaker.

What do you all think of Holocaust language metaphorized in this manner? Is anyone else disturbed by lines like “My face a featureless, fine / Jew linen”?