Posts Tagged ‘not done with plath and not sorry bout it’

In Response to “Contradicting Contradictions”

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Where was this passion all semester?! I feel as if spoken-word should be performed exactly the way each author performs it. I’m almost afraid to label it a performance. Speaking a poem rather than having to type it in print opens the door for emotions to be free. When I read Sylvia Plath and Amiri Baraka poetry I can see their passion in their words and punctuation on the page and attempt to read each piece as active as they may read it if they had the opportunity to let their emotions be wild and free on stage. I don’t think I know about the Staceyann Chin performance that you are talking about. To say that Staceyann is  “acting” like an angry black women is to judge and marginalize her performance, to remove Staceyann Chin from her piece, and to throw her into an archetype of an “angry black woman”: this is where I find the issue. I would say that Stacey Chin is being an angry Stacey Chin. The closed mindedness is when to categorize and lable wild free emotions to help you understand it. You basically put the wild free emotion back in a cage when you use “acting like an angry black woman” as a description of art.  I wanted to talk about the saxophone player that most likely looked forward to having the honor of playing along with Amiri Baraka.  However, I do feel that Amiri chose to have a white saxophonist to add to the message of the poem. The poem that we watch by Amiri Baraka broke the allowance of white people, in this country, to always be free from guilt. While they blame the colored people that live in this country (not just black people).  The class fell right back into what Amiri Baraka was trying to break.  The white man became the victim and Amiri Baraka was laughed at.  I wasn’t surprised. Consider Kanye West’s video with the white ballerinas (do u think those ballerina were unfortunate too) and the black people as civilized having dinner(Kanye west took it a step past black and white because even the black people wouldnt accept the women he brought to dinner because she was different and wanted to lable her as weird and strange because of their closed mindeness.) The same point was trying to be made by Amiri I would guess to have the white people do the work and perform for black people for once.  But if we go as far as to say that it was strategic by Amiri Baraka we already begin to criminalize him because we are saying that it was premeditated.  So Molly I must say that I do have a problem with you “nearly ripping your hair out when Amiri hooed like an owl.”  You did not understand the symbolic significance of the owl within the context of the poem so your closed mind could only laugh to set you free from your mental prison as Amiri Baraka successfully got under your skin and aggravated you. I’m sure there are more unfortunate saxophone players out there.  I was very disappointed how the class responded to Amiri Baraka’s poem how we weren’t as open minded as we act. Now look at Kanye West’s Video After we saw Amiri Baraka where will your brain take you.

Let’s talk about “Lesbos,” baby…

Friday, March 22nd, 2013

“Viciousness in the kitchen!
The potatoes hiss.”

Some thoughts:

  • Disembodied feeling! From the first line, we as readers are forced to look around for a body to which we can ascribe the emotion. Instead, we get the setting of a traditional (idyllic) domestic space… completely turned on its head. We feel sensory overload (horrifying harsh fluorescents, migraines) coupled with a child face down on the floor. We get a tone of anxiety and panic resulting in urgently distorted imagery.
  • Having trouble figuring out what exactly is going down in this poem? Me too! Obviously a narrative decision by Plath, she toys with readers’ perceptions of the speaker, and the speaker’s perceptions of her environment, all through a lens of emotional rage.
  • Sound! “Where they crap and puke and cry and she can’t hear.” Hard “c” and “k” sounds make this line grate. We also get a lot of “ss,” evocative of acid, simultaneously dissolving and burning.
  • Matricide! “You say I should drown my girl.” obliterating any remains of a domestic maternal bliss.
  • The relationship between the two women, “venomous opposites.”  Ironically juxtaposed with the poem’s title. The speaker obviously feels no inclusive female bond: “‘Every woman’s a whore./ I can’t communicate.” The speaker veils her rage against the woman with an attempt at pleasantries at the end of her visit. “I say I may be back/ You know what lies are for.” The internalization of her feelings of betrayal/irreconcilability with the woman perpetuates her anger.
  • Sexuality: Sex as performance (“You acted, acted, acted for the thrill.”) versus procreation.
  • The moon: I read an article that states that for Plath, the moon represents sickness/normality, death/life, and wich/protector; in this stanza, it serves to unite the women in its light while they revel in their sexual frustration (“Working it like dough, a mulatto body). I’m not convinced of the argument, but it’s something? Plath clearly draws menstrual/fertility associations with the moon: Instead of gently beaming onto a landscape, this moon “dragged its blood bag, sick/ animal” and eventually scares the speaker “to death.”

Source: “Sylvia Plath’s Narrative Strategies” by Margaret Dickie (The Iowa Review, Vol. 13, No. 2 (Spring, 1982), pp. 1-14)

Also, just in case you HAVEN’T thought about getting a Sylvia Plath tattoo… (brace yourself for Lady Lazarus…)