Posts Tagged ‘participation reclamation’

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

Capri and “The Spectre of Empire”

Friday, April 12th, 2013

When I read “The Spectre of Empire,” the image Walcott uses to describe Capri, Italy stood out to me. He writes, “I just missed him as he darted the other way / in bobbing crowd disgorging from the ferry / in blue Capri, just as he had fled the bay / of equally blue Campeche and rose-walled Cartagena / his still elusive silence growing more scary / with every shouted question, because so many were / hurled at him, fleeing last century’s crime.”

I took the picture below when my sister and I visited Capri a few summers ago. In this picture, we are inside the Blue Grotto cave- and just like Walcott describes, the water is extremely blue! The tour guide explained to us how 2,000 years ago Roman Emperors occasionally used this cave for recreational purposes, but also as a hideout and passage way to hide or escape from invaders. As we rowed around in the Blue Grotto, the other tour guides started chanting an Italian song  (I caught a 10 second clip of the haunting chant/echo on my camera as well)– if the Spectre could sing, I bet that’s he would sound like.


IMG_0409 <–song clip

Walcott open thread

Thursday, April 11th, 2013


Some random thoughts:

This volume is making me think about the significance of titles. How does it impact our reading of the poem if the author titles some of his poems (and numbers all)? I find myself feeling more comfortable (at least initially) with poems such as “In Amsterdam” or “In Italy.” But maybe that’s because I feel more grounded in place.

Also, The New York Times called “White Egrets” an “old man’s book” in this review. I can’t decide how much I agree with that assessment…

In researching Walcott, I came across this documentary:
It’s not available yet (apparently it’s in the editing stage) but I’d be curious to see how the film deals with some of the sexual harassment accusations associated with Walcott. But anyways, if you’re feeling flush you can donate to them and get credited in the film. Nice.

Other reactions to Walcott?

Gender and War

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Much of Komunyakaa’s poetry has been making me think of (what else but) a JSTOR article I read last fall in a history class on the U.S. and Vietnam: Missing in Action-Women Warriors in Vietnam. The article focuses on American women who served with the U.S. military and their experiences both during the war and after. Such stories still aren’t considered part of the war’s history (in fact, my class spent about 50 minutes out of the entire semester covering American and Vietnamese women involved the conflict). The author questions why stories of American female Vietnam veterans are generally unrecognized by male veterans, provided inadequate healthcare, and ignored in the historiography about the conflict.

To answer that question, the author looks at the American “myth of war,” and its deep links to masculinity and silencing.

“A culture of war, especially one that seeks to perpetuate itself, has nothing to gain and everything to lose by changing that mythology and acknowledging the experiences of woman Vietnam veterans. To admit that women serve and suffer in war is to destroy the claim to special male knowledge and all the privileges it brings. To admit that women have been in danger and died is to contradict the myth that women need to be protected. Most of all, to hear the stories of combat nurses is to contradict the myth of war’s glory itself” (89-90).

Just ideas to keep in mind as we read.

Source: “Missing in Action: Women Warriors in Vietnam” by Carol Lynn Mithers.
Cultural Critique, No. 3, American Representations of Vietnam (Spring, 1986). pages 79-90. University of Minnesota Press.

Komunyakaa Interviews

Monday, April 1st, 2013

In which he gives a shout out to Bishop:

In which he parallels racism with mental illness (!?):
“Cultivated schizophrenia” within our “national psyche.” Also, warning on the dramatic piano intro.

And more of that interview (I’m assuming):

Reading “Anodyne”:

Also noteworthy is Komunyakaa’s name. His birth name is James Willie Brown, Jr. and he changed it to “Yusef Komunyakaa” as a reclamation of his grandfather’s name (although it’s not mentioned in many articles). Read more here and here.

A quote that summarizes his views on sound: “Oral language is our first music, and the body is an amplifier” (Source).

And his views on poetry in general: “Poetry is a kind of distilled insinuation. It’s a way of expanding and talking around an idea or a question. Sometimes, more actually gets said through such a technique than a full frontal assault” (Source).

Also, this is a super long talk, but he casually mentions a conversation with Brooks (!) around the 8:00 mark. (Also surprising to me was how much he talks about Faulkner).

Because nobody interpretively performed “Daddy”

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

So let’s hear it from Sylvia.