Posts Tagged ‘stop fussing and learn to love 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.

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thEQlaqhHeY

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?

A preview to tomorrow’s slam poetry presentation.

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

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

Dead.

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Although I don’t usually like poetry about war or battles, Komunyakaa’s word choice and descriptions just made me dead in every one of his poems in the Dien Cai Dau (Vietnamese for I am crazy or you make me crazy)  section for tomorrow. I particularly loved “You and I are Disappearing”. I looked up Bjorn Hakansson (the one who said the title) and he was a really cool guy-he had underdeveloped arms due to a pill his mom took during pregnancy and went on to form a group that helps others in similar situations. I don’t know the context in which the quote was said, but I’m curious as to why Komunyakaa chose that as the title.  (http://archive.eurordis.org/article.php3?id_article=1783)

I’m just going to list a few of my favorite lines/phrses because I just loved “You and I are Disappearing  so much:

  • The cry I bring down from the hills/ belongs to a girl still burning/ inside my head.
  • We stand with our hands/ hanging at our sides
  • She burns like oil on water.
  • A tiger under a rainbow / at nightfall.
  • She burns like a shot glass of vodka.
  • She rises like dragonsmoke/ to my nostrils.

As someone else mentioned, the line breaks are superbly orchestrated, giving the poem extra punch and adding an extra layer of awesomeness. I am just blown away by the creativity that takes place to come up with lines like “A tiger under a rainbow / at nightfall” when describing the girl burning. Komunyakaa is a genius when it comes to word choice and descriptions and I can’t wait to go all fangirl when we talk about him in class tomorrow.

 

Thoughts on Vollmer

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-03-25 at 12.35.32 PMI google mapped Boulevard of te Allies in Pennsylvania and here is a picture of what I found. I like that there is actually a bridge, but the water is so murky you definitely wouldn’t be able to see “the windows silver-foiling their reflections of the Hot Metal Bridge”. I like the idea of New Black Dress and the different places you can take it as the reader, but some lines are too ambiguous for my taste, like the first line on page 5, “where otters slide on their backs/in the deep Monongahela”. Why would you bring in otters to a poem about a black dress? If she’s referencing those fur scarf-things, “a deep black dress/holding another creature also/silk and fur and bone”, then usually those are minks or foxes.

Overall I’m conflicted about Vollmer’s poems. Sometimes her form works and sometimes it doesn’t. I don’t think the specific references work with her poems, but I think some of her poems are to abstract. I’m excited to hear her talk about her book of poems, maybe that will shed some more light on her process.

Also:

31510643

 

Will

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013

Morning time mourning until The

sun begins dawning then I start

my yawning and soon comes the gnaw-

ing like something is pawing.  Sharp

talons scar my talents and I

feel cornered but the coroner

will not come.  Good! My food will be

thought.  Will not think of how I fought

but how I won.  When I became

One with the One who salvages

the savages roaming for a

home: nomads who are mad no more

moving forward for a ward, not

the awards: that material

matter, gets you high then makes you

sadder.  In the former you look

for more.  In the latter you climb

the ladder above the things that

pull you down.  Gravity is real

but how do you feel?  You can heal.

Interview with Frieda Hughes

Monday, March 11th, 2013

http://www.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1598800,00.html

 

Response to Probably not substantive enough to be post-worthy, but…

Friday, March 8th, 2013

America why are your libraries full of tears?
America when will you send your eggs to India?
I’m sick of your insane demands.
When can I go into the supermarket and buy what I need with my good looks?
America after all it is you and I who are perfect not the next world.
Your machinery is too much for me.
You made me want to be a saint.
There must be some other way to settle this argument.-Who else but Ginsberg?(sickedwickedness)

I aim at this section of, America , because of Cobain and Plath’s “attractiveness.” Cobain’s music was attractive. Plath’s poetry was attractive. But “America” wants us to believe that their suicide was attractive because “America” wants us to think that “its machinery is too much for us.” The affect that drugs have on an artist and the artist’s mind state is very real.  The affect that fans have on the artist are very real because of all the pressure the artist is put under because of their fame and are almost looked at as a “saint” when in reality they are far from it because they are destroying the very beautiful bodies backstage that their fans fantasize.  Can we blame “America”? or Do we blame the artist?

 I totally respect them as mainstream idyllic figures because their form(their physical attractiveness) and their content (their poetry and music) should be respected we cannot argue with how handsome Cobain was or how pretty Plath was.  My opinion is that their ending was ugly.  Too many fans look to these people, I mean, idyllic symbols as more than human and become confused.  I am not confused about it because I’m sure these artists did not feel that they were as attractive as we thought they were.  Plath didn’t have enough education and Cobain took too many drugs to cope and what a slippery slope and you lose sight of Hope when your Dream has been accomplished and you can’t make it to the finish, is it too late too replenish the soul you chose to diminish?  No, it’s not too late. Life is a big Responsibility and the more you are given the more you are responsible for. What do I know? but “Rumor has it!!” ha ha ha

 However, you can’t argue with the beauty of an early death either because where I was raised, here in America, that’s what I was always reminded. And a few words from a brother of mine Kanye  Omari West in America (please don’t get caught up on the form and only try to see the content):

 “The block is at war, post dramatic stress, ran up outta pillz, rob dat CVS, niggas gettin bust over in Gods we trust, We believe in God butdo God believe in us?,if we believe enough will we ever get to know him, that lean got us dosin’ ,if we get there we the chosen, i been poppin shit for too long, but still reppin where I came from”-Kanye West

 “Dr. Martin Louis The King Jr. and imma never let the dream turn to Krueger’s”-Kanye West

I could write shorter sermons but when I get started I’m too lazy to stop.-Lincoln