Posts Tagged ‘what could she have done being what she is?’

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”?

Interview with Frieda Hughes

Monday, March 11th, 2013,8599,1598800,00.html


“You give it a royal touch when you read a poem. I think everyone does.”

Saturday, March 9th, 2013

Anne Sexton reads “Menstruation at Forty,” scolds her dogs, introduces us to her husband, and comes off charming…is that the right word? Maybe I’m charmed at the wrong time.

Anne Sexton reads “Her Kind”

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

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!

Brooks, anything but Babbling

Wednesday, February 27th, 2013

Actually, the babbling might be done on my part…

I am just very much enamored with Brooks, stylistically in particular. Her half rhymes are brilliant, and she has a great knack for internal rhyme– and those are two of my special favorite parts of reading poetry. In my opinion, one of the greatest delights of reading poetry is that it TASTES like something when the words take shape. Now, maybe that makes me sound like I’m experiencing synesthesia, but seriously, words have tastes, and poems, if done well, are entire meals. And I’m finding Brooks’ more than palatable.

My favorite passage in everything we read for our upcoming class actually occurs in our “first” page of reading, pg. 58, and goes as follows:

Oh oh. Too much. Too much. Even now, surmise,
She rises in the sunshine. There she goes,
Back to the bars she knew and the repose
In love-rooms and the things in people’s eyes.
Too vital and too squeaking. Must emerge. (5-9).

Ironically, this part of the poem, which I think is the most shattering part of the account of Cousin Vit, is written almost exclusively in iambic pentameter. Excepting the first line, which is full of Brooks’ characteristic spondees, it is rhythmically sound and hardly strays from the five even feet per line.

However, after reading further in the book, this is atypical of Brooks’ style: she is definitely a fan of spondees, and these lines could have easily been written more emphatically, with more stressed words and accents. My question is this: by letting us as readers “settle” into the comfortable ka-THUNK ka-THUNK rhyhtm of even iambs, was Brooks intentionally dulling the impact of recounting her cousin’s life in such personal terms, by making it seem “even-keeled” and “normal”? Or is it a slip of the wrist so that we are meant to note the striking discordance between her content and her form at such a poignant time in the poem? Just a thought, y’all. Told you I’m babbling.

Mea Culpa

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

I didn’t put the Brooks poems onto the Readings page!


Here is “Boy Breaking Glass.”

Here is “The Blackstone Rangers.”


And because I promised some time ago, here is a page that aggregates sites about Bronzeville.

Thursday Poems. Redux.

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Comment below if you WOULD like to do Thursday Poems with CoPo on April 4 from 5-5:30.  You need not know now which poet you would like to read (and we might consider whether you all want a true hodgepodge or a theme or a representative sample or…).  What I have now: Upma (Bishop), Catherine (Plath), Andy, Abbie, possibly Erica.

I Heart Gwendolyn Brooks. Like Mad.

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

But do note this change in our schedule for FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 22:

Brooks: “The Anniad” (37-49); “the children of the poor” #s 1 (52), 2 (53), 3 (53); Ginsberg short writing due.  Bring your anthologies to return to poets from Monday.


Hunchback Girl: She Thinks of Heaven

Tuesday, February 19th, 2013

My Father, it is surely a blue place,
And Straight. Right. Regular. Where I shall find
No need for scholarly nonchalance or looks
A little to the left or guards upon the
Heart to halt love that runs without crookedness
Along its crooked corridors. My Father,
It is a planned place surely. Out of coils,
Unscrewed, released, no more to be marvelous,
I shall walk straightly through most proper halls
Proper myself, princess of properness.

I absolutely love this poem. I love the way she contrasts her hunchback with words like straight, right, and regular, while at the same time using words like crooked to point out that she knows her condition. My favorite line is: guards upon the/Heart to halt love that runs without crookedness/Along its crooked corridors  AH! She may have a hunchback, but her love runs straight and pure among her hearts crooked corridors, which I took to the the viens of the heart. And at the end I thought that she got a little sassy with the “no more to be marvelous” remark–she’s saying that, although she thinks her father (god) wants her to be “regular”, she loves herself and if she loses her hunchback she will no loger be her marvelous self. That made me read the first line again, when she says “it is surely a blue place”–blue as in the colour or blue as in sad?
This poem draws a great image of a headstrong girl who loves herself despite being told by society that her hunchback is a negative part of who she is.


Monday, February 18th, 2013

Feb 18, 1934 – Nov 17, 1992


I’m gonna post some quotes from her that I love (and that relate to the Black Arts presentation from today):

“We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit because what was native has been stolen from us, the love of Black women for each other.”

“Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare.”

“The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.”

And a poem of hers:


Is the total black, being spoken
From the earth’s inside.
There are many kinds of open.
How a diamond comes into a knot of flame
How a sound comes into a word, coloured
By who pays what for speaking.
Some words are open
Like a diamond on glass windows
Singing out within the crash of passing sun
Then there are words like stapled wagers
In a perforated book—buy and sign and tear apart—
And come whatever wills all chances
The stub remains
An ill-pulled tooth with a ragged edge.
Some words live in my throat
Breeding like adders. Others know sun
Seeking like gypsies over my tongue
To explode through my lips
Like young sparrows bursting from shell.
Some words
Bedevil me.
Love is a word another kind of open—
As a diamond comes into a knot of flame
I am black because I come from the earth’s inside
Take my word for jewel in your open light.