Monday, February 24, 2014

Journal 4 - Coral

1.      The chapter that has helped me so far is Chapters 3, the “Making the Line (I)”. Chapter 3 deals with listening for the stresses in a word to make a line. The reason Chapter 3 has helped me is because I’m pretty new in the art of poetry and I still don’t quite grasp the idea of meter and stressed/unstressed words. Seeing the example on pg. 42 of the “Round and round the mulberry bush” in the wave diagram. The diagram shows where the stressed words are because they are the peaks of the wave and the unstressed words dip below the wave. For example, in the first line, “Round, round, mul…, bush” are the peaks of the waves since there’s more emphasis being on these syllables while “and, the, berry” aren’t as prominent to say. It shows me where the stressed syllables are and the wave diagram can be applied to other little nursery rhyme kind of songs. On the next page they put in the first four lines of the Spongebob theme song. Another reason this system would be beneficial to me is because I have a hard time using words for just using the music of them and letting myself go, I guess. Starting to understand the stressed and unstressed syllables of words is helping me start listening to words for their music. But I still need a lot of work to get to that point.

2.      Now the poem I chose has to dea with the sound and the music-of-words issue that I have. It’s doesn’t get an actual feature within Chapter 5 “The Sound (and Look) of Sense,” but it’s in the Poems to Consider section. It’s called “Reapers” by Jean Toomer (pg. 92) and it helped try and write the Sound poem we had to do. (It was Exercise 4). The thing I liked most about the poem was the alliteration of the first line going into the second line: “Black reapers with the sound of steel on stones / Are sharpening scythes.” And it reminds me of the t.v. show that used to be on Cartoon Network: The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy. Toomer doesn’t used much assonance in the poem, but he does end rhyme throughout the poem. Another thing I like about the poem is the long sounds of the words “black, blade, bleeds, blood.” It’s a bit hard to understand, but it’s like the longer sound the words have, the more doom may be coming. That’s what this poem is kind of like to me: it has longer sounding words, so doom must be coming. The poem helped in because I could play with the sounds of the words and still make a story out of it. I just need to pay attention more and to really listen to the sound of words.  
-- Sorry this was a little late to come onto the blog.


them there eyes
The sound of her voice was like drips of water at Indian caverns during late autumn in southern
How he longed for that damp air.
Uncanny underneath Earth.
One could sense the presence of ancient ancestors.
Almost hear the echo of drums, chanting, if silent for periods of time.
He missed the feeling he received of being surrounded by plentiful geo rocks.
Splitting one open would just remind him of the color of her eyes.
Kris G W Kasotis

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Journal #4 _ Maggie Lacy

I think that the most helpful chapter throughout our reading has been chapter six. I like chapter six because I tend to write about the things that I find significant or extremely important to me. Though this isn't always a bad thing and tends to make many poems feel more real through experience and imagery, I find myself writing about the same things. Chapter six encourages you to step out past your comfort zone and to be willing to explore the unknown. Don't be afraid to go down the street you've never been down or try a new experience. You never know where your biggest inspiration will come from. On page 99 it says "...use imagination to make an experience real for the reader". I think that this is also very important. Don't forget to make everything that you experienced and experience for the reader as well. It is my goal and I thoroughly enjoy reading poems where I can feel what the writer is feeling.

I believe that the poem that has taught me the most would be on page 65

When I was younger
it was plain to me
I must make something of myself.
older now
I walk back streets
admiring the houses
of the very poor:
roof out of line with sides
the yards cluttered
with old chicken wire,ashes,
furniture gone wrong;
the fences and outhouses
built of barrel-staves
and parts of boxes, all,
if I am fortunate,
meared with a bluish green
that properly weathered
pleases me best
of all colors.
           No one
will believe this
of vast import to the nation.
                         -William Carlos Williams

I like this poem for a couple different reasons. One of the reasons that I like this poem is because it was the first time that I saw a drop-line that really made sense to me. With this dropped-line I can feel
the alteration that the poem takes with that line. It really sort of makes that fact that no one will believe what he's thinking and that he's basically alone. Also, I liked this poem because it also helped me recognize the drag, advanced, and balanced. I have a hard time hearing the stress on the syllables and this poem helped me to recognize that stresses really do matter and have a large impact on the poem. I also like how short the lines are, it adds a sort of punch to the poem. I can never figure out how I want to divide my poems and how much punctuation to use. This poem helps me recognize that you can't really be wrong. Whether short or long, your poem is your poem and it just needs to make you happy with how its composed.


I find it difficult to select one chapter in our text that I find more beneficial over another. Overall each reading seems to have its own importance in a distinct way.

Although, the first and third sections have ideas in which I enjoy using while I compose poetry.

In chapter one Starting Out: An Introduction the word Syntax is placed. Syntax is the makeup of the phrases, clauses, and sentences used in writing poems. I find value in this term mainly since it stems from Greek origin. Secondly, it is the power behind poetry. “Syntax is the poem’s muscle; flexing or relaxing those muscles lends the poem its strength and agility”. [9] A list of principles as reference for syntactical qualities of good writing can be found on page eight in our reading. I believe these rules are neat and will be useful to all types of writers. I find the fourth principle reasonable, but I enjoy its out-dated use. “4. Avoid antiquated and high poetic diction”. [8] Even though it sounds goofy to many viewers I treasure the usage of the old-tongue in poems of previous writers and in my own poetry.

In chapter three Making the Line another term, Elision, is located. Elision is the exclusion of an unstressed syllable when followed by another unstressed syllable. This style of writing was popular to eighteenth century poets…to be continued

Metaphor Poems from class

The exercise was to write four metaphors each to complete the following two lines:

Your touch feels like. . .
The sound of your voice is like. . .

Out of those metaphors, you choose your best three of the eight.
With a partner, you choose one of the triggering lines as a title, and added a setting to the title.
Then you started the poem with one metaphor and built the poem and stanzas from there, with each of you contributing alternating lines or some other form of shared composition.

Here are the results:

Remy and Katie

Your Touch Feels Like
1942 in New York City 

Sometimes your touch feels like
a silky robe,
hot tea on a cold day
or a warm pan on a stove.

But sometimes your touch feels like
a million fire ants,
burning hot coals,
and a hard stale gummi candy.

Flo and Ammar

The Great Depression in America--
Your Touch Feels Like 

The coldness
of marble on a winter day,
an angel that sins,
or a million snake skins
waving against all that is good.

Like sandpaper
against rough wood,
like boiling blood, like
the flashing flames in a flood.

Coral and Jana

The Sound of your Voice (is Annoying)

The sound of your voice is like a baby crying
Or when a husband watches the terrifiying miracle of birth.

The touch of your soft skin is like baby poop,
But your voice is like monkies fighting over a banana.

Can't get enough of your touch like ice cream
or free candy in the library.

Alexis and David
1920 in a Coffee Shop in Paris

The sound of your voice is like. . .
     the smell of apple pie
     an old T-shirt
     or the new bristles of a paint brush.

Like someone
     chewing with her mouth open
     or wasps landing
     in poison.

Sarah and Tyson

The Sound of Your Voice Is Like 2014 in Marion, Ohio

Your voice is like listening to a baby cry through the night.
     Like tacos on my tongue.
     Like a pedophile claiming innocence.

     Like a warm summer breeze.
     Like a psychopath, feeling less.
Like a delicate flower in full bloom.

Samantha and Kris

The Sound of your Voice Is Like 
Dreaming In 19(Hundred)61
At the Drive-In Theater 
Over By The Railroad Tracks
Behind the Ice Cream Stand 
Across The Ohio River Near Cincinnati

Your touch is like a hurricane
                              of throwing stars
like some sweet
                                classical music
or the smell of rotting

Like those constantly
           yelling neighbors, the sound
of a tattoo                machine
like                    rugburn.


2042 Orion: The Sound Of Your Voice

is like jet-lag on a leap year,
a new experience I am scared of,
or Anastasia amnesia.

It's like heaven--I have nothing
to fear like shady shadows,
like jet-lag (with?) leap year.

like electric waterflows.

Wow.  Lots of great language here!

Language is where it all starts.  Then get creative.  Use the line.  Use space to compose.  Be imaginative.  Use punctuation.  There are so many possibilities.

Great job students and fun to see what you came up with.  Hope you don't mind the tweaks and playing around I did with the forms, just to show some variety of approaches and what is possible.

Mike Lohre

David Journal #4

1) My favorite chapter is chapter 3. I never knew there were 7 levels of stress and when I read this chapter it made me really think about the sounds of my poem more. I can now appreciate some of the great poets more. During my poet presentation, I really noticed the way Poe stressed and unstressed words in The Raven. Everything sounds so good and pleasing to the ear with his use of stresses and rhymes. I would really like to learn this so that my poems will not only have a good message but hopefully sound pleasing to the ear.  Rhyming is difficult but I feel like I can look up words that rhyme. They might not be on the levels of famous poets but it gets the job done. However, before reading this chapter I knew certain poems sounded good and fit well but I didn't know why. It made me want to keep reading and left me with a sense of curiosity but now when I read a poem I look for stresses.


Poem by William Carlos Williams

As the Cat
climbed over
the top of

the jamcloset
first the right

then the third
stepped down
into the pit of
the empty

The poem that taught me the most is probably Poem by William Carlos Williams. At first I thought it was a confusing poem and there had to be a reason he got rid of all the punctuation. The way he omits punctuation and the way he breaks lines really lets the reader focus on the sounds. It's like he plays with our minds in this poem. I really feel the imbalance of the cat as it's walking. The sounds just teeter and totter and I think it's so cool that someone is able to do that. The whole first stanza is just moving back and forth. Each line had a stress in a different word: the "cat" in the first line, "climbed" in the second, and "top" in the last line. This really lets me see the cat move from the right to the left. This really makes me want to be able write using stresses like this. Even a poem so simple as this can sound so good and really imprint an image in my mind.

Journal #4

The Chapter that has helped me the most would have to be Chapter 6. This is because it showed me that anything could be the subject matter of a poem. It doesn't have to only have deep topics like life, love, or death. It could be about the flower outside your window or the way the breeze hits your face. Most of the time when I go to write a poem I want to write about what I'm feeling at that moment. The novel gives a technique that poets can use to demonstrate their feelings in a different way. "We're all tempted to write poems that spill out our feelings and proclaim our thoughts. And poets, of course, do express themselves, though rarely as directly as it may seem.... using sensory information and showing a sad scene allows the reader to experience sadness" (98). The poet can use different perspectives to show an emotion like William Matthews did in "Men at My Father's Funeral". Instead of just using the view of someone standing in front a coffin he described the view of someone with his back to the coffin.

The Poem "Arms and the Boy" on page 87 has taught me the most so far:

Arms and the Boy

Let the boy try along this bayonet-blade
How cold steel is, and keen with hunger of blood;
Blue with malice, like a madman's flash;
And thinly drawn with famishing for flesh.

Lend him to stroke these blind, blunt bullet-leads
Which long to nuzzle in the hearts of lads,
Or give him cartridges of fine zinc teeth,
Sharp with the sharpness of grief and death.

For his teeth seem for laughing round an apple.
There lurk no claws behind his fingers supple'
And God will geo no talons at his heels,
Nor antlers through the thickness of his curls.

This poem taught me about different kind of rhyming. I always use exact rhyming like blood, flood, hat, bat. I've never really tried to branch out and use slant rhyme like Owens did when he used blade/blood and flash/flood. The wording still flows beautifully as it's being read. The line that meant the most to me as " and thinly drawn with famishing for flesh". The alliteration used here is exquisite and really adds to the poem.

Remy: Journal #4

1)   The chapter that helped me the most was chapter 3 Making the Line (I).  This was the most helpful because it made me focus more on how I write my poems in the sense of meter and sound. When I looked at poems I liked it was mostly because of their rhyme or how they sounded based on their structure. I learned that how its written can really affect the vibe of the poem. If it’s choppy and rhymey it will have a different feel than a smooth and longer sounding one. It was really cool how they drew out the changes in stress and unstressed with the lines and dots. Marking out the stresses will really help me with the sounds of my poems, so that’s a helpful technique that I learned.

2)   A poem that I really liked was The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams. It was such a simple and short poem. But it sort of leaves me wondering and thinking what more the wheelbarrow could be used for. It taught me that I don’t have to be descriptive and elaborate. I don’t have to spell out a meaning. The meaning of the poem should vary by the reader, Williams did a great job of this by leaving this poem wide open “so much depends / upon / a red wheel / barrow” I thought it was interesting when he split the word wheelbarrow. This whole poem just left me wondering and thinking about it. I really liked how he did that with something so simple.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Katie: Journal 4

1.         Chapter five has definitely been the most helpful to me so far.  “The Sound (and look) of Sense” has provided for me some nice structure when it comes to organizing poetry. Changing a poem to better match its purpose is something that I had never thought about in depth or systematically, and is something that I could perceive to be very useful in the future.  I usually just seem to throw poems together and edit it until it sounds good, but I like the way this chapter highlights what the different types of stanzas can do for a poem in such a textbook-like way.  It has just really provided some structure for me.
I would really love to learn to use my stanzas to better create the feeling I wish to create in the poem.  Using couplets for focus and contrast, tercets for “tension,” and quatrains for balance could be a great way to create the mood of a poem.  Again, I usually just seem to slap a stanza together without much thought.  I also tend to use “closed” stanzas most, if not all, of the time.  I would like to use “open” stanzas more often, since it creates a different dynamic.  In summary, I would just like to be more strategic about how I craft my stanzas.

2.           My favorite example so far has been “We Wear the Mask” by Paul Laurence Dunbar, which can be found in chapter 7 on pages 122-123.

We Wear the Mask

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes,
This debt we pay to human guile;
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties.

Why should the world be overwise,
In counting all our tears and sighs?
Nay, let them only see us, while
   We wear the mask.

We smile, but, O great Christ, our cries
To thee from tortured souls arise.
We sing, but oh, the clay is vile
Beneath our feet, and long the mile;
But let the world dream otherwise,
   We wear the mask.

            The first thing I noticed as I read this was the rhyme, and how it strings things along in the poem.  For example, “We wear the mask that grins and lies, // It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes” is a couplet, which has a lot of strength and draws me in quickly.  I also think the rhyming gives the poem a sort of eerie tone. 
In addition, there’s a certain musicality and rhythm to the words.  I believe the first four lines are in iambic pentameter, and the fifth deviates from that, creating an interesting contrast in rhythm.  In the following stanza, lines six and seven seem to have their own rhythm, while eight and nine differ, again, creating contrast at the end of the stanza, and drawing attention to the line “We wear the mask”.  In the final stanza, lines ten to thirteen seem to be in iambic pentameter, fourteen seems to follow the pattern of six and seven, and then fifteen differs significantly again.  I’ve learned the use of rhythm and the music of the English language is powerful.  In this particular example, it strings me along, and draws attention to the lines at the ends of the stanzas. 

A final note I’d like to make, since the chapter this is in is on metaphor, is how this metaphor for the human condition better explains it than if it were put plainly into words.  The metaphor of a mask shows that we all hide ourselves, from others, and we pretend to be perfect or “fine”, when in reality we’re not.  But it sounds so much better when it’s put into metaphor.  I suppose that sometimes it is just better to use a vehicle to explain the tenor than to just try to explain the tenor as is.

Tyson's Journal 4

I think the first few chapters about the structure and definitions in poetry helped the most.  I enjoy learning new words as well as the foundation of the art.  It has better helped me to understand what goes into writing poetry and how difficult it can be if the author puts a large amount of effort into it.

One idea that really makes sense to me is probably not from the book but something from class. Doing something different.  Being forced into new styles and trying new things has varied my own style.  Instead of writing the same poem over and over, I am now writing something new, and I can now take my old style and apply a new twist to it.

I haven't learned a great deal from the poems themselves but better the discussions before or during the reading of a poem.  They make for good illustrations of new ideas.  Without one of the poems we read in class (sorry I forget which one it was) I would not have learned what assonance is, nor have used it recently to the point it will stick to memory.  I can't remember the exact line so instead I will include my own, that I thought was clever....   "I pontificate my pain pompously" ....Assonance and redundancy.  I love it. 

Another thing I have enjoyed is playing with stops and line breaks.  This has given poetry a whole new meaning and is awesome to be able to mislead the reader into thinking something else before a twist.

I hate everything about poetry,
of those who don't write poetry.
In truth I love poetry,
when I'm not writing it.

I don't think this would work as well without those line breaks at the commas. 

Sam's Journal #4

So far I would say Chapter 6 on Subject Matter has helped me the most, particularly the sections about Imagery and Resonant Detail. What is written about how imagery is not just visual I find to be very true. I could write a poem about coffee and cigars, but that is probably going to be very flat unless I include the taste or feel of either of them, which qualifies as imagery in the poem. I think it's very important to remember this when we write poetry because well, you don't want a flat poem do you?
    2) The poem used in this section taught me a lot. The poem is written by Theodore Roethke called, My Papa's Waltz. The first two lines use very vivid descriptions,

"The whiskey on your breath
Could make a boy dizzy;"

It tells me a couple of things, his dad is likely an alcoholic, also, that is a lot of booze to be on someone's breath. Those are very specific things we're being told. The type of alcohol, not just any, whiskey. We're also being told the amount he's consumed, which it sounds like enough to make anyone attempt to dance a waltz and knock pans off the shelf. I read this poem and envision it from the boy's perspective. That's mostly due to the details that Roethke has pulled out and put into the poem, however, very important elements that give us a sense of where the speaker of the poem is during the events written about in the poem.

1) The previous poem is also a good example of resonant detail,

 "My mothers countenance/ Could not unfrown itself."

"At every step you missed/ My right ear scraped a buckle."

"Then you waltzed me off to bed/ still clinging to your shirt"

These are significant details to Roethke that he felt were important to include in the poem. We get a sense of where he is during the events of the poem, as I said above, in the second line. The boy in the poem is right at waist level to his Papa. We also get a sense in the last line I quoted above that the boy isn't afraid of his father, he might be drunk but he isn't afraid of him. He's clinging to him "like death," not trying to escape and hide. There aren't a huge amount of details in this poem, but the ones that are present tell us a lot about the moment Roethke is writing about.

I'm always glad to be reminded of the importance of Imagery because I do tend to tell rather than show, poetry is much more powerful when things are shown rather than told. The same with details, every detail isn't necessary, so make the ones you put in count.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Remy's Journal #3

1) Hugo had told several short stories throughout the book, I think he did this because he was really trying to get his point across. He tried to use stories that people may relate to or that might speak to them in a way that just explaining an idea would. My favorite short story was about the jazz trombonist, Hugo was saying that he was so good that when he would go up to solo he would forget everything he knows, his point was that once you have enough technique with writing you can almost forget it because it just comes naturally. He then quotes Jack Nicklaus: "after [he] had chipped a shot in from a sand trap, "That's pretty lucky." Nicklaus is suppose to have replied "Right. But I notice the more I practice, the luckier I get." I really liked that and it spoked to me. The more practice I get with things whether it be writing, music, or sports,  the more I practice, the better I'll be.

2) I really liked the poem from James Wright, the point that Hugo tried to make from this was that he believes that if anyone obsesses enough or tries enough, that they will find a way to write. I like it because it makes me think if I really do try hard enough I can actually write good poems. I need to believe in what I'm writing though and not try to write a good poem to say I did, I need to really just write about something I am passionate about and hopefully over time a good poem will come from it.

3) I really liked the theme of practice or repetition. He really tried to pound the idea that if you try hard enough or if you do it long enough, you will get better. It really made a difference for me, rather than spending thirty minutes on writing a poem, if i spend an hour or two really working on it, going through ideas, the best of them will shine. Making a better poem and a better poet out of myself. Practice is important with anything and it was something Hugo stressed a lot.

Flo's Journal 3

Prompt #1: A lot of Hugo's stories that he told in his book were rather influential on me, but there was one that stuck out the most. This story comes from chapter 8. It's about when Hugo and his wife return to Italy with only enough money to last them a year and then they would be broke and jobless. Hugo wrote about his worries because he had never not had a permanent plan. In this case they were just winging it after there year of money was gone. One of my favorite lines from the passage was when he wrote, "I seemed to use poems to create some adequate self. A sissy in life, I would be tough in the poem" (Hugo, 79). It just shows how you can be whoever you want in poetry even if you're in a horrible in your life. He used an example of his poem "Index" and stated that when he went back and looked at it he didn't understand it anymore. I think that's okay. It's what he felt at that moment when he wrote it and even though he didn't understand it later on it was his way of release. I believe Hugo uses personal stories in a book about craft and poetry writing because it's a way for him to not only connect with his readers, but because from his personal stories branched works of poetry/writings that involve the craft.

Prompt #2: I loved when Hugo suggested to use towns for a triggering subject. Use a town where you've never been before. It has no emotional connection to you so therefore you have a clean slate. The town can trigger something inside of you that you didn't even know was there. This is amazing to me. In Chapter 3 Hugo uses the whole chapter to describe various elements that the towns could withhold. Such as "I have lived there all my life and should have left long ago but couldn't" (Hugo, 19). Compared to the other example he used, "People who hated it and left long ago are wealthy and living in south america", (Hugo, 24). This just shows that anything could branch out from the poems. Someone that is stuck and can't leave compared to someone who hated it and couldn't get out of there fast enough ended up being successful. These example taught me that you could honestly write whatever you feel and from that the rest will create itself as you go.

David's Journal #3

2.        When I enrolled in this class, one of my impressions of poetry was that it was a way to escape reality and be a different person. Hugo kind of said the same thing when he said "I seemed to use the poems to create some adequate self. A sissy in life, I would be tough in the poem" (79). The example that immediately follows that quote is my favorite and the one that taught me the most. Hugo even says that the man in "The Index" is forced to accept reality. He wrote this during the period he was in the war so the poem was clearly influenced by his war experiences. I really like how he is completely different as a person than he is when he wrote this poem. Hugo also says that he changed and no longer understands it but I like how he completely changed who he was at the time and put himself in a different mindset to be able to write that poem. This is the kind of poetry I was looking for when I enrolled in this class.

3.        One of the best examples of vulnerability I could find was in the chapter "Ci Vediamo." His poem "Centuries near Spinnazola" really showed his vulnerability. After walking for hours and no hope for a ride, he just laid down. This sense of hopelessness showed how vulnerable he was in that situation, willing to lie down on the road. I thought it was informative because instead of escaping reality, his vulnerability embraced it. Sometimes you just can't escape and you just have to accept it. The poem that he wrote about was almost exactly of his experiences. The moment when we hit our lowest point, is the moment that will change your life. It might not have changed his life but it definitely had a large impact on his life for him to write about it. I have a lot of respect for Hugo for being able to share that with his readers.

a lesson in style_sirk

We can gain Hugo’s most powerful lessons in his Nuts and Bolts segment of The Triggering Town. I say, most powerful lessons, since after all Richard is not attempting to instruct the reader how to write. His goal is to coach the student to teach oneself how to write.

Noted as merely suggestions, his rules are straightforward. He claims “If they are working, they should lead you to better writing”. [43] However, I do not agree with every suggestion Hugo has offered here, specifically Richard’s stance on semicolons. “No semicolons. Semicolons indicate relationships that only idiots need defined by punctuation. Besides, they are ugly”. [40] Ugly? How could he be so vain to criticize such a neat punctuation mark? Plus, how could I ever make a winking face grammatically correct? Anyways, what Hugo really is saying is that if you believe a semicolon is needed to join the ideas in your work because the connection isn’t that obvious; you must be an idiot.

Swallows hit

the dead end of sky in St. Ignatius

then turn on themselves. Long ago

Indians thanked the church

and changed into trees. Tired of fishing

boys throw a dog off the bridge.

The emphasis on style is a wonderful lesson observed through the progression of this poem. As Hugo walks us along the process of discussion, “the swallows remain to account for the Indians and the boys, as if Indians and boys had no right in the poem without some relationship with the swallows”. [43] This position is stated as a result to the original version of the poem. The reoccurrence of the swallows seems overused to make a connection previously inferred; as does a semicolon. Hugo goes further to tell us, “Once something is established it is left, not used to make sure the next thing belongs”. [44] A side critique is established at this point. It offers that some viewers may find him ‘limiting the young poet’s chance of writing a good poem early’ in which he agrees, but the true lesson learned emphasizes style as the binding force and to promote faith in the imagination. Hugo comments that this minor setback could potentially lead the immature artist to a fuller aspect. This young poet’s piece consists of three excellent sentences. “Connections are not stated, yet we know the three statements are connected. They are connected because the same poet wrote all three. That is, they are products of one vision that, along with style, becomes the adhesive force. This adhesive force will be your way or writing”. [45] I find this informal lecture the most powerful lesson Hugo can explain to his readers. He is in fact showing us how we will find our own way or writing, which is his main objective.

Truth appeared to be a frequent theme I noticed at various times throughout the reading. Hugo is quite frankly honest when he writes, as many of us have observed. This honesty shares characteristics with the idea of truth, or they could be seen as one in the same. As we begin our text, Writing off the Subject speaks first of this truth with two attitudes Hugo believes writers carry to the page. “One is that all music must conform to truth. The other, that all truth must conform to music”. [3] Some of our classmates enjoyed this quotation and touched on its importance at earlier times. I find value in Richard’s words since he believes the first will limit the writing of poems to the ‘very witty and clever’ and claims ‘you are jeopardizing my livelihood as well as your chances of writing a good poem’ by accepting truth in this attitude. Hugo accepts the later approach hinting a dash of humor of his employment as a writer while speaking of ‘love the sounds of words’ making the acquisition ‘try to stop us’ as poets who are passionate in their cause. In Statements of Faith the line “However a poet feels about himself, he feels it in such a way that at moments he can play with the feeling”. [71] strikes heavily on the theme of truth. Showing truth to oneself to the extent of toying with one’s emotions is an unlimited ability everyone should share. The poem by A. R. McCollister found in How Poets Make a Living also mentions the concept of truth. His line “I only lost homes in my lifetime”. [107] spreads icing on the cake. The Admiral cannot display any more truth in his faithful words. After the eviction, he and his wife took their only worldly possessions ‘old pieces of dirty rags, hunks of wood, maybe even stones’ with them to a property the Admiral claimed he owned, with the loss of only a home. Richard Hugo, as the Admiral, shows truth and lives for the primitive attribute exhibited by A. R. McCollister. “no job accounts for the impulse to find and order those bits and pieces of yourself that can come out only in the most unguarded moments, in the wildest, most primitive phrases we shout alone at the mirror”. [109] is the truth Hugo explains as he answers the question he asked at the beginning of How Poets Make a Living, which asks the differences for a poet between the real world and academia. Truth is an evident theme appearing commonly in The Triggering Town and I find it understandable why Hugo would want his students to learn from truth, since being truthful is a highly pursued quality.


"Feel lonely” (5)? This is the first question Hugo asked me. My answer. . . I feel lonely. Or I don`t feel lonely.

“Jim Wright was one of the few students who was writing well in Roethke`s classes” (32). Coral and I are studying James Wright right now and I was pleasantly pleased to see him referred to in Hugo`s book.

“. . . . . fucking around” (33). I like the non-censorship.

“. . . . . a good poem sounds meant enough to be believed” (34). I get that feeling from some pieces more than others. Sometimes it is just the way someone tells a story. Hugo tells stories and yes they are meant to be believed.

“Madness is crippling anywhere but in art . . . . . “ (35). I am a mad man with the arts and it is a wonderful way to be crippling.

“ . . . .  we know almost nothing about creativity, where it comes from, what causes it” (35). Yes, this is true. Just like no one knows . . .

“. . . the feelings of worthlessness may become indistinguishable from the impulse to write” (68). I guess I have went through that phase of needing to feel necessary and using some sort of art form whether it be music or poetry, but I guess I do it know because I like to.  

“. . . is an outsider who wants desperately to be in” (69). This is a reminder of that stranger writing about a place that he has never been too. This is reflective in the lives of people like Hugo and Wright, and probably thousands of from there now here poets of their time.

“Snopes: . . . James Wright. . .” (69). The Hemingway`s character comparison seemed odd but I think I understand the writing style of the outsider / insider in Hugo`s analogy.

“. . .without fingering their fathers” (69). This line stepped out of the book for me because I could never imaging fingering fathers. That is such a betrayal.

“. . .self-hatred and creative impotency” (69). I have felt that I am not so much good enough days myself. Because I know I suck I guess I don`t have anything to be ashamed of.

“Feelings of worthlessness can give birth to the toughest and most welcome critic within” (70). I battle the writers worse critic every day. I know exactly what Hugo is talking about here. I guess I am like him in a way that my work is never good enough and the thing that keeps my head up sometimes it someone enjoying the piece.

“When you have done your best, it doesn`t matter how good it is. That is for others to say” (71). Exactly and that is another reason we should just go crazy with the words and see what it looks like later, maybe.

“An act of imagination is an act of self-acceptance” (71). If you are willing to express yourself you are also in a freedom of self-entrapments. So, let it go free.

“All art is failure” (72). Well, I could disagree with that a bit because I won’t know how the art turns out until the artist is finally ready to reveal the truth behind the creation. Until then it is safe to say that art is fun and fun is not a failure.

“. . .the New Criticism. . .” (72). Words are counted, checked in for their color, taste and texture. Analysed over criticized and steering in and out of several meanings of each and every possibility. Whether it be the meaning or not. New Critics can take a piece for its weight in the universe.

“. . . writing was a slow, accumulative way of accepting one`s life as valid” (72). I guess it is true. It took me a long time to actually want to write. I guess I thought I could be the president or something and right the next more perfect union song for the masses to listen to. Maybe then my life would have function/purpose for future generations to learn from.

“I fell in love with a sad land, and I wanted it sad one more time” (76). I felt bad that he wanted to see the destruction but at the same time that safe place wouldn`t have had the same feeling as it did when the place as a wreck.

“On bad days, the Italians were our enemies” (77). That is like having FRIENIMIES.

“. . . Blabbermouth Hugo” (78). This was just remembered because not only is he spilling the beans in the story he is telling a lot about himself and others in this book and that could be considered by some critics as blabbermouthish. I don`t know though, he seems to be calling himself out on that too.

“A sissy in life, I would be tough in the poem” (79). Hugo reminds me of Ferdinand the Bull. He is this war guy that just wants to lie in the grass. This also exhibits his honest feelings about himself and again revealing that worst critic feller on the shoulder.

“The countryside was green with grain and the weather pleasantly warm” (81). I love the wording here. Just say the line a few times. It is like music.

“. . .finger-pistol-packing . . .” (81). This was catchy to me.

“to go anywhere on our own . . . . we hitchhiked” (82). I won’t forget his stories of about getting to and from the base hitchhiking and how I felt his frustration when no one would stop.

“Each flight seemed tougher as my imagination worked overtime. . .” (83). It is not easy for most war time guys to talk about it. Hugo is not one of those guys that makes it look easy, but shows you how hard it is to do. Just read it.

“. . . I was in a town I`d never seen. . .” (83). This is something I will not forget about this semester. It has been a reoccurring theme in the study of Roethke, Hugo, Wright, and other Snopes out there.

This next one is the paragraph of the book, the ends of all ends and the point well taken by this reader. By fare my favorite part of the book.

“After I`d walked for well over an hour, I sat down to rest by a field of grass. I was tired, dreamy, the way we get without enough sleep, and I watched the wind move in waves of light across the grass. The field slanted and the wind moved uphill across it, wave after wave. The music and motion hypnotized me. The longer the grasses moved, the more passive I became. Had I walked this road when I was a Child? Something seemed familiar. I didn`t care about getting back to the base now. I didn`t care about the war. I was not a part of it anymore” (83).

That is how I hope it will be. Nice and peaceful. Man Hugo needed that peace and quiet and clears out of his mind everything even for that exhausting moment. I won’t forget his story any time soon.

“I would sit here forever and watch the grass bend in the wind and the war would end without me. . .” (84). Again this line here is awesome too. It sounds so Leaves of Grass by Whitman.  

“ . . .like you want every friend you ever had to be there with you” (86). Sometimes I feel that way to. Times are just so good at the bar you wish more glasses were there to be raised. But he had the wife and the old dude there with him, right. Seriously I get that wish they were here feeling sometimes. I like how he worded it here.

“. . .very much like that field of grass I still had to find” (86). Echo of Whitman. I feel that way at least.

“. . . I imagined one might contact VD just looking at the photo” (89). I won’t forget that writing has nothing to hide only the writer can bring details and think of a joke about something exposed about some G.I.s and a few hookers.

“Simmons. . .” (91). Fuck that guy. Some kid didn`t get to have his or her willing father. Simmons was a dick and Hugo let us know all about it.

“Not good enough” (93). Hugo always seems to be that bad guy to his pieces. I guess If he thinks they are failures . . . then he is probably right.

“I was sometimes mistaken for a homosexual” (93). Shocking part.

“I caught myself wondering if he had been homosexual” (93). Shocking someone else’s part.

“. . .certainty we would be killed” (94). I felt the fear for Hugo and his buddies, getting killed, surviving, and going home. It must have been horrible.

“. . .in a world of men he remained, like me, a boy. . .” (94). So know he is telling me that the homo-erotic thoughts were just child-like innocents. Not that it matters but is he gay or straight? It is just unclear exactly what he is saying.

“Battle of the Bulge began” (94). Death, death, and more death.

“. . .he blew his stomach open with a .45 . . .” (95). Sad ass story here about a suicide over a dear John letter right while the doctors fixed him up. Horrible.

“I didn`t know how good the poem would be but it would be honest. . .” (96). I don`t know if I like Hugo`s poems so much, but I like his writing and honest feelings that are felt through it.

“. . .I sat down on the stairs and had a good cry too” (98). Yes, if I think about it too much I might be sitting on those steps with ghosts, crying too. But that good old grass sounds so much better to go lie in.

“. . .hope that humanity will always survive civilization” (109). The Admiral and his wife here are a cap stone to this piece. I think that we need to hear these kinds of things. I think that they should have built the guy a fucking house somewhere. They could have shown us how compaction really can work and Hugo would have written a poem about how cool civilization is when it comes to humanities, but know. With Hugo and this world in general . . . the truth will come out of the art-work.

“I like students because they are not far removed from being children, and that bond between us” (109). Man, I feel like a kid too. I don`t ever want to grow up.

“And teaching gives me a personal satisfaction no other job ever did” (109). That is another thing, I have so much fun. . . . at least trying. . . . to help . . . . anyone . . . everyday. . . because it again is fun. Sometimes I am not very good at helping though as sure as some failure will be at my doorstep, I`m sure.

“. . .like The Admiral and his wife we are all going into the dark. Some of us hope that before we do we have been honest enough to scream back at the fates. Or if we never did it ourselves, that someone, derelict or poet, did it for us once in some euphonic way our inadequate capacity for love did not deny our hearing” (109). Again, the story of the ho-bo-zz at Boeing is just to show us that richness is in the eye of the innocent . . . for they can see the truth.   

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Jana's Journal # 3

One thing everyone will notice reading The Triggering Town By Richard Hugo is that he is a storyteller. Throughout his book he has told numerous stories and has many poems in it too. Hugo is a passionate writer, and honest one too. You can see what he says throughout his book its all honesty from his point of view. The two promotes I have decided to talk about are 1 and 2.
1. Their is plenty of stories that caught my attention in this story but theirs this one story that I found to be very important to the story. Which is "I've been seriously advised to take drugs, to avoid drugs, to eat only seafood, to live on welfare, to stop drinking (good advice it turned out), to drink more (at one time an impossibility), to avoid sex, to pursue sex, to read philosophy, to avoid philosophy. Once someone told me I should master every verse form known to man. A poet is seldom hard up for advice. The worst part of it all is that sometimes the advice is coming from other poets, who should know better." (P100)

This story affected me the most its because I was shocked that Richard Hugo was being that open and honest when writing this story. Most would never talk about the things he have said. He has told us what other poets and none poets tell him to do to get inspired to write a well and he just acts like they should know better to not do those things. However some poets and other famous people do very well in a different state of mind. I think Hugo wants us, his readers to know more about him through his reading that's why he tells very personal stories.

3. "McKensie broke the silence with applause. She raved approval, and we realized we had just heard a special moment in a person's life, offered in honesty and generosity, and we better damn well appreciate it. It may have been the most important lesson one can teach. You are someone and you have a right to your life. Too simple? Already covered by the Constitution? Try to find someone who teaches it. Try to find a student who knows it so well he or she doesn't need it confirmed." (p65)
Hugo once again is telling a story that happened to him when he was younger. There is a few things i seen in this story that I learned where it could be put under like one it can be under honest and idea. Idea because " you are someone and you have a right to your life" that to means you don't have to take nothing from anyone because you run your own life. It follows under honesty because its a real honest story and he shares his point of view in it too.

Ammar's reflection on the book

Option 1:
Hugo had a plethora of personal stories in this book. This came as a surprise to me because it is not something expected out of a literature and poetry book; but it proved to be very effective. The story that resonated with me the most was when he was knocking the phrase "the real world". It goes as follows:

“I hate that phrase "the real world." Why is an aircraft factory more real than a university? Is it? In universities I've had in my office ex-cons on parole, young people in tears racked with deep sexual problems, people recently released from mental hospitals, confused, bewildered, frightened, hoping, with more desperation than some of us will ever be unlucky enough to know, that they will remain stable enough to stay in school, and out of hospitals forever. I've seen people so lovelorn that I've sat there praying as only an unreligious man can pray that I don't say something wrong, that I can spare their feelings, that I might even say something that will make their lives easier if only for a few moments. Sad drug addicts too. Not people you usually meet in industrial offices. . . In some ways the university is a far more real world than business.” 

This quote had an impact on me because of his strong example of all the different characters he has seen in a place such as a university office. He does a great job of making his points, which is the phrase "the real world" can not be simply thrown around and used as a label for certain settings. In his example, the university contained much more real world personalities and situations as opposed to an aircraft factory where not much emotion is displayed and everyone is robotically doing their work in anticipation of shift's end. According to Hugo, the real world expands far beyond business. 

I think Hugo uses so many personal stories in a book about writing because he truly believed that these stories had some deeper significance and can spark some kind of interest or bestow some kind of knowledge on the reader. I personally feel that he ties so many personal stories in to show that writing poetry is in fact a personal experience. He uses all these personal stories to show that everyone came from somewhere, and that's what makes writing unique. Only in writing can someone feel  free to simply let their thoughts out of their mind and let someone else experience them.

Option 3:

One of Hugo's most influential themes, in my opinion, was honesty. I don't think any quote portrays this theme more effectively than: 

“Never worry about the reader, what the reader can understand. When you are writing, glance over your shoulder, and you’ll find there is no reader. Just you and the page. Feel lonely? Good! Assuming you can write clear English (or Norwegian) sentences, give up all worry about communication. If you want to communicate, use the telephone. 

This quote is very powerful because it's instructing writer's to completely forget about the presence of others. If you really think about it, we are most honest in our thoughts; we think many things we wouldn't say out loud. Hugo wants that kind of honesty out of anyone's writing. We should completely disregard whether our writing is comprehensible or appropriate. Hugo seems to be stressing the importance of writing for ones self.

Maggie's Journal #3

1). Hugo is clearly a story-teller. The way he recalls his stories puts you right there with him. I believe that my favorite story that he told throughout this book was “Spinnazola” (82-84). The way that Hugo describes his battles with hitchhiking makes you furious for him. After being so frustrated and overwhelmed with the war, all he wanted to do was relax and unwind. It would be infuriating to spend hours on the side of the road – every single person refusing to help you, even other soldiers. However, it was not the hitchhiking part of this story that really got to me.
When Hugo finally arrived at his destination he sat down. Took a breath. And just let everything go. Something about this story just seems so familiar to me. Being absolutely stressed and overly involved, having lost sight of everything that matters. Every since of joy in the world. Hugo finally realized that he needed to just take a second and unwind. Watch the natural beauty that God had provided right before him. Or maybe, maybe he didn’t realize that. Maybe that’s all that his body would allow him to do. Hugo says, “…the doctor would explain it as a moment of surrender, when my system could no longer take the fear and the pressure and I gave up” (84). I cannot imagine always being in fear of your life, worrying what is to come next. However, I am more familiar with the feeling of surrender then I would like to be. And honestly, my life has gotten unimaginably better since I just laid down my cares.
3). Hugo touches on many important topics throughout his writing. Whether honesty, appreciation, obsession, or vulnerability, I believe that all of his topics are very important when related to life. That is one of my favorite things about Hugo. He doesn’t write about simple surface stuff. He doesn’t write what he thinks that people want to hear. Hugo writes the truth, even if it’s not exactly something that you want to hear. However, throughout this whole book there is one subject that has stuck with me. A reminder that every single person needs to hear. “You are someone and you have a right to your life. Too simple? Already covered in the Constitution? Try to find someone who teaches it. Try to find a student who knows it so well he or she doesn’t need it confirmed” (65). Hugo brings up a really valid point. This country was founded on the right to freedom. The right to life. However, often times it seems that people forget that. They spend precious time doing what other people want, fulfilling other people’s expectations instead of fulfilling their own dreams. People today are so concerned with what everybody else thinks it’s ridiculous. I honestly believe that people spend more time pondering what everyone else will think instead of thinking for themselves. It’s not right or fair to withhold thoughts and feelings just because it may not be what others want to hear. It’s time to realize that nobody deserves to be happier than you, fight for what you want. Don’t hold back.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Sam's Journal #3

3) One of the things that I liked the most about Hugo, the theme that also stuck out to me the most, was how he encouraged us as readers to be happy with your poems. Not in thinking that we're great and we should slack off writing our poems, but to be happy with our writing and to do it for our own person. I particularly liked the last paragraph of Chapter 7 where he says that,
"Every poem a poet writes is a slight advance of self and a slight modification of the mask, the one you want to be. Poem after poem the self grows more worthy of the mask, the mask comes closer to fitting the face. After enough poems, you are nearly the one you want to be, and the one you want to be closely resembles you." He concludes this paragraph saying that the happiness Eliot and Roethke spoke about is different because it has to do with how one feels about oneself (p73:74).
 So much of what Hugo talks about is the journey in writing. In talking about Eliot and Roethke, he's speaking about them toward the end of their writings. We need to remember that writing is a journey and it should be enjoyed. We aren't going to be there tomorrow, the next day, or this poem or the next. He concludes the paragraph saying that we should strive for "nearly" and "closely," not "exactly" and "perfectly" (74). I agree with this. Poetry is an art form, art is messy and the beauty of it is that it isn't perfect. Hugo talks about how we shouldn't get hung up on the exact details of what we write a poem about. We should write what sounds right. I think this is so important. While, as Hugo points out, there are times where we have to work hard at our poems, that work often will lead to poems that just flow out of the pen.

2) I think the poem that Hugo used to illustrate a point that taught me the most was 
poem with out a title that one of his students had written on page  43.

In St. Ignatius the swallows hit
the dead end of the sky
then turn on themselves. They fly over Indians
who thanked the church long ago
and  changed into trees, and over the boys
who are tired of fishing and throw a dog off the bridge

What I learned is that poems are most effective if you drop words that aren't important. So the previous poem goes from too many unnecessary words to this, which is beautiful.

Swallows hit
the dead end of the sky in St.Ignatius
then turn on themselves. Long ago
Indians thanked the church 
and changed into trees. Tired of fishing
boys throw a dog off the bridge.

What Hugo also taught me in this example is that its important to play with the line order and the words to see what works best.  Less words paint more of a picture in a poem. We don't need all of those extra words. It's fine to use them to get the poem out but then we can't forget a poem, we must go back and look it over, play with the words and find a more beautiful rhythm to the story being told.

We went 5 for 15 on the Journal 3 so far

In hitting in baseball, that would be awesome .333.

Good job Tyson, Katie, Sarah, Coral and Brian for hitting your deadline.  The rest of you I hope will get on here today and get it done even if it's late.  We've got a great conversation on Hugo started so far and let's keep it going so there's plenty to consider and reply!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Brian's Journal #3

I would say that chapter 8 contained the most useable influence.  The story lines and the short punchy comments brought the chapter together.  I feel that when addressing the subject of why the author used story lines it best said on page eight “note how definite the voice is”.  What that means is, experience in life helps to better build the characters and the body of the piece.  The better the use of life and connection with the story the stronger the writing.  I feel what Hugo is attempting to display is to use the tools provided and allow yourself to develop the piece.  A writer’s job is to stay true and express their story, while the content maybe stretched or items additionally added, a writer must write what they know.  Much like discussed previously it’s ok to repeat or find similar subject matter, because that what makes the piece yours.  What he’s saying is what has been pointed out throughout the book, stay true in your writing and use the tools provided.

Then I would have to say the most influential poem was also located in chapter eight.  On page eight Index, was a poem that held very similar skills which I’m currently trying to improve.  The piece shows much like the chapter discussion a strong narrative feel.  The poem intertwines the use of basic description, with a detailed description placing the reader in the environment.  It not only the narrative aspect that is apparent, but the use of line breaks, enjambment, and punctuation that extends the piece with great description.  The use of these items slow the process and allow the reader to enjoy the mental setting.  There have been several great pieces, but as you find the more you read poetry some sink in more than others.