Monday, February 24, 2014
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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.
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.
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.
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
of marble on a winter day,
an angel that sins,
or a million snake skins
waving against all that is good.
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.
chewing with her mouth open
or wasps landing
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
or the smell of rotting
Like those constantly
yelling neighbors, the sound
of a tattoo machine
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.
Poem by William Carlos Williams
As the Cat
the top of
first the right
then the third
into the pit of
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.
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.
Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Sunday, February 9, 2014
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 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.
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.
Saturday, February 8, 2014
"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.
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.
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!