Friday, February 7, 2014

Katie: Journal 3

  1.        The story that most affected me was definitely the story of the Admiral and his eviction from company property.  This man, the Admiral, could have ended up squatting on the company’s property for countless reasons, but all we know is that he’s there and living with the basest habitable standard.  Here were people that Fortune had already not treated kindly, and yet they had to be evicted from the company property and dropped off in the middle of nowhere.  “…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.” (109). Hugo was the poet that screamed back at the fates for the Admiral.  I really thought this showed what poetry was about—finding your voice, or giving voice to the voiceless.  

   3.              Obsession struck me as an important topic that Hugo talked about, and it’s one that I certainly had not thought about much before.  Hugo mentions obsession in relation to triggering subjects, and vocabulary or sounds.  “All good serious poems are born in obsession,” (7).  A poem has to want to be written.  Throughout this course I’ve found that sometimes I will get my mind stuck on a subject, and I literally can’t write anything but what my mind is stuck on.  Alternatively, if my mind doesn’t stick on something, or if I choose to write about something my mind isn’t stuck on, my writing generally stinks.

                "If you are a private poet, then your vocabulary is limited by your obsessions,” (15).  Here Hugo says our vocabulary is the sum of the sounds and words we are obsessed with.  I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad thing, either.  I believe that keeping your words within your obsession results in poetry that you are more proud of.  But I think it also shows that we need to pick words that we like and find our obsessions with language so we can use them.  Then there’s the interesting notion that one person’s obsessions will vary from another’s, so when two people write a poem, their own distinct obsessions will show through even if they’re writing on the same subject.  I just found it interesting that infinite poems could be written on one thing, and they'd each be like a unique snowflakes. 


  1. Katie, very nice Journal. The fact that Hugo made a lesson out of the squatter and in many ways a hero tells us a lot about his heart. In my opinion, we have a lot of information and knowledge nowadays but I wonder how wisely we use it. Glad you are thinking more about the role of obsession in language as well. Our initial reaction might be that all obsessions are unhealthy. Not to Hugo!

  2. Katie, I totally know what you mean about the obsession thing. I tend to have my own obsessions this semester when it comes to writing. The same thing happens to me, if I don't write about what I'm obsessing over, my writing is awful. Another thing I've found is that I can write more than one poem about the same subject, and they turn out like unique snowflakes like you said. I definitely agree with you, I think obsession in writing is a good thing. I also think being obsessed with writing itself is what makes us writers. When we get that obsession about a subject it's like our creativity screaming to get what's in us out and if we don't listen, well the result is crappy. I'm glad you shared this because while I've seen it in my own reading, I glanced over it in Hugo's book and I didn't know other people felt this way.

  3. I love the way you related poetry being written about one subject, by different people as snowflakes. It was nice and accurate comparison. I've never looked at poetry with that perspective, but now that you say that and point it out, it's easy to look at it in that point of view. It's like that statement just gave me have an Epiphany. I also love the way to said "find our obsessions with language". We use language everyday, which can make it, at times, seem tired and overused. Finding the words that sound melodious to our ears as writers only comes with going outside of the the everyday language and using words for sound. Sometimes that may mean instead of just finding our obsession, we may have to take the time to re-find it.


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