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.
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.