Friday, February 7, 2014

Sarah's Journal 3

2.) It was difficult for me to choose just one example of Hugo’s technique to try to discuss. Hugo has a modern way of thinking and I find it refreshing. I had little to no experience writing poetry and reading The Triggering Town (a book by an experienced poet) has helped me tremendously; not to mention he believes that there is no right or wrong way to write poetry. (Which made it that much easier to find a place to start.) However after contemplating the options I had narrowed down, I've come to the conclusion that the technique that Hugo uses that has taught me the most occurs in Chapter 5 (Nuts and Bolts) on page 40.

To quote Hugo, “Beware certain words that seem necessitated by grammar to make things clear but dilute the drama of the statement. These are words of temporarily, causality, and opposition, and often indicate a momentary lack of faith in the imagination.”  Being an English major, grammar tends to be significant in my mind. I've been programmed since I started high school to know grammar,and to be grammatically correct with everything I write. Ergo, this was hard for me to comprehend until I read the excerpt from a poem.

                “But no one comes
                And the girl disappears behind folding doors
                While the bus grinds and lurches away.”

                “But no one comes
                The girl disappears behind folding doors
                The bus grinds and lurches away.”

Even without the word “while” I was able to understand what the poets was saying. My knowledge of the English language tells me that this is happening simultaneously and the word “while” is not necessary to the poem. While I have not written poems this way yet, having the knowledge of “no rules” and letting the readers mind do it’s glorious work, opens up a world of opportunity for me as a poet. I no longer have to grammatically correct with every thought I put on paper, which is something I never thought I would be able to do again. 

3.) It would be impossible to write this prompt without mentioning Chapter six (In Defense of Creative-Writing classes). Hugo expresses many themes in this chapter. A few of the themes being: honesty, vulnerability, courage and obsession, among others. However, the one that I believe to be the most important is honesty. Honesty, to me, is the most important because it doesn't just involve being honest, it involves being trustworthy, and open. Without these other qualities it is difficult to determine how honest something truly is. For example, Telling someone the truth, but only part of the truth, is just as much a lie, as a lie is. Which means you have to be open to the whole truth, and only then is it the truth.

The best example of this is on page 65. Hugo tells us about a shy boy (Hughes) that he described as “unnoticed, lonely, and miserable.” Hughes read something he had written, out loud during the class. His story was about a time in his life, when he was taken to a whorehouse, something that in this day and age, would normally result in punitive action, but read it anyway. Hugo stated that in hearing this story “we realized we had just heard a special moment is a person’s life, offered in honesty and generosity, and we better damn well appreciate it. It may have been the most important lesson I ever learned, maybe the most important lesson one can teach.” This is the best example of honesty, because Hughes use was open to being completely honest, which made his truth the whole truth. Which is something that you don’t come by as often in today’s society. 


  1. Sarah, so glad the book has been helpful for you and like that you addressed both theme and technique here. I like how you got specific with your line example and talked about grammar and how coordinating words can work differently in poems, because of that line break and the many other ways we can affect the sentence with title, line breaks, stanzas, punctuation, etc. Good specific example and look forward to seeing you try this stuff on the page in our coming poems!

  2. Sarah--super glad you brought up the example you did, I pretty much forgot about it. It really hit me too that words that seem necessary when speaking can actually take away from a poem. It's something that I also haven't thought about much in my poetry, and should be pretty liberating once one learns to use this technique effectively. And I also love the story you brought up with relation to honesty. I loved the importance it places on not only being honest about your life, but appreciating honesty from others. Like other people's lives matter. I think it's something we tend to underappreciate in our society, but is so incredibly important.

  3. This poems choice and line selections are a great example. The poet is building and giving life to the piece. As a writer one of the biggest challenges is to keep the reader enthralled. This section is a prime example of the writers ability to lead the piece through word choice and line breaks.


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