Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Katie: Journal 5

I'd like to start off by talking about Coral's poem, "Depression Speaks: Lights on the Tree."  There were many things I liked about this piece, but above all the bravery and chance it takes is commendable.  It captures this real, true human emotion that I think that we frequently just don't share with each other, or try to pretend doesn't exist.  The reading was absolutely incredible, and strong, not to mention emotional.  It gave me chills.  One of the things I liked was the way the colors of the Christmas tree lights were incorporated into the poem, where several times (maybe in each stanza?) they were compared to different things that upset the speaker.  Like "Dad is blue" or "Red like anger" and "Green is a coward."  There were more, but I didn't have them written down.  I enjoyed these comparisons because I wasn't sure how the title would tie in with the piece, but it turned out that it was beautifully combined.  This poem is just so strong.

Listening to this poem reminded me of times when I was in a similar state of mind, so it felt very relatable in that way.  You feel cynical and everything around you either reminds you of something that's a thorn in your side, or something you've done wrong.  So, in this case, even a Christmas tree can trigger the negative voices inside a person's mind.  The other thing I could really relate to was the repetition of, "It's all my fault," since that seems to be something that was said in my mind a lot when I'm in that mental state.  As for the story, I would guess that something has occurred, or is ongoing, that is bringing a great stress on the family.  It sounds like the father is responding with sadness, the mother with increased anxiety and the speaker with their depression, and feeling as though everything is their fault.  From the poem itself, I don't think I could tell specifically what had happened.  But I don't think I need to.  Because depression doesn't need an excuse to make you feel terrible--it's just going to do it anyway.  Since the poem is the depression speaking, I don't think the reason for the depression is all that necessary.  So to sum it all up: I really enjoyed this piece, and I love the way it was structured.

Secondly, I'd like to talk about Tyson's poem, "A Letter to Jack from Ohio," because I just couldn't get it out of my head.  The reading sounded very much like spoken word.  It also sounded really angry at first, but in the end it was kind of comical since at first I was expecting it to be to a real person, and then it wasn't.  Some words I had written down that I liked were "sting" and "inflict".  I liked the rhyme of "apple pies" with "decomposing flies" (which also was kind of funny because we'd already had two poems including the phrase).  I remember hearing "thorn in our side" a couple times, which adds to the collection of "i" sounds (pies, flies, side).  I don't remember how close these were to each other in the poem, but it still sounds nice. Another phrase I liked was "arbiter of inconvenience" just because it seemed very intelligent, like the speaker is smarter than Jack.  The last bit, "P.S. I think I speak for the entire Midwest." was just perfectly humorous.

So I spent the first part of this poem thinking that this Jack was a real person.  I couldn't help but think, "What a terrible person this Jack is.  Why doesn't he leave these poor people alone?" And then I had my suspicions later on, which were confirmed with the use of "Mr. Frost." Given this winter, I'm sure all of Ohio is perfectly happy to be rid of Jack and "no one will miss [him]".  So when I looked back, knowing who the poem was written to, I thought of it like it was the state of Ohio writing it, as if Ohio were a person.  So then I had to wonder who the wife and mother of Ohio was, metaphorically speaking.  I wondered if the mother was the U.S. in general, but as for the wife I'm drawing a bit of a blank.  A neighboring state?  Lake Eerie?  I don't know.  I suppose it doesn't really matter, I just found it fun to think about.  I loved the comical nature of this piece, and how it totally addresses this dumb winter we've had, and I especially love how it personifies the state and the winter itself.


  1. I died at "What a terrible person this Jack is. Why doesn't he leave these poor people alone?". That is hilarious. Oh man,Thanks for the response Katie. The bit about mother and wife were made up about actual people. I was hinting at that one of them was injured from a fall (ice) and the other I can't totally remember but I think I was making up something about my wifes car being damaged by the cold or something. I'd have to go pull the poem out to know for sure. Glad to hear you enjoyed it!

  2. Katie, there are times in my life where I wish I could paint. Your poem was so beautiful that I wish I could paint the sunrise you described in your poem. Even if I could paint, I wouldn't be able to get it right. Oh well. Anyway, thank you for the response. At this point in time, the curse that was on me and my family is over and we're all doing good. I'm doing good. I hope that you don't fall back into whatever made you go into that state of mind because I now know what it feels like and I very much don't want to go back.

    1. Thank you so much, I'm glad to hear you liked it! I'm also glad to hear that the curse on your family has lifted--such a blessing. :)


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