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Friday, February 26, 2010

I found this video that aired 1/12/2010 about Philip Levine. It is really good! Hope you enjoy it!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Shorts this week (Saunders & Boyle)

Sea Oak

WoW! What an interesting story. I have to say that I don't think I have read anything with as much harsh language as I have today. I have to agree with Heidi this story was nasty! There was a lot going on in it between the characters lives, the language and the aunt coming back to life I think I got lost in the message of the story. I do have to say that the story captivated me. I had to keep reading to see what was going to happen next. I don't know if that is the author's intention, but it happened. The characters and the setting also confused me.

I know that the story dealt with poverty, death, education and life. Near the end the aunt wanted for her family to have better that she had.


This story was great. I have never lost a child, but heaven forbid it is were to happen I know that it would be like a Chicxulub on my universe. I like the comparison to losing a child to the asteroids coming to Earth.

My point? You’d better get down on your knees and pray to your gods, because each year this big spinning globe we ride intersects the orbits of some twenty million asteroids, at least a thousand of which are more than half a mile in diameter.
But my daughter. She’s out there in the dark and the rain, walking home. Maureen and I bought her a car, a Honda Civic, the safest thing on four wheels, but the car was used—pre-owned, in dealerspeak—and as it happens it’s in the shop with transmission problems and, because she just had to see her friends and gossip and giggle and balance slick multicolored clumps of raw fish and pickled ginger on conjoined chopsticks at the mall, Kimberly picked her up and Kimberly will bring her home.

You pray for everything to be alright. You provide the safest materials, yet you have no control of what happens. We must believe in our God to provide our family a safe stay here and be tankful for the time we have with them.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010


In the poem "Bully" the once fight to keep minorities away, has now back fired. Roosevelt who helped during the Spanish-American war was now rolling in his grave, knowing a school named after him was full of Puerto Rican children. These children have changed the name of the school from Theodore Roosevelt High School to Hernandez. They are even plotting to deface school property with graffiti.

This passage helped me to understand the setting of the poem.

The setting of the poem is significant. Boston has had nearly forty years of racial divisiveness throughout the community; a great deal of the conflict has centered on Boston's public schools. White flight, brought on by rampant immigration, left behind neighborhoods comprised almost entirely of minorities. Desegregation orders, lawsuits, forced busing, and racially-motivated school violence resulted. Espada uses this setting as a measure of our progress. Have we progressed from the pro-eugenics, imperialistic society we once were? Are we now a society that honestly appreciates diversity, or does each culture seek merely to strengthen its own place within our society? The on-going struggle for racial equality in Boston makes the question debatable.

* After reading this I am still unaware in the setting of "Bully" was in Boston. I think the writer of this explanation was just comparing the poem, to the school district in Boston.

*Photos taken from a trip to Puerto Rico with my husband!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Adrian C. Louis

I am really enjoying the poems by this culture. I do not think I have had a good exposure to the background of Native Americans. Issues from other culture seem to make there way into the media. As far as the battle over land I do not know a lot about the troubles Native Americans face today. Through these poems by Louis I have been able to see more of a "history" of the Native American life. His poems are eye opening.

After doing some background digging on Louis, I am honored to be among a journalist like Louis. I think that not only is he a good poet (from what I have read), but also a leader. It is a great accomplishment for someone to co-found the Native American Journalists Association. Being a journalist myself, I would love to meet with him and speak about his experiences as a writer, teacher and journalist.

Shedding Skins: Four Sioux Poets

Edited by

Adrian C. Louis

To be Indian is not to be a savior for white people.
To be Indian in a city is not tragic.
And now you ask me where I am from.
I understand your question,
but will answer it with, "Next question."
Alive in America is all we are.
Let's leave it at that.
—From "The Question," by Trevino L. Brings Plenty

Here's the myth: Native Americans are people of great spiritual depth, in touch with the rhythms of the earth, rhythms that they celebrate through drumming and dancing. They love the great outdoors and are completely in tune with the natural world. They can predict the weather by glancing at the sky, or hearing a crow cry, or
somehow. Who knows exactly how? The point of the myth is that Indians are, well, special. Different from white people, but in a good way.

This was taken from Louis' work Shedding Skins: Four Sioux Poets. It is a powerful message from the poet to the reader.


Louise Gluck

Gluck's poems seemed to infuse human voice and mythology. I got a strong sense that the poems were about wanting to be with the ones you love. Time was meant to be spent with the ones you loved. No matter how long you had to wait to be with them you waited.

In "Penelope's Song " Penelope wanted to be with her lover.
Wait at the top, attentive, like
A sentry or look-out. He will be home soon;
It behooves you to be

In "Quite Evenings"
They are together, and she hopes they will stay together.

from this point on, the silence through which you move
is my voice pursuing you.

I'm not sure if I am on the right track with this hunch. I did like Gluck's style. I need to refresh my Greek! The fusion was nice.



These poems by Alexie reminded me of stories, not poems. Out of all the poems assigned these year, these by Alexie were the easiest for me to follow. It seems that he is very proud of his heritage, but has strong feelings for his cultural and people. I really saw this through reading "Evolution".

...................................................................The Indians
pawn their hands, saving the thumbs for last, they pawn

their skeletons, falling endlessly from the skin
and when the last Indian has pawned everything
but his heart, Buffalo Bill takes that for twenty bucks

While researching Alexie and the time this poem was set I came across information that really helped me focus on the time and what was happening to the people.
By seizing the "heart" of the last Indian and subsequently closing the doors of the pawn shop, Buffalo Bill seals out the possibility of repossession. This act deprives the culture of its lifeblood. The new museum freezes "NATIVE AMERICAN CULTURES" in place, on display, behind glass cases. The painted over sign recalls the years of government manipulation of Indians in which new treaties invalidated old ones that the U.S. no longer wished to honor. The glossing over of old wounds and forms of cultural exploitation--feeding a people someone else's idea of what they should be--cap this poem with the absurd reality of a perverse history.

Not knowing much about this act that was happening to the American Indians, Alexie's poems helped open my eyes to what the government and people were doing to the Natives. I can now see the hardships and problems these people faced.

I enjoyed his work, and look forward to reading more from him.


Wednesday, February 17, 2010

* Updated-Levine, Ashbery & Rich


These poems by Levine were very interesting to me. I thought that the style and titles were twisted just enough to make me say "huh". I noticed an animal theme throughout Levine's work. It was not until researching him did I find that the poems were written to reflect the time period.
"They Feed They Lion" was a unique poem. Not until I read it aloud and found a video reading of it did I realize how angry and powerful it was.

"Street Musicians" made me picture vaious cities and places I have seen street musicains. From New Orleans, New York City, Washington D.C., Los Angles to Paris I was immeadiatly drawn back to the people I saw. Not knowing their story or there name, but hearing their music there life. This poem made me reflect on these people, and the reason they are playing. Is it for fun? Their only source of income?

It also reminded me of an article, about street musicains and how you never know they may be a famous musican.


Another poet from this week using animals! I liked the way that power was written. This poem was unique. This poem was very real feeling for me. -Judith McDaniel

In her two most recent books Adrienne Rich explores the potential for women's power. . . . The complexities of this power are inherent in the story of Marie Curie, who discovered the vital properties of uranium, and who died from radiation poisoning, "denying / her wounds came from the same source as her power." Marie Curie did not know--literally--how to handle power. Once again Rich's poetic image--the woman holding in her "suppurating" fingers the test tube of uranium, source of energy and death--unites the abstract and political difficulties of power.

I liked reading these poems and seeing women being addressed in them.

All in all good week of poetry!

Happy Endings

I just love all of the short stories we have read!

I really liked this short. I thought the different situations were a wonderful contrast to "Happy Endings". Never was an ending happy. The beginnings and middles of the situations were fairly happy, but never an ending. This is something we need to look in our on lives and see that right now is our "happy" a our "ending" is approaching. So, is there a such thing as a "happy ending"? There may be happy and sad moments in the middle, but when the end is near do we consider all of the moments happy and sad?

After reading this short I couldn't get Taylor Swift's song, "White Horse"

Maybe I was naïve,
Got lost in your eyes
I never really had a chance.
My mistake I didnt know to be in love
you had to fight to have the upper hand.
I had so many dreams about you and me
Happy endings;
Now I know

I'm not a princess
This ain't a fairytale
I'm not the one you'll sweep off her feet
Lead her up the stairwell
This ain't Hollywood,
This is a small town
I was a dreamer before you went and let me down.
Now its too late for you and your White Horse,
To come around.

I don't know if it's just because the lyric "Happy Endings" was included.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nick & Laura - Mel & Terri


What a wild showing of love from two different couples. One couple who have been married just over a year, and a couple who have been married for five years. One couple is still going through the "honeymoon stage", while the other is bickering exploring their past relationships. However, the introduction of the older couple involved in the car accident shows another type of love that is timeless. Almost if you can make it to 70 your back in your "honeymoon stage". The husband just wants to look at his wife. Which was the best way to love? Is it through violence, killing like the love Mel and Terri were shown or showed? Should we be naive and think nothing will interrupt our love? Should we be like the elderly couple and be great for to be alive?

I like how the story went back and forth through time. This short was easy to follow and well written. I enjoyed it.

The Balloon

This short still baffles me. I believe the man placed the balloon to have something tangible and visible to have while his wife was gone. While the rest of the city did not have a clue why it was the, he new the real reason. I guess, when loved ones are gone we like to have something close by to remind of us them. So maybe the balloon is a symbol of filling the empty space that is left when someone we love is gone.

What do think?


An Interview with John Updike

I throughly enjoyed reading this short story! I thought the story was easy to follow and read. I love the lust factor of the boy towards the girls. This was very vivid to see. I also enjoyed the way Sammy stood up for the girls, and follows through with quitting his job.

Here is and interview I found of John Updike talking about "A&P". It is a very good interview about the beginning to end of "A&P"

I hope you enjoy it.

An Interview with John Updike


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Oh, John

Have read the work by Berryman I has a sense of pain. I felt like he was exposing himself through his poetry. "29" I could not break through the surface to understand the true meaning or story about the poem. I did however like the style the poem was written in. "45" I had a feeling that he was writing letters to someone. There was loss and promise in this poem. I do not know much of Berryman's background, but I do think a lot of it played into his writing. I did read that he died by throwing himself over a bridge. There must have been a lot in his life that would lead to something this drastic. I can not wait to hear more about this poet tonight!
Plath, Lowell & Sexton

Through my readings of these poets I like the fact that they are all connected. I feel that you can see this in their poetry as well. This must have been a great escape with your buddies to sit back a discuss poetry. This really relates to how many poetry clubs are formed. The three poets fit well under the "Confessional" style of poetry. I enjoyed reading the selected poems from these poets.

While studying their work I also like reading about their relationships with each other and other poets. This selection is taken from Poets.org

Plath’s poetry is often associated with the Confessional movement, and compared to poets such as her teacher, Robert Lowell, and fellow student Anne Sexton.

Often, her work is singled out for the intense coupling of its violent or disturbed imagery and its playful use of alliteration and rhyme. poets.org

It was also interesting to see that "The Colossus" was the only poem published while she was a live. It would be nice to hear from Plath after the publication of her other poems and see how much of an impact it has made on her.

Through her poems they are very woman driven, and the role of the woman exposed. I feel that her poems were very easy to read, and enjoyed the style in which they were formed.

I liked Lowell's poem Skunk Hour. This poem was written for Elizabeth Bishop. Having done my lesson last week on E. Bishop I like the connection I see between the two poets. Shunk Hour showed a lot of Bishop's likes in it. Her love of travel and imagery were found throughout.

Lowell's friendship with Plath also played key roles in his writing as it was Plath and Bishop who reviewed his work.

For the Union Dead was and interesting poem. It seemed to cross time lines. I like the line /... Behind their cage,/ yellow dinosaur stemshovels were grunting/. This was a very vivid moment for me in the poem.

Here again we have made a connection between Lowell, Plath and Sexton. Sexton was Plath's student and attended a workshop of Lowell's. I not aware if Lowell and Sexton had any connection outside of the workshop. Sexton work that we read this week was up and down for me. I understood most selections, but had trouble with other.
"Her Kind" was easy to follow, while underneath meaning was not very straightforward for me."And One for My Dame" seemed to follow the life of her father, and then end with the life of her husband. I could be completely wrong, but this is what I took from the poem.

All-in-all, I enjoyed reading the poems from these poets. I would like to see a round table discussion with the Sexton, Lowell and Plath. I think this would be a very interesting event that would give an insight into the life of these 3 poets!


Monday, February 8, 2010


I just wanted to say thanks for allowing my lesson of Elizabeth Bishop to run better than I expected. I learned a lot from you all about the 2 poems we read. I liked the way you get each other thinking, as well as myself about Bishop's work.

Wednesday also opened my eyes to the O' Hara and Ginsberg poems.

I really liked the fact with Ginsberg, that his poem was meant to be read aloud. Hearing the different readers allowed to me to focus on the message. (I tend to read these poems to myself, but have started to read them all aloud.) Also, the activity when we created our poem was neat. It showed that this poem is timeless. Great job Stephen.

O'Hara were better explained to me after the lesson. The group work allowed me to talk out my interruption of his work and hear others as well. I liked it.

Digging down deep into poetry is new for me. I've never been taught how to look at it any differently then the words right in front of my eyes. Besides reading them in class, or reciting "The Road Not Taken" this class is helping be break through the surfaces of the poems.

This class has been eye opening, and I love the exposure to the different poets!


Wednesday, February 3, 2010


I do not know what has made Ginsberg write this poem, but I am interested to find out. The style was different, but the message was clear. He was clearing speaking about generations. This was a timeline of sort. Just reading the first part was interesting. This poem inculded personal events, national and worldly. I can't wait for the lesson and lecture of this poet!

Frank O'Hara

Not the most straightforward poet. He must have wanted readers to dig down deep to find the meanings of his work, or his work might not have mush of a meaning. Particularly "Today" this poem looked like words thought up and put into a poem. "Why I am Not a Painter" was a better written poem for me. I do not have much to say about O'Hare, hopefully after tonights discussion I will have more to say.


In the poem "My Papa's Waltz" you can since the affects the boy's father has had on him. You can take each of these stanzas and break them down and still have the same results. It seems as if an alcoholic father is once again after his boy for who knows what. The boy then seems to "waltz" with his father, he is trying to get away from the rage of his father. They take this so called waltz through the house (kitchen). Once he is finally caught he gets a belt up side the head. Then the waltz is started again as father takes him to bed at the sons objection.

I do not know of Roethke's background, but it must have been a world of alcoholic dad, mother who does not interject and abuse.

My Papa's Waltz
The whiskey on your breath
Could make a small boy dizzy;
But I hung on like death:
Such waltzing was not easy.
We romped until the pans
Slid from the kitchen shelf;
My mother's countenance
Could not unfrown itself.
The hand that held my wrist
Was battered on one knuckle;
At every step you missed
My right ear scraped a buckle.
You beat time on my head
With a palm caked hard by dirt,
Then waltzed me off to bed
Still clinging to your shirt.

Not the image I picture after reading this poem.


Short Stories

Welty & Olsen

I Stand Here Ironing

This short showed to me the drive of an single parent. Her child left in the shadows of everything else in her life. The mother daughter relationship seemed distance but also close. The daughter had problems stemmed from this relationship that interferred with her own life. She had problems with her other siblings, health and emotions. The mother seems to know that all of these trails will make her daughter into a "complete" woman someday. With each wrinkle in her life she will be a better woman. "... she is more than helpless than this dress on the ironing board, helpless before the iron." All things will smooth out in time.

I truly liked this story. It was an easy read. Like I have mentioned before I could see this story turned into a Lifetime Friday night special. It is timeless!

Why I Live at the P.O.

The title of this showed that the reader would find out why they live at the P.O. After reading the short you see that "Sister" is completely against her family members. Her family doesn't care much for her either, they are more tied up on her sisters return. "Sister" had been through a lot with her sister running off with her man, to her return with a child. With problems in the family on the rise "Sister" sets herself free from her family as she takes her stuff from the house to the back room at the post office. Finally free from her family.

This short was hard to fallow at times. I'm assuming it is a monologue (but could be wrong). I think I would have to read more of Welty's to know if I like her work.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Gwendolyn Brooks

Here again another new poet to me! Brook's poems showed violence that the African Americans faced in America. The Boy Died in My Ally, tells not only of one boy who died, but the countless others who were put into similar situations. The opening speaks of shootings, death and the speaking with witnesses. The witness states that they have heard the shots a thousand times. Nothing has been done for these boys., nothing has changed over time. The details are all the same.
Brooks makes me picture the witness thinking back to the past times an instant that has happened either in her "ally" or elsewhere in the world. I also sense a longing to have some way helped these boys/people. She feels because she did nothing to help them, it inadvertently added to their death. She has always heard the cries for help, but done nothing.

Brooks poems were an easy read. They were very much song like.

I felt that I had to write. Even if I had never been published, I knew that I would go on writing, enjoying it and experiencing the challenge.
Gwendolyn Brooks

I've always thought of myself as a reporter.
Gwendolyn Brooks

Look at what's happening in this world. Every day there's something exciting or disturbing to write about. With all that's going on, how could I stop?
Gwendolyn Brooks

I can not wait for discussion on Brooks poems!


Elizabeth Bishop

I can first saw that I have never read any of Bishop's poems. After assigning "One Art" & "The Man-Moth" I have to say that I like Bishop's work.

In "The Man-Moth" there is a sense of outcast, failure and distrust issues that arise. "Man" is scared to surface into the public, being surrounded by failure and those outside his world. Bishop takes us into the Man-Moth's world of making this journey to the surface and being among people and his first hand reaction. Readers also see that though time and life are moving forward the Man-Moth faces backwards on the subway, so not to know what lies ahead.
Then he returns
to the pale subways of cement he calls his home. He flits,
he flutters, and cannot get aboard the silent trains
fast enough to suit him. The doors close swiftly.
The Man-Moth always seats himself facing the wrong way
and the train starts at once at its full, terrible speed,
without a shift in gears or a gradation of any sort.
He cannot tell the rate at which he travels backwards.

One-Art was a rather easy read. It was complex but simple. Bishop opens with, "The art of losing isn't hard to master;" this is true. All sorts of things are lost everyday. Bishop mentions small things to big things. However, no matter what is lost it is not a disaster. I took from this poem a feeling of contentment that no matter what we may lose in our lives that in the end we must have hope. We must expect that loss will come, but know that it doesn't have to end in disaster.

"One Art" By Elizabeth Bishop from Walter on Vimeo.