The Poetry Foundation

November 22, 2010

If the goal of [the Poetry Foundation website] is immersion in the genre for students and lovers of poetry, the opportunities that this website affords to that end are plentiful.  The children’s poetry section, which aims to expose children to poetry from a younger age, endorses fun ideas like lunchbox poems and encourages reading aloud to and with one’s children. Even tools like the Learning Lab and Poetry Tours are moving toward the idea that people who are learning about poetry should be engaging with the material upon multiple levels. However, the Poetry Foundation does not go far enough. Until these resources are fleshed out, this website will simply be a limited poetry archive and article source for people who already have a relatively full understanding of the genre. The basic materials for an interactive, poetry-teaching website are there. The tools that exist are getting students to engage with the work’s meaning and rhyme, using their basic comprehension skills. The tools that will help students develop the skills needed for a complete understanding of the genre are not yet in place, and the importance of poetry—why we love it, and the breadth of what it has to offer us—has yet to emerge on this website.

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More on the film adaptation of “Howl”

November 22, 2010

While working on my Poetry on the Web paper, I found this link to an interview done with Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, the makers of the movie adaptation of “Howl.” It was a pretty interesting article and, perhaps surprisingly, a very positive review of the film. The interview offers some cool insight into the nature of translating poetry/the written word into another kind of media. Another neat thing is that the interview was conducted by a poet, D.A. Powell.

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Poetry Daily (poems.com)

November 21, 2010

[Poetry Daily] takes the form of poetry news and both predominant and marginalized advertisements.  Another element of the website is its news section.  Poetry Daily’s criteria of news seems to include the recognition of, or awards won by, any of its featured poems or poets and notifications of recently released work, notes, or biographies/autobiographies.  The website’s news is relevant and either runs parallel or elevates the rest of Poetry Daily’s content.  However, Poetry Daily displays its sponsors just as overtly as its subject matter.  Their choice of sponsor portrays poetry as only relevant to academia or competition.  This portrayal is frustrating to the poetry community.  On the right hand side of the website, Poetry Daily’s sponsors consists of an abundance of advertisements for numerous MFA programs and award contests, while its advertisements for libraries, literary journals, poetry conferences, and publishing companies are slim.  MFA programs and contests make up 70% of Poetry Daily’s twenty sponsors.  Such an enormous amount only supports that poetry is becoming less about the poetry itself and more about the politics of writing it.  But it is not just Poetry Daily’s fault.  The several MFA and award-based advertisements show that those institutions have the most money, albeit overshadowing others.  Regardless, this perspective antagonizes poetry and its predicted path.

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My Favorite Spoken Word Ever

November 21, 2010

This was first introduction to spoken word poetry.

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A Change of Heart?

November 18, 2010

When I watched the assigned spoken word poetry videos, I was unimpressed. I could appreciate where the poets where trying to go with their poetic style, but it wasn’t the same as seeing, revisiting, rereading and absorbing the words way I’m used to. After class, out of curiosity, I looked up a written version of Linton Kwesi Johnson’s “If I Woz a Tap Natch Poet” (I know, I know, blasphemy) and read it, then watched the performance again with the poem in front of me. It was a totally different experience for me, and I enjoyed it so much more. I don’t know why seeing the words made such a difference to me, but getting the visual and aural/oral aspect as well really increased my appreciation for (and in some way my understanding of) spoken word poetry in general.

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More slam poems!

November 18, 2010

F@#! Yeah Slam Poems is a blog on Tumblr that a friend of mine runs. If anyone is interested in looking at or listening to more spoken word stuff, this blog is a pretty good resource.

This video that I want to share with you is by Andrea Gibson, one of the more famous lesbian slam poets. Her poetry is about loving women, and what it means to be a woman. It’s occasionally political–this particular poem I’ve attached is about Prop 8 and gay marriage–but mostly she writes about love and girls and sex and queerness. Gibson is very emotive, and she has a slightly cloying voice, but I think she’s neat. I also think she is relatively representative of how a lot of slam poetry is written, performed, and received within the queer community.

Andrea Gibson–“I Do”

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November 18, 2010

I think it’s very interesting that spoken word poetry is, or at least was presented for homework, title-less. For written poems, the title is important to its work and can yield new meanings or help clarify possible ambiguities–they can be the first line, even. Building off of Gracie, Sarah, and Kristin’s comments on the oral quality of spoken word, it could be because titles wouldn’t be important unless they were projected rhythmically, or unless they act as an additive to the work its labeling?  “Time” and “Amethyst Rocks” are the only two assigned spoken word poems that are titled, but the titles do not preface their poems–Sean Williams never told us the title. They instead were embedded in the work itself.  As a listener I am not particularly bothered by the fact that the work isn’t vocally titled. I actually feel I was more attentive because of it. How do you guys feel? Would your experience have been different if these spoken poems were titled, or was your experience different because they are not?

For your entertainment while you ponder my question: “Window Seat” by Erykah Badu

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Urban Word NYC and Brave New Voices

November 18, 2010

In addition to Def Poetry Jam, Russell Simmons also produces the series Brave New Voices which hosts an annual international youth poetry slam festival.  One of my personal favorites, also an Urban Word NYC Grand Slam finalist, is B. Yung.  There are some great young poets featured at these events so definitely follow the leads on YouTube because there are a lot!

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Here's another one you all might like that my roomate, an education major, showed me.

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Also, for those of you who hate to love/love to hate Nicki Minaj...

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 Finally, since we’ve been talking a lot about poetry as a means of  and or/commentary on claiming/disowning language here’s a poem by Julian Curry on the word “Nigger.” (Disclaimer: I apologize if this is offensive to anyone.)

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Check Out Rives!

November 17, 2010

Hey all, you should check out Rives. And here’s his incredibly interesting website if you want to poke around, study the way the language changes for a timed performance from the page, see little weird dramas he’s written hidden in the chimes.

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Make sure you watch this one below; it’s very visual.

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Spoken Word and Poetic Tradition

November 17, 2010

From what I’m seeing of spoken word poetry, it seems to be bringing back the importance of auditory in poetry.  In its foundations (as far as we know) poetry was meant to be spoken or sung so everyone could hear it and understand it without having to read it.  When I sit in a poetry reading, I often find it difficult to follow and I know that if I can see the poem, I’ll see the craft and how it influences meaning much better than if I listen to it.  However, spoken word poetry forms itself on poetic devices that are readily heard through auditory (such as “they’re killing them one by one, two by two, three by three…but my spirit is growing seven by seven).  This might not look like much on paper, but as I listened to it, it was powerful.  The sense of auditory is just as important as the sense of sight and reading comprehension.  Spoken word adapts to and creates an auditory craft.  It also entertains and captures the audience: How Beau Sia incorporates comedy and pop culture references looks a lot like Catullus’ poems that made fun of Varrus or Cicero as he meant for them to be read on the street, so everyone could laugh at the jokes that he makes about them.  Poetry was meant to be for everyone, including those who have no desire to find meaning or anything intellectual in it.  The spoken word is different, but no less powerful, and I think it follows more closely with the original purposes of poetry than a new “unscholarly” poetry.

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my attempt

November 17, 2010

I just want to say, this project made total sense after a glass or two of wine–it helped me think more abstractly.  Hopefully my discussion will make sense too.

poetry on the web by Gracie

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Faults in the Creation of Poets.Org by the Academy of American Poets Based Upon a Competitive Outlook

November 16, 2010

Since Scanlon was nice enough to let us abandon our Poetry on the Web Projects, I figured I’d just go ahead and share what I thought the project was, and how mine was turning out. I was only half way finished, but I’m dropping it and fully intend on doing the prompt assignment instead. Is this what ya’ll thought the assignment was, or were your visions completely different?

The Academy of American Poets, a non-profit organization created to foster a growing environment conducive for the studying and sharing of American poetry, has created a numerous avenues for fulfilling its mission. Acting as its international touchstone, Poets.org familiarizes its audience with prestigious poet biographies (not all American), their poetry, essays, interviews, as well as audio and visual enhancements. However, due to the website being ran by a nonprofit academy, nor being that academy’s main focus, the website’s information inconsistently lacks width and breath versus its competition The Poetry Foundation.

Though the Academy of American Poets has allowed for the creation of Poets.org, it also hinders the website. Poets chosen to be featured on the website are selected based on criteria set forth by staff members. The final decisions are influenced by chancellors from the board of the Academy as well. The website itself declares that “while we have over 500 poets on our site, our ‘to do’ list includes over one hundred poets, many of whom won awards from the Academy of American Poets, or participated in the Academy’s programs, dating back to 1934” (Poets.org Help). Thus, the staff at Poets.org admit that a key feature of the poets elected to be featured on the site have contributed to the furthering of the Academy’s other programs personal agenda: “to provide background information in support of the Academy’s programs” (Poets.org Help). This makes the website itself void as an unbiased source of which poets and poetry should be studied. It should be noted that the website does offer a section titled “For Educators” that offers advice, curriculum, essay and project ideas for teachers of poetry, the research for which can be inconclusively accomplished on Poets.org.

The Academy of American Poets hosts numerous events throughout the year in order to promote poetry across the nation, though many of their events are more prominent in largely populated cities such as New York City where the Academy was founded. The Academy encourages membership, the only criterion for which is money. This monetary contribution supports the mission of the organization which is “to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry” (About us). The site recognizes the inconsistency of this statement with some of the non-American or non-contemporary poet that features on the site. Other projects of the Academy include public readings, a gift shop, creation of National Poetry Month, conferences, and American Poet magazine among others. Thus, the resources compounded by the not-for-profit organization spreads throughout all of their endeavors leaving each program to suffer from lack of appropriate funds and paid staff. The website itself acknowledges this claim stating “due to limitations in funding and staff time, the number of poets we plan to add always outstrips the number we are actually able to add” (Poets.org Help). In the websites defense they do not attempt to showcase all major poetry of each poet, rather just a selection. Also, each poem they do feature has been licensed and follows copyright guidelines, whereas not all poetry is allowed to be freely reproduced at Poets.org. However, this is also another con to the website, for if they had more money they would be able to pay copy-right fees, thus being able to feature a deeper breath of poetry.

Though Poets.org acknowledges the pitfalls the website faces due to lack of funds, they do not go into detail the depth of this problem. When searching for poetry on the site, one can do an Advance Search and browse through the different movements of contemporary poetry. The limited choices prove the underwhelming information available. Contemporary Formalism brings up only seven poets for a movement that began in the 1980s almost 30 years ago. The Confessional movement, popular in the 1950s which helped to spawn numerous reactionary poetry includes only six poets. Sylvia Plath, one of the most influential Confessionalists features only three poems whereas a competing nonprofit website PoetryFoundation.org features 28 poems. Though Poets.org does not claim to be a one-stop-shop of sorts for all poetic needs, they’re anthology perspective limits them from truly being a useful tool in the spreading of poetry on a collegiate scale.

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Alternative Essay Prompt

November 16, 2010

As per our “agreement” in class: if you have done or want to do the Poetry on the Web Project as it is described on the syllabus, go for it.  If you do not feel you can produce a meaningful essay with that project, then here is your alternative:

371 essay prompt

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READ THIS INTERVIEW!

November 16, 2010

In my Disability & Literature class we are assigned to read a really amazing interview with Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay and Grinnell College’s Ralph Savarese.  The interview connects characteristics of the Autistic Spectrum Disorder such as associative deconstruction, overassociative cognition, and synesthesia (all of which Tito experiences) with the art of poetry.  This interview will not only help you understand the relationship of poetry (or just writing in general) and trauma, but it will also get you thinking about Tito’s or your own writing process. Contemporary poetry, 19th century poets, and “synesthesia in literature” are also discussed.

The interview: http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/1056/1235

Some of Tito’s poetry: http://www.dsq-sds.org/article/view/1192/1256

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WikiOmeros

November 15, 2010

For those of you who are having trouble with some of his foreign terms and the immense density of allusion going on in this epic, the University of Warwick has started a project to try and help everyone out.

Their search bar is a little wonky and, by no means, do they have an encyclopedic account of allusion and reference in this text (correct me if I’m wrong–and I hope to God I’m wrong–but it looks like the wiki has NO information on this texts dialogue with Dante and the Commedia)

Hope this can help some of you! It sure helped me brush up on my French-Creole!

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You Love Your Poetry on the Web Projects!

November 11, 2010

Admit it!

Chelsea asked me about length since I had specified by pages but some people are not writing “papers” anymore.  You should figure about 250-300 words per page, which means a total of 1250-1500 words.

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Derek Walcott

November 11, 2010

While reading “The Schooner Flight”, I really enjoyed the way he combined various voices. The lines “I had a sound colonial education, I have Dutch, nigger, and English in me, and either I’m nobody, or I’m a nation” really captures the essence of this poem for me. Through his intertwining of both traditional English vernacular and the seemingly broken-English, Walcott create a really unique voice. This was really apparent to me in part 7 “The Flight Anchors in Castries Harbour”. He says

 “I have kept my own

promise, to leave you the one thing I own,

you whom I loved first: my poetry”

 then the tone shifts in the next line with “We here for one night. Tomorrow, the Flight will be gone…” At first, I was rather surprised and the inner grammarian in me was horrified, but once I finished reading it, I really felt like it added so much to the poem. Did anyone else enjoy this aspect of the poem? What do you think it added to the poem?

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The Tape Cut-ups

November 9, 2010

A friend of mine sent me this video a while ago and after today’s discussion of how some L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets explored ways to assemble/disassemble language, I thought it’d be appropriate to post.  The video adds a type of video cut-up to William S. Burroughs recording of “Origin and Theory of the Tape Cut-ups” which is followed by an example given by Brion Gysin who introduced Burroughs to the technique.  They applied the technique to printed text as well as audio clippings which I think is fascinating.  I particularly like the image during Gysin’s part.

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“When you cut into the present the future leaks out.” -Burroughs

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Dickinson?

November 8, 2010

Rachel asks if the site “Dickinson in a Box” demeans the original poetry.  That depends on whether the “statistical imitation” uses random words, or uses entire lines.

Let’s say the randomly generated “poems” are based on words, and not entire lines.  I’m not familiar enough with Dickinson’s work to know if the randomly generated poems have the “feel” of her poetry just because they use the words that she used.  But after all, every poet goes to the same word well; some poets have big buckets and some have very small spoons, but words are a finite commodity.

Looked at that way, “Dickinson in a Box” is a harmless little technical exercise.  It reminds me of refrigerator poetry, those little magnetized tiles of separate words.  Of course, this site is much shallower than that, because there is no thought, feeling or insight behind it; with refrigerator poetry there is at least a motivated intelligence at work.  I don’t think this site takes poetry in any new directions.  It’s just mindless word-grabbing. 

On the other hand, if the random generator is reusing whole lines of her poetry, then it’s akin to music sampling.  And sampling is plagiarism, plain and simple.  In that case, the randomness  would demean her poetry because it lifts entire thoughts out of context, and uses her creative labor to make something else (in this case, nonsense, which is insulting).  After reading one of these randomly generated poems, I would not be inspired to read Emily Dickinson if I was unfamiliar with her work.  

You could do the same thing with the Yellow Pages.  Whether it’s offensive or not depends on how the “poem” was generated.

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Howl the movie?!

November 8, 2010

I know we read Howl a little while ago, however when looking one of the poetry websites; poets.org I found that a movie entitled Howl is coming to theaters in 2010. The movie is going to be based in “three interweaving sections: an interview with the poet, his famous Six Gallery reading, and the landmark obscenity trial” (Myles) The article I found is located here.

For more information you can visit

A trailer if anyone’s interested:

Howl Official Trailer on YouTube

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Dickinson In a Box

November 8, 2010

Hey Guys,

I came across this little site on Facebook and thought it worthy to share on the blog.  What do you all think about sites like this? Does it demean the original poetry? Or does it use technology to take the form to a new level?

http://www.people.fas.harvard.edu/~dsteinbr/computing/fun/dickinson.rb

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Another portrayal of Lucifer

November 8, 2010

Here is Viggo Mortensen’s Lucifer in the 1995 movie “The Prophecy.”  Arrogant, sly, infinitely cruel and clever.  A far cry from Aragorn.  (“The Prophecy” is a weirdly interesting though uneven movie, worth watching for Christopher Walken as the angel Gabriel.)

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Madonna’s America

November 8, 2010

This poem was fascinating to read.  The meanings of the words changed right under my eyes.  Every time Madonna repositioned a word or phrase, it reflected in new ways off the surrounding words, and caused those words to have a different reflection, too.  I was reminded of my art history class, which taught me how our perception of colors change depending on their juxtaposition. 

I especially liked the line:  “I gas bleeding yellow me take.”  This has many levels of meaning, depending on where you pause and how you group the words.  

For instance, if you use “gas” as an old slang term for talking a lot without having any effect, then “I gas” can symbolize the helplessness of Americans to change the economic crisis no matter how much we complain and protest. 

Also, “gas bleeding” can refer to the BP oil disaster, another crisis that profoundly damaged America.  “Yellow me” is a scared American. 

“Me take” fits in with the poem’s powerful emphasis on “I” and “me.”  It could mean, I’m forced to take what I need, or I’m reduced to taking whatever I can get (think part-time jobs).  Or, read as broken English, it could mean, “Please take me away from this bleeding America.”

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Repetition and Parallelism

November 8, 2010

==Repetition and Parallelism==
Language poets often place lists of words or phrases together without comment. Then repeat them, with slight alterations and rearrangements. This rearrangement then becomes the narration, as various connections get teased out by the stream of consciousness. In the following example, the first stanza begins with phrases from the news and overheard snippets of conversation. They get rearranged as the “I” and “me” are teased out in the following stanzas.

Madonna Wilt

America

two day sale

bread 2 for $6.00

hamburger $4.99 lb

gas tank bleeding yellow

congress halts neighbor’s short sale

lenders guilty of rubber stamping foreclosures

the bank came today to take the house that Keith built.

America amerIca amerIca amer I ca amerIca aMErIca aMErIca

built

built america

gas built aMErica

bleeding America I

gas bleeding yellow ME

i gas bleeding yellow me take

gas take America america take i

came to take the house AmerIca built

America gas came to take the house me

America built the house to take gas I me amerIca

AMErIca

two day sale

bread 2 for $6.00

haMburgEr $4.99 lb

gas tank bleedIng yellow

congress halts neighbor’s short sale

lenders guIlty of rubber staMping foreclosurEs

the bank caME today to take the house that Keith built

the bank came today to take the house that America buIlt
the bank came today to take the house i me gas rubberstamp

america i ME built rubber stamp house gas me tank bleeding gas

america bleeding gas yellow me rubber stamp me take I foreclosure house

america forclosure yellow house guilty rubberstamp house of gas sale two day

yellow bank gas bleeding America guilty rubberstamp built came to take house sale

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling DesignDesigned by Tim Sainburg from Brambling DesignDesigned by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

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Language Poetry Prompt

November 7, 2010

While working on the Language Poetry wiki a lot from pervious semesters started to come back to me. In a previous poetry class we had spent nearly half a semester talking about Language Poetry and even had Rae Armantrout come to our school to read and talk to us. My professor at the time gave us prompts to try out and though many of them did seem strange they did their job at making us think outside the box. For one of the prompts she had us bring to class instruction manuals. From these we would grab random words and phrases to help create a poem. Many of my classmates went a step further and left the classroom to copy words from posters, warning signs, and bathroom graffiti.

I think you get the idea. Bringing up this prompt is somewhat inspired by John Cage’s Writing through Howl poem which can be found on the Language wiki page when it is finished on Tuesday. Also on the wiki page is Madonna’s own Language poem under the Repetition section.

In the comments I will post my own Language writing attempt but I think I failed to make a language poem. Most Language poems don’t have a narrative and mine accidently told a story. Making a language poem is interesting though. Once I got in the mindset of it everything had a purpose. My spacing, lack of puncuation, ect.

Please try out the prompt or comment on what you think about the prompt.

EDIT: I took down my poem. The blog wouldnt let me put the spacing in the way I had it and the form is had was a big part of the poem so I took it down. I didnt want it as my example if it wasnt even presented properly.

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