Just something to get us started thinking about Plath

October 18, 2010

Here is Plath reading her poem “Daddy.” It’s one of her most known, and I’d argue scarier poems, that she’s written. [kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/6hHjctqSBwM" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

I’ve also included a link to the poets.org information for Plath. The site is definitely worth checking out, as it has some very interesting information and links.

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The Disquieting Muses

October 18, 2010

As I went through the readings for tomorrow’s class, I was really intrigued by Plath’s “The Disquieting Muses” because of the imagery it creates and the emotions it evokes.  A chilling and disheartening poem, I found the juxtaposition of the mother and the three shadowy “Godmothers” to be fascinating.  The speaker is full of resentment, angry about her mother’s absence and the disconnect she feels with her.  To emphasize this, the start of the poem is filled with a number of negative word choices: illbred, disfigured, unsightly, unwisely, unasked.  It appears the speaker is also resentful of her forced replacement – the three “mouthless, eyeless” and “bald” women who “stand their vigil in gowns of stone” (Plath 50).  I’m interpreting these “Godmothers” as not being alive and active at all, but rather the source of anxiety in the speaker.  They are her “muses,” so to speak, and they haunt her with reminders of what her own mother was not capable of doing.

I looked at the notes provided in the back of the book and saw that for this poem, Plath pulled her inspiration (and poem title) from a painting by Giorgio de Chirico, called The Disquieting Muses.  Here is the piece:

As you can see, de Chirico has painted three mannequins draped in white cloth, their shadows and the shadows of other buildings/objects casting across a flat surface.  The painting is incredibly eerie; the mannequins are places in awkward positions and do not have faces.  The lighting is very unsettling in that it is so bright that it casts such sharp contrasting shadows in the background.  To me this leaves a very ghostly feel to the piece – a similar feeling I get from reading Plath’s poem.  In the note at the back of the book, Plath explains how the mannequins “suggest a 20th century version of other sinister trios of women – the Three Fates, the witches in Macbeth, de Quincey’s sisters of madness.”  After looking at this painting and rereading the poem a few times, I really get a sense of surrealism from the Godmothers and their role in this poem.  Their haunting presence is incredibly problematic to the speaker because it seems to be a reminder/the source of frustration in the speaker.

Also, I was trying to find the BBC interview with Plath that is referenced in the back of the book but instead stumbled upon The Poetry Archive page on Plath.  It includes a few of her readings, “The Applicant” (which we’re reading for Thursday) is on there.

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Confessional Poetry Wiki

October 18, 2010

The Wiki for Confessional Poetry is now open. Please feel free to go visit it.

Confessional Poetry

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John Pineda Manuscript Readings

October 17, 2010

I found John Pineda’s readings from the manuscript particularly fascinating. Not only was it exciting to hear new, as yet, unpublished works of an established author, but I found his new work to be an unexpected departure from his earlier poetry. The manuscript readings were also of particular interest to me for their fresh and humorous treatment of parenthood. Kudos to John for keeping the new work coming; I can’t wait to read the next volume.

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THURSDAY POEMS!!

October 17, 2010

Okay, people, let’s get organized.

Those who have currently signed up to read are as follows: Everett, Meg, Debbi, Alyssa, Erin, Kristin, Christine, and Helen.

Matt, are you reading, or are you working on music and/or an art slideshow?  Anyone else want to come on board?

Kristin’s suggestion, since we apparently gave the title “Why Poetry Matters,” was to read poems from our copo poets that address that issue or that concern art in a metapoetic way.  I like this idea, and, as Kristin or someone said, if we announce that at the beginning, then our audience can listen for/interpret that commentary as we go.

A few suggestions off the top of my head:

Pineda, “My Sister, Who Died Young, Takes Up the Task”

Brooks, “What shall I give my children? who are poor”

selections from Ginsberg, e.g. end of Part I of “Howl”

Walcott, “Sea Grapes” and Omeros Chapter LXIV.I (239)

Clifton, “telling our stories,” “libation,” “why some people be mad at me sometimes,” “my dream about the poet”

Bishop, “The Monument,” “One Art”

Plath, “Two Views of a Cadaver Room,” “The Arrival of the Bee Box,” “Kindness”

What else??

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Black Mountain Poets

October 17, 2010

Please disregard until we’ve finished.  Thanks!

Black Mountain Poets Wiki

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the honesty of prose

October 17, 2010

I think it’s interesting that Pineda finds it easier to write nonfiction poetry than nonfiction prose, since one can disguise the situation/one’s deepest feelings more easily in the short lines of image-focused poetry. He stressed to us how long it took him to write his memoir, how hard it was for him to become honest enough with himself to tell his story straight (especially without seeming too self-centered when it finally did come spilling out). He talked about how he takes pains to avoid the possessive in his poetry.

Does poetry or prose come more naturally to you? Why?

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Abandoned poetry

October 15, 2010

During Pineda’s visit he quoted someone as saying that a poem is never finished, it’s only abandoned.  That struck me as extremely sad, and irresponsible, too.  I think all poets can sense when the poem they’re writing is completed.  But this quote increased my sense of responsibility.  How do we really know if a poem has been given all possible chances to speak, to explore itself?  What if we abandon it before it has grown all its limbs and organs, and can live on its own?  If we too quickly withdraw the creative force that is calling the poem into being, we leave it half-formed and its life will be a constant struggle.  We have to be sure we don’t cut the umbilical cord too soon.  All of this was going through my mind when I read the intro to the Plath collection, in which Hughes says, “…she brought every piece she worked on to some final form acceptable to her…”

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Volta

October 14, 2010

So, for reference, here is a more complete definition of a volta.

That being said, here are some pictures of the Rottweiler/Lab puppy that Katherine Sullivan and I just got – we named her Volta. 🙂

She’s about seven weeks old now, and she got left at Petsmart (where I work) at about five weeks old, because her mom got bitten by a copperhead.

I hope I’ve given you all a more memorable definition of “volta.” 🙂

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Pineda’s Visit

October 14, 2010

So, actually getting to talk to Jon Pineda was awesome.  It was really cool to hear about some of the things I hadn’t even thought to ask, and to just hear him explain some of the way writing poetry works for him.  For me, listening to him actually read his poems in person was fantastic, and gave a whole new depth to them – especially when he read “My Sister, Who Died Young, Takes Up The Task” – just hearing him read it made me want to go back and read it again.  The anecdotes he shared with us before some of his readings during Thursday Poems were all things that helped me feel like I could understand his poetry better, and helped me feel even more of a connection with his work than I did before.

I don’t remember whether this was discussed in Professor Scanlon’s class, or in Professor Emerson’s class right after it, but it was also really inspiring to know that Pineda has just a regular “nine to five” (as he described it) job working with Verizon – and yet, he has managed to publish three books so far.  I don’t know about everyone else, but it gives me a lot more hope as someone considering writing myself, to know that I don’t necessarily have to go to grad school, or try to make a living off of writing alone, to be successful and one day get published.

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Pumpkin Haiku

October 7, 2010

If I might be permitted to emit a haiku in honor of autumn, my season of inspiration:

Pumpkin Haiku

The voices of crows

scratch across the blackboard sky.

Grinning pumpkins wince.

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Newly Discovered Ted Hughes Poem About Sylvia Plath

October 6, 2010

I just saw this NPR article about a Ted Hughes poem that’s just been found, written about the 3 days leading up to Sylvia Plath’s suicide. Apparently it is being published tomorrow, and excerpts of it have already been read on a BBC program by Jonathan Pryce (there is a video of him reading at the end of the article).

I don’t know about you guys, but it just kind of makes me feel weird. From what I remember about learning about Plath and Hughes (which was in high school, so I’m not sure on the validity of the info), they had a rather tumultuous relationship. This strikes a weird chord with me, but I can’t quite pin point it. Anyone care to enlighten me/share their thoughts?

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Coma

October 6, 2010

Ever since yesterday’s class discussion on Pineda’s poem, “Coma,” I couldn’t help but to come up with my own analysis. Please feel free to shoot me down, I know it is a stretch, but when we were reading it in class and then listened to the audio, I questioned who the actual speaker was.

I believe the speaker is Pineda’s sister herself. Follow me here, the “what if” is significant because she says “What if I told you…” and as we know she can’t tell him anything. The line continues “each time you whispered my name,” which reflects when he whispers to her. His sister goes on to say, “the world on the other side, yours, was the one on fire.” Yes, she is lying in a coma,  but really it is Pineda’s world that is ending as his sits and watches his sister die entering his own coma of grief.

Thoughts?

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formal paper assessment

October 6, 2010

… is now posted on the Formal Paper page so you can see what my feedback rubric will look like.

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“Howl” Movie

October 5, 2010

There has been some discussion on the blog about the upcoming movie, Howl. Honestly, form what I’d seen, I wasn’t too impressed. However, this article by Stanley Fish has changed my mind. Now I’m actually curious to see if I see what Fish does.

And here’s a semi-related article on Franco, seen as an artist, for those of you who are interested.

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From the Fishouse– Pineda Audio

October 4, 2010

Click here

What do you think of reading his poems vs. hearing them?  I really enjoyed the audio clips of Brooks, but, I almost prefer to read Pineda.

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Gwendolyn Brooks Reading

October 4, 2010

I bought a book called Poetry Speaks the other day at Borders, and it had 3 tracks of Gwendolyn Brooks reading. I wish there were more, I like her voice a lot. I have already listened to We Real Cool at least 20 times. I am being hypnotized by it…

A Song In The Front Yard A Song in the Front Yard

Kitchenette Building Kitchenette Building

We Real Cool We Real Cool

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L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E Poetry

October 3, 2010

Dont mind me. I’m just trying to figure out how to make a wiki page.

L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E

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Workshop Poetry

October 3, 2010

I’m not sure about anyone else, but I feel their is a huge difference in the poetry that we read in our literature classes from famous poets, and those we read from students who have just finished their MFA. Prof. Scanlon titles this poetry “workshop poetry” and I believe rightly so. While reading the first part of John Pineda’s book “The Translator’s Diary” I was very aware of the difference between his and the other poetry that we’ve read so far. If the book hadn’t been organized and titled, I might greatly have been confused as to what the poet was even talking about–a coma. The poem’s flow well together, but if they were published separately they would lose much of their weight. I am currently working on an independent study that revolves around a series of poems that speak to one another, and so am very invested in the issue of whether or not a poem stands on its own  like the series of sonnets that we read part of by Gwendolyn Brooks “The Womanhood.” Each of these sonnets can stand in solitude, yet when read together they delve deeper into Brooks’ intended overarching themes. I do not think that Pineda’s poetry does the same.

Anyone care to agree or disagree?

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Thanks, everybody

October 1, 2010

I enjoyed our first round of interpretive readings very much.  I’m glad that I didn’t read along—the poems literally jumped off the page at me, fresh and alive.  Even with poems I had read before, the interpretive performances were like “meeting” the poems again, but in someone else’s voice, not my own and not the poet’s.  I really appreciate all the readers’ insights and analyses.  Everyone was so open, so willing to reveal what the poems called out in them.  I’m looking forward to the next round.

Designed by Tim Sainburg from Brambling Design

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Allen Ginsberg in my brain

September 30, 2010

Last night I had a dream about Allen Ginsberg.  We were in an insane asylum and the people who ran it hated him and persecuted him because he defied everything they stood for and every rule.  We became friends and it was neat.

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Interpretive Presentations THURSDAY

September 28, 2010

People, my brain is slush.  Despite reminding myself this weekend about it, in class I forgot utterly that interpretive presentations are Thursday.  The following students are scheduled to perform:  Debbi, Chelsie, Landon, Matt, Everett, Amanda, Will, Jessica, Christine, and Katherine.  Review the syllabus to remind yourself of my expectations (including TIME).

I am attaching here the assessment sheet that I will use to grade your performance and the accompanying paper you will submit.  PLEASE use it in planning your work.  int perf assess

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No Children

September 28, 2010

[kml_flashembed movie="http://www.youtube.com/v/wRP6egIEABk" width="425" height="350" wmode="transparent" /]

This is an incredibly sarcastic and spiteful song by the Mountain Goats, and Brooks’ poem made me think about it.  It’s about a man and his wife who, according to the title, had no children and their relationship crashed and burned.  Despite the immense hatred portrayed in the lyrics, the song offers an interesting viewpoint on the general life of people who have no children.  It matches with the “mail of insolence” and “waving their spirits hence/ Without a trace of grace” that Brooks mentions.  However, the song lacks the glorification of having no children and the pure perishing, of people to care about other than oneself.

I think people have problems no matter what their lot in life is.  Especially the speaker in this song.

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Are you kidding me?

September 28, 2010

AND I forgot to put on “Riders to the Blood-red Wrath” (115-118).   What’s happening to me?!  If you’re digging Brooks and wanted more of her later BAM poetry, check it out.

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Political Poetry

September 27, 2010

Just saw this article and found it interesting to see poetry’s role in a country other than ours. It seems as though poetry isn’t dead as a political act in other places…

Enjoy!

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