Meta-Thanksgiving

November 30, 2010

After getting all Meta for our last paper right before Thanksgiving, i took time over break to reflect on the course and the many things i am thankful for. First of all, i began to fall in love with Allen Ginsberg again as i started studying for the CoPo final exam, i couldn’t resist the embody Ginsberg once more in front of the class. More importantly, i tried to expound on our paper topic and think about the problems in general that affect the way we look at all genres of literature and poetry. But, it’s hard sometimes, stepping aside, and taking a look at yourself because i try to be objective and unbiased about my own shortcomings when it comes to analyzing forms of literature. As i was musing on this idea, i became thankful for being in the English department at UMW and in classes that constantly seek to step outside of the box. For, in the English department, we are creating thinkers and wonderers and minds that wil undoubtedly change the future of literature as we know it. For my paper, i wrote about contemporary poets desire and calling to create art that penetrates the skin and affects readers on a subconscious and personal level. What a daunting task, yet how wonderfully contemporary writers have risen to the challenge. I’ve always looked up to Beat writers who revolutionized literature and through the avante-garde. I long to walk the halls of Black Mountain College and just smell the creative juices filling the air. I imagine i would become creatively enlightened just from being in the presence of such impressive minds of that era.  If only to be able to return to the 60s and 70s and take adavntage of the revolutionary culture that so easily stimulated the expansion of the mind. But, it is our duty to define the literature and thought of our generation, and adress the problems we and other face in order to fix them. Well, time for me to jump in my time machine and go have a word or two with Ginsberg, see ya on the other side!

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The case for Hip Hop as contemporary Poetry

November 30, 2010
Last year, an English professor named Adam Bradley issued a manifesto to his fellow-scholars. He urged them to expand the poetic canon, and possibly enlarge poetry’s audience, by embracing, or coöpting, the greatest hits of hip-hop. “Thanks to the engines of global commerce, rap is now the most widely disseminated poetry in the history of the world,” he wrote. “The best MCs—like Rakim, Jay-Z, Tupac, and many others—deserve consideration alongside the giants of American poetry. We ignore them at our own expense.”

Read more http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/atlarge/2010/12/06/101206crat_atlarge_sanneh

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Poetry Daily’s 11/29 Featured Poem

November 29, 2010

Claudia Emerson’s poem “Secure the Shadow” is today’s featured poem. Check it out!

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Kanye West’s New LP

November 23, 2010

Although I think Kanye West is an irrepressible asshole, his new album received perfect scores from both Rolling Stone and Billboard. The album’s last song titled “Who Will Survive in America” collaborates with spoken word poet Gil Scott-Heron. After doing some research, apparently Scott-Heron is also included in the notes (whatever that means) for the second-to-last track, “Lost in the World.” Check it out! HAPPY THANKSGIVING GUYS!

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Spoken Word

November 23, 2010

I have loved this commencement speech for a while. With further research, I discovered it fit into the spoken word category we have been studying. Enjoy! Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen

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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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