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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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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; 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?

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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


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 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


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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