Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Ezra Pound "Busted and sent to the Pound"

I know we didn't study Ezra Pound in this class, but I am reading some of his works in another class and I came across this picture.

I title it "Busted and sent to the Pound". I guess it makes the people we read about human to me when I see them caught doing something bad rather it be moral or socially against society. When you read some of these stories and poetry I forget about the people who wrote them and how they may have things going on in their lives other than literature.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Toni Morrison

I always looked upon the acts of racist exclusion, or insult, as pitiable, from the other person. I never absorbed that. I always thought that there was something deficient about such people.
Toni Morrison

I don't think a female running a house is a problem, a broken family. It's perceived as one because of the notion that a head is a man.
Toni Morrison

No one put the memo out that this is not a book to read before you go to sleep at night. Unfortunately that is the only time I have where someone will not be reading over my shoulder questioning my reading material. After reading the first fifty pages, I drifted off to sleep having some pretty wicked dreams.

So here is the memo : Read the book some time during the day so you have enough time to get the images out of your head before you go to sleep or you will have wicked dreams.

other than that the first fifty pages are interesting to say the least.

The next fifty pages were building up the four main characters mention in the story. Sethe a hard working ex slave that has been through hell to find her heaven in a hunted house she shares with her daughter, Paul D and Beloved. I learned more about Amy Denver in this section and I am not quite sure what her place in this story. She is almost like Sethe's angel in the woods, but she is a weird character. Beloved is another strange character I get a feeling later in the book I will learn she is something other than a beautiful girl making her way just so she can watch Sethe cook some rutabagas.

The book is beginning to become repetitive. I am not sure the purpose behind it, but I am slowly losing interest in the book. Sethe and Baby Suggss are my two favorite characters. Sethe is such a strong woman and Baby Suggs, even though she is dead, is continuing to be a strong moral character in the book. The Beloved is a twisted character I am quickly growing tired of her creepy ways of watching Sethe and seducing Paul D. I understand the book is named for this character, but I see no good use of the name or person in this book other than putting her out on the street.

Beloved is still a strange character. Pulling out a tooth like it nothing and being able love someone, but sleeping with her "man" is just shady. I still like Sethe even after I have learned she killed her own child. She did it out of fear. Fear her children would be taken back to Sweet Home and beat until nothing is left but shallow skeleton of human. When Sethe arrived at 124 that is all that was left of her and it is understandable she would do anything to keep that fate from her children. Even if sending them to heaven is the solution to having them go to Sweet Home.
I think it is ironic the one place everyone hates the most is called Sweet Home.

This section of the book is very confusing if not on the edge of being annoying. I can see why Sethe and Stamp Paid look back at the past because it helps tell the story of the present. I sometimes have to stop and think about what they are saying and then try to relate it to the earlier parts of the book.
One thing that really jumps out at me is on page 236 Sethe is talking about killing her baby and she says,"Why I did it. How if I hadn't killed her she would have died and that is something I could not bear to happen to her." What?! She kills her baby because she doesn't want her to die. Sethe character changes to into a completely different character after I read this line. School teacher was not after her children, he was after her. The question of did Sethe kill her child to save her own life comes into my mind. She is a loving mother, but people do crazy things when it comes to their own life.
We also find out why Denver never lives the house. She believes whatever caused her mother to kill her sister lives out in the yard. She also believes Beloved is her sister who has come back from the dead. Sethe and Denver both are turning into weird characters.

251- end
I am not sure I enjoyed the ending as much as the beginning. Beloved become so much more than just a ghost. She turned into a disease that plagued the house and everyone in it. The only good thing that came from Beloved living in the house was Dever finally got the courage to go and get help from the town's people. I am not sure Paul D. why he comes back to the house and then decides he wants to still be with Sethe.
The only part I didn't get was when I read the Beloved section. I didn't understand if she was talking about being in a coffin or seeing dead people. I thought when she was buried no one else was buried there.
It was a strange book. I am not sure I liked it. I was glad at the end Denver got out and made something of her life.

T. C. Boyle

"To be a friend of the earth, you have to be an enemy of man."
— T.C. Boyle (A Friend of the Earth)

"First you have nothing, and then, astonishingly, after ripping out your brain and your heart and betraying your friends and ex-lovers and dreaming like a zombie over the page till you can't see or hear or smell or taste, you have something."
— T.C. Boyle

"Chicxulub" what a cool story. Comparing a huge meteor to the death of their little girl makes sense to me. I am not a parent, but I could see how losing your child could destroy their world. The parents in this story are very laid back and smoke weed while the daughter is out with her friends. They mentioned they never thought she would know the smell of pot. I think telling us about the pot may suggest the parents don't have very many restrictions on their daughter.

I see a message in this story about parents and how they raise them. I even see how the story would tell a parent to spend more time with their child.

George Saunders

"Humor is what happens when we're told the truth quicker and more directly than we're used to."
— George Saunders

"The generalizing writer is like the passionate drunk, stumbling into your house mumbling: I know I'm not being clear, exactly, but don't you kind of feel what I'm feeling?"
— George Saunders

The story's title through me off guard. I was under the impression it would be about a sea side shore. I am well aware now the story is was not about any sea oats. Strippers, whores and a dead aunt tell the story of something completely different. I enjoyed reading it. Sometimes it nice to read something weird to keep life interesting. I am not sure where the title comes from, but maybe Saunders created a title to through people off guard.

I notice how this authors give such a vivid detail of everything they right about. As the class has progressed through the different time periods of writers, I realized the writers usually relate the material to what is going on in society or directly around them.
Are these writers telling us that society is giving us to many details about life?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Martin Espada

"Never pretend
to be a unicorn
by sticking a plunger on your head."
— Martin Espada

"A poem is not a pop-tart."
Martin Espada

The Skull Beneath the Skin of the Mango

Espada uses great imagery in this poem when he describes the mangoes. Mangoes are such a delicious fruit, but now thinking about a mango having a skull in it makes me want to pass on future fruit cups. I am ignorant on the pain the American government inflicted on these people, but as with many government plans I am sure the angry in the poem has a valid reason behind it.

Adrian C. Louis

"Tears upon the dry sponge of heart
do not prove I am Promethean."
— Adrian C. Louis
Dust World

This poem reminds me of Winder, GA. Trashy girls on a old car with dropouts working at the video store. Most people look high or drunk whenever the weekend rolls around. I know that is mean, but seriously go to Winder at 9pm on a Saturday and you will see what I am talking about.

Without Words
I see the silent cries of an alcoholic person who has no reason to stop drinking. "Decompose into a different flavor" reminds me of how whiskey changes flavor the older it gets. But unlike whiskey, men don't get a better flavor they just decompose.

Sherman Alexie

"Life is a constant struggle between being an individual and being a member of the community."
— Sherman Alexie

"The world, even the smallest parts of it, is filled with things you don't know."
— Sherman Alexie


Does he imply that the Indians pawn their lives to by liquor because the poem mentions the location of the liquor store is so close to the pawn shop? I wonder why he wrote this poem. Is it because he believes Native Americans have sold out their culture and the only ones who have true authentic Native American items are the collectors? The poem sounds like he is disappointed by the behavior of Native Americans.

Scalp Dance

To me the Spokane woman felt the artist was taking advantage of their hospitality and she did not like him. I could understand why. If I had someone wanting to paint me while I was in morning I would probably have done worse than slap his hand away. I understand the artist wants to paint a picture of the true spirit of the Native Americans, but I also think he is exploiting the Natives in the tribe.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Louise Glück

everyone forgive me for not having quotes for her instead here is a sweet little poem instead. I have read this poem before and just can't remember when.

"The Red Poppy"

The great thing
is not having
a mind. Feelings:
oh, I have those; they
govern me. I have
a lord in heaven
called the sun, and open
for him, showing him
the fire of my own heart, fire
like his presence.
What could such glory be
if not a heart? Oh my brothers and sisters,
were you like me once, long ago,
before you were human? Did you
permit yourselves
to open once, who would never
open again? Because in truth
I am speaking now
the way you do. I speak
because I am shattered."
— Louise Glück

Penelope's Song

Maria Callas is one thing that jumps out at me. I understand Penelope is singing out her loneliness to her husband, but I think it ironic she names Maria Callas. Callas was the one person that Aristotle Onassis could not live without despite his marriage to Jackie Kennedy. I wonder if Odysseus is Penelope's Onassis. They have both have people wanting them, but deep in their heart they only love each other. I could just be a romantic and believe everyone has that one great love that could survive anything.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Raymond Carver

"Life isn't beautiful. Life is only beautiful if you make it beautiful."
Raymond Carver

I am not quiet sure what to write about this short story. This group of poems has left a bad impression with me. They talk of love, but in a very negative way. Carver has lovers talking about two extreme loves. One is a crazy love where a man ends up killing himself. The old couple they talk about almost dies, but doesn't because they love each other so much. I guess he could be telling readers love has many faces and they could be good or bad.

Margaret Atwood

“War is what happens when language fails”
Margaret Atwood quote

“Does feminist mean large unpleasant person who'll shout at you or someone who believes women are human beings. To me it's the latter, so I sign up.”
Margaret Atwood quote

“An eye for an eye only leads to more blindness.”
Margaret Atwood quote“A divorce is like an amputation: you survive it, but there's less of you”
Margaret Atwood quote

Variations on the Word Love

This is a word we use to plug
holes with. It's the right size for those warm
blanks in speech, for those red heart-
shaped vacancies on the page that look nothing
like real hearts. Add lace
and you can sell
it. We insert it also in the one empty
space on the printed form
that comes with no instructions. There are whole
magazines with not much in them
but the word love, you can
rub it all over your body and you
can cook with it too. How do we know
it isn't what goes on at the cool
debaucheries of slugs under damp
pieces of cardboard? As for the weed-
seedlings nosing their tough snouts up
among the lettuces, they shout it.
Love! Love! sing the soldiers, raising
their glittering knives in salute.

Then there's the two
of us. This word
is far too short for us, it has only
four letters, too sparse
to fill those deep bare
vacuums between the stars
that press on us with their deafness.
It's not love we don't wish
to fall into, but that fear.
this word is not enough but it will
have to do. It's a single
vowel in this metallic
silence, a mouth that says
O again and again in wonder
and pain, a breath, a finger
grip on a cliff side. You can
hold on or let go.

I wanted to post something else by Atwood because the "Happy Ending" is such a depressing story.
For some reason "Happy Endings" creates a whirl of emotions for me. I am sure this story has been praised by great literary critics for its originality and the way she creates a unique short story. I want to slam this story into a black hole. She creates two characters, which are the most generic names every created, that go through a story that the reader chooses. John and Mary names are generic so more people can relate to the different scenarios. Why after every story do they have to die? John cheats they die. Mary cheats they die. Why is she reminding us that lovers die? Anybody reading this story is educated enough to understand life is short and we need to enjoy every minute of it.
Then there is the "everything continues as in A." First of all nothing turns out like the "A". Second she repeats this phrase. The phase is why I feel like my intelligence is questioned. Anyone who reads this story would know that "A" is fictitious.
I feel like this story questions my sanity. Atwood does not need to remind us to cherish everyday because we will die. I just don't like this story.
I am sure people who read this will think how stupid of a reaction, but don't forget we all are going die, so who cares?

John Ashbery

“There is the view that poetry should improve your life. I think people confuse it with the Salvation Army.”
John Ashbery quote

“The poem is sad because it wants to be yours, and cannot be.”
John Ashbery quote

"Street Musicians" I am not sure if he is talking about a lost musician souls walking thought the city looking at past places he onced played. Then he notices what a crappy world he use to live in and how people have destroyed the natural resources in it.
"They Dream Only of America" is a poem I have no clue what to say. In the first part of the poem, I thought he was talking about Americans, then I read "the murderer's ash tray is more easily." This line makes me think he is talking about a increased murder rate. I am not sure I am getting any thing right about this author's poems.

After class I noticed I was going down the right path of his poems. I guess I understand his poems better than I think I do. I do see myself as a blue collar worker even though I have a college education. I have that romantic idea hard work will still get you the American dream.

Philip Levine

"I'm saying look, here they come, pay attention. Let your eyes transform what appears ordinary, commonplace, into what it is, a moment in time, an observed fragment of eternity."
Philip Levine

"I'm afraid we live at the mercy of a power, maybe a God, without mercy. And yet we find it, as I have, from others."
Philip Levine

I like these poems. I think Levine's poem are very teachable and easy to read.
"Animals Are Passing From Our Lives" is such a good poem to me. I like the simple nature of a pig being taken to market. I do feel sorry for the pig because it sees "pudgy white fingers that shake out the intestines like a hankie." Watching another animal being handled in that manner would be upsetting.

"Fear and Fame" reminded me of a guy I dated in Macon who worked at a Chemical plant. He worked with acid and other chemicals in huge tubs. When the guy talks about "a gallon of hydrochloric steaming from the wide glass mouth" brought back memories of the smell of the chemicals. I remember leaning over the acid tank wanting to throw objects into to see what would happen. It is another world when you work in factories like that in the poem.

Adrienne Rich

“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”
Adrienne Rich quote

“Every journey into the past is complicated by delusions, false memories, false namings of real events.”
Adrienne Rich quote

I enjoyed "Power" it has a good message to it. I don't understand the first five lines in the poem and how it relates to the rest of the poem. "Living in the earth deposits of our history" does not really go with a poem about a noble prize winning scientist. "A hundred year old cure for fever or melancholy" could be a description of radiation. "Power" is one of the poems I liked best out of this section.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

John Upike

"A healthy male adult bore consumes each year one and a half times his own weight in other people's patience."
John Updike

"Any activity becomes creative when the doer cares about doing it right or better."
John Updike

"A&P" is such a man's story. The way Sammy talks about the girls is exactly the way most men look at women. He watches them walk around the story only looking at the white lines showing outside of their bathing suits. Sammy is smart beyond his age because he notices the behavior of the women. The have a "Queen" that is leading this group of women. His buddy Stokesie seems to only notice their bodies.
I understand why he is watching them, but I don't know why he quits his job over the comments by his boss. I would think most guys would not quit their job for a girl unless they got their phone number first. He thinks he is their "hero", but finds out later he made a mistake. Many people can relate to this story because everyone has done something and later down the road realized it was a mistake.

Donald Barthelme

"The best way to live is by not knowing what will happen to you at the end of the day... "
Donald Barthelme

"The Balloon"

I will be the first to admit this story may have been over my head.(no pun because of the balloon) I can see a balloon covering a city, but reading this story I envisioned smog covering the city. I could even see a "bubble" around a certain area of the city. A "bubble" of imaginary lines that keep people in or out of the specific area.
Why are some words in quotations? "Situation", "interesting", "landscape" why these words? I don't understand why these words are highlighted.
One line that sticks out to me is " That all these varied motions, as well as others, were within one's possibilities, in experiencing the "up" side of the balloon, was extremely exciting for children, accustomed to the city's flat, hard skin. But the purpose of the balloon was not to amuse the children." This line tells me one there is a purpose of the balloon and second it is being used by everyone for different reasons. I don't know what the purpose of the "balloon" is maybe someone can give a idea in class.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Anne Sextion

“It doesn't matter who my father was; it matters who I remember he was.”
Anne Sexton quote

“Saints have no moderation, nor do poets, just exuberance.”
Anne Sexton quote

"Her Kind"
This maybe a shot in the dark, but I think the writer is talking about everyday women. She has been a home maker and a woman who has tried to fulfill the idea of what a woman should be like in the fifties. The writer thinks all women are misunderstood.

Sylvia Plath

"And by the way, everything in life is writable about if you have the outgoing guts to do it, and the imagination to improvise. The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt."
Sylvia Plath

"But life is long. And it is the long run that balances the short flare of interest and passion."
Sylvia Plath

I never knew a flower could cause someone so much pain. Her sadness pours from the pages. The three words "I am nobody" tells the reader everything they need to know. The pain of being alive causes her misery and seeing what other people as pretty causes her pain. All she wants is to relieved of the pain she suffers.

Robert Lowell

“The light at the end of the tunnel is just the light of an oncoming train.”
Robert Lowell quote

“If youth is a defect, it is one we outgrow too soon.”
Robert Lowell quotes

"For the Union Dead"
When I first read this poem it made me think of the movie "Glory". "Shaw's father wanted no monument except the ditch. where his son's body was thrown and lost with his "niggers". Then a second and third reading I get a picture of aquarium that is being torn down. The author is comparing the South Boston Aquarium to Colonel Shaw and the first African American infantry. The aquarium and the infantry were "fish bone in the city's throat". Harsh words to compare an aquarium to the first all black infantry that gave their lives for the right to fight for their own country. Aquariums are created just to make money, but the infantry was created for a social purpose that helped give more opportunities to the African American population.

Just up dating... I think is the first poem that other people got the same ideas I had. I can't figure out if it was just pure luck or am I finally getting this poetry thing again. You would think after four years of going to poetry slams and writing my own I would understand these poets better. I guess having settling into the American dream has calmed the voices in my head.

John Berryman

“The world is gradually becoming a place where I do not care to be anymore”
John Berryman quote

“We have reason to be afraid. This is a terrible place.”
John Berryman quote

Clearly this man has issues. Henry's heart should be heavy, weeping and sleepless after he hacked a body in pieces. In the line "starts again always in Henry's ears the little cough somewhere, and odour, a chime", I think the body Henry hacked up is haunting him or he could have something that sets him of to hacking people up. Whatever it is Henry has serious mental issuses.


In "45" it sounds like our old friend the hacker Henry is being stalked. Or I might just want Henry to be stalked and his "stranger" be guilt following him through all this places.

Elizabeth Bishop

"All my life I have lived and behaved very much like the sandpiper - just running down the edges of different countries and continents, 'looking for something'."
Elizabeth Bishop

"The Man- Month" to me seems like a struggling actor or writer who tries to make in the big city, but finds rejection over and over again. He walks through the city never being seen by anyone. It is a sad little poem to me.

Allen Ginsberg

“Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.”
Allen Ginsberg quote

“Nobody saves America by sniffing cocaine. Jiggling your knees blankeyed in the rain, when it snows in your nose you catch cold in your brain.”
Allen Ginsberg quote

As I was looking up pictures to post for this blog I found more pictures of him naked than dressed. When I look at him I think of hippies. When I read "Howl" I thought of hippies too. The thought of free love, drugs and no rules goes into this poem. I assume this poem is autobiographical and Allen was writing about scenes he has witnessed. I read this poem late at night I found the lines about the endless cock and balls funny. I know many people were shocked by the language in the poem, but just some of his wording made it funny to me. I guess being around such a wide variety of people during my life has made me ammune to certain types of languge. To me "Howl" is a confession from a hippie. He is admitting that the free spirited behavior was slowly killing off all his friends. I don't get a mornful feeling about the death of friends.

Theodore Roethke

“Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.”
Theodore Roethke quote

“What we need is more people who specialize in the impossible”
Theodore Roethke quote

"My Papa's Waltz" to me reminds me of my dad when I visited him during the summers and him and my step mother would get drunk and start to act crazy. To me the boy "waltzing" with his dad is not really a dance it is the son trying to help the dad to bed. "Still clinging to your shirt" to me is a sign the dad is holding on to the boy for balance. The title to me says it is a reacurring waltz. He labled the actions of the waltz as his Papa's. I like the poem.

Gwendolyn Brooks

"I am a writer perhaps because I am not a talker."
Gwendolyn Brooks

"A writer should get as much education as possible, but just going to school is not enough; if it were, all owners of doctorates would be inspired writers."
Gwendolyn Brooks

“The Boy Died in My Alley” reminds me of the Elvis song “In the Ghetto” when I read it. They both describe how a boy lives in neighborhood and people see him, but they don’t know his name. I think when they left out the child’s name in the poem and in the song it makes the child seem like just another statistic instead of a real person.
I also feel like the person in the poem talking is not just one person, instead it is the neighborhood who heard the gun shot. The neighborhood “saw him going” and “saw him crossed”, but they “did not take him down”. People who lived in this neighborhood have become desensitized to the murders that happen in the area by saying “I have closed my heart-ears late and early.”
The end of the poem, “my alley is a special speech to me”; I would say the person feels so for the boys who have died there, but will not do anything to help them now or in the future.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Frank O'Hara

"So who's perfect? ... Washington had false teeth. Franklin was nearsighted...."

Full 'Frank O'Hara' Quote

The artificial is always innocent.
--Frank O'Hara

When I first read this poem I was seriously confused. The line “flat on a sheet of blood that ran down the stairs” is the line that I question. After reading it a couple times, I figured this line means his lover rolled out the red carpet for him. I pictured a lover laying a bed of rose petals waiting his guest to arrive.

“Why I Am Not a Painter”

"Why I Am not a painter" needs to say why am I poet. I see a self centered man in this poems. This one really lacks any meaning to me.

Tillie Olsen

“There are worse words than cuss words, there are words that hurt.”
Tillie Olsen

"The clock talked loud. I threw it away, it scared me what it talked."
Tillie Olsen

The line above "it scared me what it talked" is a line that speaks to me louder than anything I have ever read. Clocks remind me of so much more than just the time.
It is a constant reminder of my shorting life and how every minute that passes is another minute I grow old. I am sure that clock gave her nightmares about her life. I am sure it chimed over and over alone, alone at the stroke of every hour. Reminding her how lonely her world is.

"I Stand Here Ironing" to me is a confession of a mom about how she raised her eldest daughter. She tells us how she abandoned Emily and lack of affection for the child has made her daughter withdrawn from other people. The school official wants to help the child, but the mother is clueless on what the child needs. "That in some way you could use me as a key?" make me a little mad. It almost sounds like the mother doesn't care. At the end of the paragraph is says "that life has happened outside of me, beyond me." What the hell Lady! If someone is willing to help the girl more than you can than let them. I don't like to hear about poor people who keep having children when they can't take of the ones they have now. This story makes me want to get on my soap box.