Sunday, February 28, 2010
I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.
I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.
I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.
I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln
went down to New Orleans, and I've seen its
muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset
... and just try to tell me it doesn't conjure up some glorious, historical image in your head. It should.
This work wonderfully ties in modernism and the New Negro Movement. While using a free verse, yet flowing style, he looks back to the past. At the same time, he doesn't make race an issue. Sure, "Negro" is in the title but not mentioning race at all in the poem I think is very significant. He relates to the Euphrates and the Nile, hugely important rivers for the Classical Period of Sumerian and Egyptian culture. His soul is as ancient as these rivers; Hughes seems to be implying that since race was not an issue in human achievements and greatness during the Classical period, it should not be an issue today. His soul was born with these rivers, just like every one elses. And his final river, the Mississippi, I think implies that race should not inhibit overall human greatness in America.
This is just my interpretation, but like all poetry, it could have some vastly different meaning that my blonde-brain somehow missed. If this is all choppy, I apologize. Good literature just gets me all excited.
Saturday, February 27, 2010
largely irrelevant but while doing some work for my study abroad art application I found this costume design for Josephine Baker under a new negro movement vault. When I saw that I remembered that in Babylon Revisited Charlie goes to see Josephine perform, just a little imagery connection :D and a pretty crazy costume.
Friday, February 26, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
"hey music and me only white, hair a flutter of fall leaves circling my perfect line of a nose, no lips, no behind, hey white me and i’m wearing white history but there’s no future in those clothes so i take them off and wake up dancing."
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet, black bough.
When you think about all of the people and all of the faces you cross paths with on a daily basis you must ask yourself—by how many degrees do I know that person. I feel as though most of us get on the metro, bus or car every morning on our way to our day’s duties and don’t stop and think about the thousands of people we see doing the exact same thing and wonder if we in some strange way know them. Are they just faces in the crowd? Think about those people that you strike up a brief conversation with about the weather or last night’s big game. Did you just create another degree or if you had continued your conversation would you have realized that degree already exists and you have someone in common.
Saying “it’s a small world” is quite ironic because the world population is growing daily yet everyone seems to think it keeps getting smaller because of the connections and relationships we have formed across continents, between languages and beyond cultures. What does the future hold for the “six degrees of separation” and it is my belief that the saying may change and become a lower number of degrees if the world continues to connect in various technological ways. So next time you come across a sea of faces in a crowd ask yourself the questions I have posed and consider how you may know one of them.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
I can’t help but make the comparison between Alexander McQueen and “Richard Cory” by Edwin Arlington Robinson. Everyone thought Richard Cory lived a good life because he was richer than a king and looked as though everything was in place.
And he was rich, yes, richer than a king,
And admirably schooled in every grace:
In fine -- we thought that he was everything
To make us wish that we were in his place.
But clearly he did not feel his life was as perfect as everyone else thought it was because he put a bullet in his head at the end of the poem. We must ask ourselves the age old question of whether or not the grass really is greener on the other side?
Both of these stories tell us that no one ever really knows the secrets a person can hide and riches and fame don’t necessarily equate perfect happiness. It was a sad ending to Alexander McQueen’s life and career and as it was for Richard Cory, we should not assume a person’s life is perfect simply because they walk down the street with a smile on their face.
And Richard Cory, one calm summer night,
Went home and put a bullet in his head.
by William Carlos Williams
I have eaten
that were in
you were probably
they were delicious
and so cold
I read this poem and it really threw me for a loop. I know I've read it before in some English class somewhere, but I don't remember any discussion about it. I've done a little research and a lot of people seem to view it as having some metaphorical meanings. About the relationship between the author of the note (most seem to think that the poem is written in the form of a note) and who it is supposed to be to, latent sexuality, selfishness, etc.
Maybe my personal interpretation stems from me really liking happy endings and optimistic interpretations of things. I think it's beautiful and simple. I think it's even a little romantic. The author knows the other person was probably saving the plums for breakfast, but they eat them anyway. I felt like it was sort of about the give and take of love, because the author feels comfortable enough taking the plums and knows that they will be forgiven, and means to show how much the plums really gave him pleasure.
...But that isn't completely certain. They sort of issue a command, "Forgive me" as opposed to "I'm sorry." And once again, the author knew that the other person was probably saving them for breakfast. A friend of mine thinks that the author is even rubbing in the selfish act at the end. "So sweet," "so cold." It's a completely reasonable interpretation. It's a selfish act. I guess you can look at that selfish act in many different ways.
And I think that is sort of what makes it such a neat little poem; it is ambiguous and can be interpreted in a lot of ways, despite the fact that it is so sparse and bare bones.
My aunt is taking a poetry writing class at Kansas University, and the class used this poem for an exercise. The students were asked to replace words in this poem with other words and to watch the meaning of the poem change. I think part of the reason for the exercise was to show how much every word in a poem counts.
I have taken
that were on
they were important
and so warm
Does anyone else want to try? Thoughts on "This is Just to Say"?
This post will be cross-posted on my personal blog, Kaini Industries.
Monday, February 15, 2010
I'll admit, it isn't a topic I can really relate to. I've felt cold, but not one hundred degrees below freezing cold. My impression is that London expected that the vast majority of his audience actually can't relate, and that he could bring the awareness of the perils and power of nature to a wider audience through his writing. I can certainly appreciate his goal.
But this means doesn't justify the end. It stands that reading about a guy dying in the snow is terribly boring.
In my experience, the fact stands that it is awfully hard to make a story with a single character work well. It can be argued that the husky in the story is also a character, but if this is the case, both characters are still singular. They scarcely communicate at all and when they do, it is through gesture and sound. That is to say, there is no dialogue in the story, and character development is driven purely by their environment.
Once again, stories like this, with as few as one or two characters and no dialogue, can work, but I found myself slogging through "To Build a Fire" as if it were three feet of snow, and when I finally finished, I was really, honestly glad. The story reads in the same monotonous, dramatic style throughout, as if delivered by a turn-of-the-20th-century Bear Grylls. I found that, living in a world with cars and central heat, I couldn't really relate to the character's struggles.
Which brings up an important question; is "To Build a Fire" simply an obsolete story? Are the issues it brings up even relevant anymore, in a world where no one has to trek along the Oregon trail in negative seventy degree weather?
Considering the recent earthquake in Haiti, The Kashmir Earthquake and Hurricane Katrina in 2005, The Indian Ocean Tsunami in 2004 and other recent catastrophic events, it is obvious that nature pulls no punches and still poses a threat to people all over the world. Where "To Build a Fire" differs is that it deals with dangers of nature on an individual level, the aforementioned events are mostly collective concerns. However, it stands that collectives are made up of many individuals, and people should still be wary and educated about such dangers.
With that said, reading "To Build a Fire" is much like hearing a lecture from the old-timer on Sulpher Creek, and it is possible that what the story has to say could have more effectively been presented in the form of a public service announcement or a non-fiction article. And what I will say was positive about the story was that it replicated the traveler's panic and helplessness in myself, at least for a few pages toward the end, and I'm definitely not going to go outside in one hundred below weather without a partner anytime soon. I'm sure as far as Jack London would still be concerned, whatever gets the point across is to some extent a success.
This post will be cross-posted on my personal blog, Kaini Industries.