Week 3: Olsen, Welty, Roethke, Brooks, etc.

Gwendolyn Brooks
I liked Gwendolyn Brooks's poetry. You can tell by reading her work that she is a strong, proud black woman. I like how she uses dialect in her poetry and how she mentioned specific places and objects, for example the L train. I like the poem "of De Witt Williams on His Way to Lincoln Cemetery" because it is the simple story of a black man going to visit a black cemetery. Her pride in her race is reflected in her poetry.

Why I Live at the P.O. is a dark humor story. At parts it reminds me of my own family with the arguing and the misunderstanding. Lisa and I were talking about how much this sounds like our families and how one minute everything is fine and the next your whole family is against you because of a stupid misunderstanding.

It's interesting how these two short stories started out of have a woman ironing in them. In this story she is reflecting about her daughter as she irons clothes. The tone of this story is so sad. She talks about facial expressions quite a bit and how she doesn't smile that often, but I don't blame her! Shes 19 with a child, her husband has left her, shes in the depression, sheesh I wouldn't ever smile either. I do like the ending though how she compares the dress to life and how there is always a larger force pushing and pulling and making things the way they are.

Alan Ginsberg
Howl is wow. I don't even know where to begin with this. I guess I will begin by disagreeing with Lisa. She doesn't know what shes talking about. I had to borrow her book and read it aloud because apparently the previous owner of my book felt the same way Lisa did and hated it and ripped it out of my book. :(. I love that there is no punctuation other than a comma. I love the first part the most. It's just a wild story and hes jumping from one part to another to another and it goes so fast and it's fun to read. I like it.

Elizabeth Bishop
I really like the poem "One Art." It makes me think of what the progression of Alzheimer's might be light. Start of forgetting little things and then they get bigger and bigger. I like the pattern of the poem and the rhyme scheme.

Theodore Roethke
Oh "My Papa's Waltz" where do I begin? This has to be one of my favorite poems probably because of the argument's that can be had because of it. I'm going to refrain from presenting what I think until the day I present it because I want to know what everyone else thinks. Usually I hear three different arguements. I hear it's about a loving father and son, molestation, or child abuse. You decide.

Frank O'Hara
Today is an awesome poem. I love the specific things he decided to list. "These things are with us every day even on beachheads and biers" to mean means through the times you feel most alive and the time you are dead. These little things are special because they aren't specifically special in the first place.


Week 2: Claude McKay, James Weldon Johnson, Langston Hughes

James Weldon Johnson

Oh Black and Unknown Bards

I love this poem. It not only gives great images but also lets you hear the music he talks about. I love the songs he mentioned as well. You can almost hear the conviction in the singers voices. It makes me think of chain gangs and mammies. These songs kept their culture strong and got them through the hard times. They were denied everything for so long so they had to make the best with what they had; their voices.

The White Witch

In this poem he is talking about how evil the white woman is. He is talking about interracial relationships between black men and white women. I think their relationship doesn't work because they don't come from the same place. He makes her out to be the bad guy which isn't necessarily true. Her beliefs towards relationships could be entirely different from his based on her up bringing. It seems like a lost in translation situation.


Week 1: T.S. Eliot, Robert Frost, Wallace Stevens

T.S. Eliot

"Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"

J. Alfred Prufrock is a lonely man with obvious insecurities that are reflected in his choice of woman. He picks women that aren't from his same socio-economic background. He picks women that don't mind sleazy hotels for a one night stand or restaurants that have saw dust on the floors. He picks these women because they don't care about his bald spot, skinny arms, or skinny legs. He feels like his love life is dead and he tries to bring it to life again by almost forcing one of his dates to have sex with him. Prufrock has a difficult time communicating with females and as a result fails to consummate his relationship. He constantly questions whether or not it would be worth it. He wants to say something but never does. When the date ends he feels as though he has failed and he starts again the next day with a new woman.

"Journey of the Magi"

As Lisa Henderson informed me this is a rip off of the "Three Kings" which apparently I know nothing about because I'm Jewish. Upon further reading I find that T.S. Eliot is writing about the journey without any fluff. The journey sucked.

Wallace Stevens

"The Study of Two Pears"

This poem is so straight forward it goes against the modernist vision. You read it almost like you need to interpret it ten different ways when it's just simply about a pear. It's hard to believe that Stevens wrote a poem that spells it out for you like this one and then also write a poem like "Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird" where all 13 stanzas make you think about something completely different. The last two lines tell the reader that you can not make the pear be something it isn't

"Thirteen Ways of Looking At A Blackbird"

I feel like the Blackbird is an ever present object in everyone's life but you don't see it unless you want to see it. Blackbirds are also a representation of bad things to come. In some of the verses it uses the blackbird as a scapegoat. In certain stanzas of this poem the blackbird is tangible and in others it's just a figment of the imagination.

Robert Frost

"The Need of Being Versed In Country Things"
"Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening"/"Gathering Leaves"/"In a Disused Graveyard"/"Nothing Gold Can Stay"/"Desert Places"/"Two Tramps in Mud Time"/"Neither Out Far Or In Deep"/"Never Again Would Bird's Song Be The Same"/"The Gift Outright"

I dislike Robert Frost so much that most of this entry will be bashing him. The speaker of "Stopping by Woods on a Snow Evening" is travelling and on his way he stops at some woods to observe the beauty. That's it. How could it be so simple to be a modernist poem? in "Gathering Leaves" is raking leaves up and he talks about how there is so much but so little at the same time. He talks about how the colors have gone since they're dead. In a "Disused Graveyard" he is talking about how the living only come to observe the graveyard and how the dead are the ones who use it. With the dead being the only people who use the graveyard it doesn't get much use at all. In "Nothing Gold Can Stay" he is talking about literal gold and the idea of a golden life. Eden was a perfect place and fell after the first sin of man. The sunset is golden and then it dissapears. Leaves are gold in the fall and they die. Gold is like green because green is the color of money. Everything gold eventually goes away. " Tramps in a Mud Tire" is about some lumberjacks coming out of the woods and seeing the speaker of the poem chopping wood. They do it for pay and he does it for pleasure.

Ernest Hemingway

"Hills Like White Elephants"

This story is about a man and a woman facing the difficult decision of having an abortion. The man wants it and the female, Jig, doesn't. She doesn't seem to have a say in it really. They are both participating in the conversation but he keeps it going. She tells him to be quiet but he keeps talking. They both have their own idea of what will happen to them if she has the operation. She knows that nothing will ever be the same although she tries to convince herself otherwise. Deep down they both want things to be the care free way they were before but they also know it will never happen. The title makes me think of the saying "elephant in the room." It seems like the elephant in this case is the potential abortion. It almost seems like he is giving her an ultimatum. Regardless of their decision nothing will ever be the same.

William Faulkner

"A Rose For Emily"

This story is a strange one. Emily has a lot of psychological issues pertaining to men. They stem from her father and his ability to drive every suitor she ever had out of her life. Because he did that she clung on to him even after death because she was convinced that he was the only man for her. When the town finally realized that her father had been dead for quite sometime they burried him and she was left without a man. Someone new comes to town, a yankee, and she takes him for a new suitor. The town said he is not the marrying kind. She didn't listen and would not let this one go. She took his life and kept him in her bed. Even as he dissolved further into death she didn't let go. Only after her death did the town see her sick obsession with men and death.