Sunday, April 12, 2009

Messy Room - Free Verse

By Shel Silverstein!

Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
His underwear is hanging on the lamp.
His raincoat is there in the overstuffed chair,
And the chair is becoming quite mucky and damp
His workbook is wedged in the window
His sweater's been thrown on the floor.
His scarf and one ski are beneath the TV,
And his pants have been carelessly hung on the door
His books are all jammed in the closet
His vest has been left in the hall.
A lizard named Ed is asleep in his bed,
And his smelly old sock has been stuck to the wall.
Whosever room this is should be ashamed!
Donald or Robert or Willie or--Huh?
You say it's mine?
Oh, dear, I knew it looked familiar!

I believe that this poem isn't really as deep as one would try to make it. He is criticizing the mess of this person's room when it turns out to be his to which he replies with a simple "oh, dear." Which means that this mess obviously wasn't a big deal at all. It's almost as if he's saying that it doesn't matter if your room is messy, people make mistakes and they move on. He is able to live in his own room right? So why should he bother making a big deal out of this mess. Normal and human people probably have messy rooms and I believe that he is trying to tell the readers that it is OK to be a little messy once and a while. It's all in good fun because it's so absurd. His underwear is hanging on the lamp and his smelly sock is stuck in the wall.

This is supposed to be a relatable poem because everyone's room gets a little messy once and a while. Shel Silverstein is telling us to move on, worry about something else instead of getting caught up in our own worlds or even worrying about other's so much.

Slam Poetry

Well, knowing absolutely nothing about Slam Poetry besides the cliched open mic atmosphere that is presented in movies, I decided to google famous Slam Poets in order to find some direction. The first name I came across was Alix Olson which brought me to another name that I remembered from watching a movie in Creative Writing Class: Suheir Hammad.

I absolutely loved this when I heard it. It is so powerful.

I believe that Suheir Hammad wrote this for her opinion to be heard first and foremost. She wants listeners to understand where she is coming from as a woman, and as a Palestinian. Amid all the people who continue to talk about "the first bombs being dropped over there" and how they're going to "get them so bad", she wants them to know that they are lumping a group of people together for the actions of a smaller group. She wants people to take a step back and actually realize the hypocrisy of the assumptions that they make. She is talking about how so many people assume that they know her because of the actions that a few others have performed. Of course, she is talking about 9/11 and where there once was steel, "now there is sky" and where there once was "flesh" there is "smoke."

She finds comfort in a woman that she describes as having "flesh." A woman who lends out her hand to help. This flesh is actually the capacity to love and forgive. Suheir is talking about the fact that this woman has substance and the fact that she has a heart. The way Suheir says it shows that there is very few of those people out there.

Although it was brief, she mentions what views people have on "evil." She says that it is now associated with some writing and a flag, but she wants people to know that not everyone is truely evil who comes from that same country. She asks why white people haven't been "villainized" and I believe she has a point. You can't judge someone based on someone else's actions.

"Over there, is over here now" explains how she feels about the way she is treated by other Americans. She realizes that she and her family will never be treated the same again and she knows that although she sees the beauty in the Muslim faith, but others will not because of how they have been portrayed.

I think I've said it enough, this poem is about learning to listen to other people's stories. It is impossible to stick a label on someone else based off of another person's actions.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

"Death Fugue" - Paul Celan. Elegy

Black milk of morning we drink you at dusktime
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at night
we drink and drink
we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
he writes it and walks from the house and the stars all start flashing he whistles his dogs to draw near
whistles his Jews to appear starts us scooping a grave out of sand
he commands us to play for the dance

Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at dawntime and noontime we drink you at dusktime
we drink and drink
There’s a man in this house who cultivates snakes and who writes
who writes when it’s nightfall nach Deutschland your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite we scoop out a grave in the sky where it’s roomy to lie
He calls jab it deep in the soil you lot there you other men sing and play
he tugs at the sword in his belt he swings it his eyes are blue
jab your spades deeper you men you other men you others play up again for the dance

Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at noontime and dawntime we drink you at dusktime
we drink and drink
there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite he cultivates snakes

He calls play that death thing more sweetly Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
he calls scrape that fiddle more darkly then hover like smoke in the air
then scoop out a grave in the clouds where it’s roomy to lie

Black milk of morning we drink you at night
we drink you at noontime Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland
we drink you at dusktime and dawntime we drink and drink
Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland his eye is blue
he shoots you with leaden bullets his aim is true
there’s a man in this house your golden hair Margareta
he sets his dogs on our trail he gives us a grave in the sky
he cultivates snakes and he dreams Death is a gang-boss aus Deutschland

your golden hair Margareta
your ashen hair Shulamite

This is an Elegy to Holocaust Survivers and it is pretty horrific when you think about what he is writing about. I was certainly disturbed by some of the imagery here.

The imagery of black milk could possibly be seen as a Euphemism (the substitution of a mild, indirect, or vague expression for one thought to be offensive, harsh, or blunt). I see it as almost the blood of the other members of the concentration camps. They must drink this black milk in order to survive, but in turn they are killing their own friends and family members like Shulamith who I believe the speaker is related to. He is writing about digging other people's graves. Usually milk is seen as something pure and white, but here it is something that the reader clearly loathes because he "must" drink it. IT is something that isn't good at all and it is scary to think about having to sacrifice others so that another person can live.

They are ordered by the "Meister" who is actually Hitler. He plays with his "snakes" that are actually his Nazi soldiers. The Allusion (A reference to something supposed to be known, but not explicitly mentioned; a covert indication; indirect reference; a hint ) of the snakes is to associate Hitler with possibly the devil.

Rising in smoke to the sky is another image that is truly disturbing. The speaker is talking about burning the corpses of the dead through the euphemism of finding a place in the sky.

"Ode on Melancholy" - John Keats

Ode on Melancholy

NO, no! go not to Lethe, neither twist
Wolf's-bane, tight-rooted, for its poisonous wine;
Nor suffer thy pale forehead to be kist
By nightshade, ruby grape of Proserpine;
Make not your rosary of yew-berries,
Nor let the beetle, nor the death-moth be
Your mournful Psyche, nor the downy owl
A partner in your sorrow's mysteries;
For shade to shade will come too drowsily,
And drown the wakeful anguish of the soul.

But when the melancholy fit shall fall
Sudden from heaven like a weeping cloud,
That fosters the droop-headed flowers all,
And hides the green hill in an April shroud;
Then glut thy sorrow on a morning rose,
Or on the rainbow of the salt sand-wave,
Or on the wealth of glob├Ęd peonies;
Or if thy mistress some rich anger shows,
Emprison her soft hand, and let her rave,
And feed deep, deep upon her peerless eyes.

She dwells with Beauty—Beauty that must die;
And Joy, whose hand is ever at his lips
Bidding adieu; and aching Pleasure nigh,
Turning to poison while the bee-mouth sips:
Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

The first stanza of this poem explains that the reader must not forget or try and avoid the feeling of melancholy which is evident from the first line, "No, no! Go not to Lethe, neither twist." Lethe hapens to be a river that people drink from to forget and Keats is telling you to basically embrace your melancholy, do not try to forget or repel what it feels like. And he does not want us to find comfort in our prayers using the Yew-Beads.

In the second stanza, Keats uses figurative language (to make a meaning fresh or clearer, to express complexity, to capture a physical or sensory effect, or to extend meaning) while describing the fit of melancholy as dropping from the heavens and on to the flowers that droop. He uses flowers because although the flowers are drooping, they are still beautiful. Keats wants the reader to realize that they should make some kind of good out of any situation. Although the "shroud" of rain hides the "green hill" the hills will still be there when the rain is gone. He wants us to wait out the feelings, embrace them, and somehow see it as a positive emotion.

In the third stanza, Keats explains that even joy is short-lived. Beauty and Joy must die. Keats is telling us that we must embrace all feelings because it is wrong to surpress them. He doesn't tell us what happens if we do, but he does not want us to have that happen.

"One Art" - Elizabeth Bishop. Villanelle

The art of losing isn't hard to master;
so many things seem filled with the intent
to be lost that their loss is no disaster.

Lose something every day. Accept the fluster
of lost door keys, the hour badly spent.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

Then practice losing farther, losing faster:
places, and names, and where it was you meant
to travel. None of these will bring disaster.

I lost my mother's watch. And look! my last, or
next-to-last, of three loved houses went.
The art of losing isn't hard to master.

I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster,
some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent.
I miss them, but it wasn't a disaster.

--Even losing you (the joking voice, a gesture
I love) I shan't have lied. It's evident
the art of losing's not too hard to master
though it may look like (Write it!) like disaster.

"The art of losing," was something that I interpreted at first as just being forgetful. She talks about losing her car keys and losing names of places and people which won't "bring disaster."

However, as the poem continues, the things she loses increase in value such as her mother's watch and even rivers and continents. She misses them, but they weren't very tragic losses and this is because she has become so used to losing things. The purpose of why she starts out with losing car keys is because she starts to numb herself to the idea of loss (something that is very hard for many people to deal with). She does not make a big deal out of losing her car keys, nor does she make a big deal out of forgetting people's name. So when the time comes that she loses "you" it doesn't affect her as much as one would probably think it should. This is where the art of losing becomes something that she has "mastered" because it takes a while to numb your feelings about losing something that meant a lot to you.

I believe that Bishop is saying that this is a good thing. She is telling the reader that it is not hard to master the art of losing, but it takes some practice. So when a "disaster" does strike, people will not have a hard time moving on. She wants people to be able to move on because if they dwell in the past of losing someone and trying to recapture their memories with them, they will never grow into a stronger person. She wants the reader to be strong about losing something like she is.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Parent's Pantoum by Carolyn Kizer

Comment on this, please :)

How would you describe the relationship between the daughter and her children?

A pantoum is composed of a series of stanzas with four lines called quatrains. The second and fourth line of the first stanza are used as the first and third of the next stanza. In the last stanza, the first line of the poem is used as the last line of the poem.

At the beginning of Parent's Pantoum, a concerned motherly voice speaks to us. She begins by asking us a question that almost seems desperate, "Where did these enormous children come from?". She realizes that her children have grown up so quickly and they have become," more ladylike that we have ever been," but they still walk in their "fragile heels," which I believe to symbolize their fragile nature in general. It seems that there is a disconnect between the mother and her children, and the fragile heels are possibly their relationship that is on the rocks.

As the poem continues, she seems to be complaining about her children. She realizes that they, "moan about their aging more than we do," and she seems to be frustruated that they can't stop and live for a while. I believe this might be a comment on the fact that the new generation is too uptight and that they can't slow down. Their life is always structured and rigid and it is hard for the older generation of parents to watch them become so busy. She wants her children to appreciate life more, "why don't they brighten up?"

She compares herself to stars, and I believe that maybe she still wants the spotlight, but she knows her life is dedicated to her daughters at that moment. She has to spend her life caring for them now, so they become, "second-childish."

I believe in general this poem is about the disconnect between the old generation of parents and the new generation of children. The children in the poem seem to not want anything to do with their parents, occasionaly throwing them, "morsels of their history," and the parents have a hard time relating to the kids because, "they never listen to their stories." But in the end, the speaker realizes that they are just mirrors of each other, but they are scared to admit that to the other one because they know it's true.

Listen! To Carolyn Kizer read the poem:

Monday, February 9, 2009

Audre Lorde...

Audre Lorde
  • Born on February 18, 1934 in New York City.
  • Her parents were immigrants from Grenada and she is the youngest of three sisters.
  • Lorde received her B.A. from Hunter College and an M.L.S. from Columbia University.
  • Married Edward Rollins in 1962 and had two children, Elizabeth and Jonathon, before divorcing in 1970.
  • Her book From a Land Where Other People Live (1972) was nominated for a National Book Award.

Interesting Fact

While she was still in high school, her first poem appeared in Seventeen magazine.

Hanging Fire Blog Presentation

Hanging Fire

I am fourteen
and my skin has betrayed me
the boy I cannot live without
still sucks his thumb
in secret
how come my nees are
always so ashy
what if I die
before the morning comes
and momma's in the bedroom
with the door closed.

I have to learn how to dance
in time for the next party
my room is too small for me
suppose I die before graduation
they will sing sad melodies
but finally
tell the truth about me
there is nothing I want to do
and too much
that has to be done
and momma's in the bedroom with the door closed.

Nobody even stops to think
about my side of it
I should have been on Math Team
my marks were better than his
why do I have to be
the one
wearing braces
I have nothing to wear tomorrow
will I live long enough
to grow up
and momma's in the bedroom
with the door closed.


The poem's voice is very strong here. Audre Lorde captures the essence of puberty and the process of becoming a young adult. That is why I believe this poem is titled Hanging Fire. This title suggests that the speaker is waiting for something to happen, and that something is finally being able to grow up. Being a kid is clearly torturous for her and Lorde uses this character's voice to portray that. We get inside a typical teenager's head, one that worries about what kind of clothes she is going to wear the next day or why her knees are so ashy. Most teens are self-conscious and this one is no different. This character also seems to be awkward and overdramatic as well which is a very authentic teenage voice. She worries about learning to dance which is scary for most teenagers, but she also blows things out of proportion as well. She is so over-dramatic she talks about dying before her graduation and how she is worried what people will say about her. It is so typical teenager, I believe Lorde captures it perfectly.

The tone of this poem is also important and the diction helps set the tone. This teenager is just flat out worrying about everything which is what a lot of teenagers do. You get the sense of worry throughout this poem. She is stressed and the tone really portrays that. The diction sets this tone because the speaker makes generalizations such as, "nobody even stops to think about my side of it," and how her skin has "betrayed," her. She is very overdramatic which is characteristic of a teenager.

The imagery of the mother plays a big part in this poem as well. This line is repeated all throughout the poem, "and momma's in the bedroom with the door closed." I find this interesting because it is very ambiguous. I think it is representative of the fact that this speaker has to grow up alone which is a very hard thing to do. Puberty is a time of self-discovery yes, and I believe the speaker is commenting on the fact that one can't rely on another person to find one's self which is why the mother was locked up in the bedroom. Puberty is a journey that one must go through by themselves. Another way to look at the imagery of the locked up mother is that her mother just wasn't there in the first place. Her mother could have been an absent figure in her life and that is a scary thing (to grow up without the guidance of a motherly figure). I think this really impacted her so she reminds herself and the reader of it at the end of every stanza. She was probably hurt by the fact that her mother was absent and so she reflects on it everytime she needs help.

Gwendolyn Brooks...

Gwendolyn Brooks
  • born in Topeka, Kansas, in 1917 and raised in Chicago.
  • In 1938, Gwendolyn Brooks married Henry Blakely and gave birth to two children: Henry Jr. and Nora
  • She is the author of more than twenty books of poetry.
  • She received the Pulitzer Prize for her book Annie Allen
  • In 1968 she was named Poet Laureate for the state of Illinois
  • She received an American Academy of Arts and Letters award as well.
  • After a short battle with cancer, Gwendolyn Brooks died on Sunday December 3, 2000 at the age of 83.

Interesting Fact: Brooks attended Hyde Park High School, the leading white high school in teh city, but transferred to the all-black Wendell Phillips, then to the integrated Englewood High School. These schools gaver her a perspective on racial dynamics in the city that influences most of her work.

"We Real Cool" Blog Presentation

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

The rhythm of this poem is extremely important for two reasons. The first one being that because the poem flows so easily together, it makes it easily accessible to the audience that Gwendolyn Brooks was trying to target. That target audience is the "troubled youth of the 1960s." She wanted her poem to be easily readable because she knew that most of them weren't as literate as she hoped because they clearly didn't find school worth their time. So, Gwendolyn Brooks comments on that by saying that this lifestyle of hitting the streets instead of the books will lead to death by ending her poem with the line, "we die soon." She is almost warning these specific boys and the general youth to pay attention to their studies because if you don't, you'll end up in a lot of trouble, mainly: Death. She wanted her message to be a strong one by associating all these strong feelings of "ecstasy" and then abruptly stopping them by alluding the fact that all the characters in the poem will die soon.

The use of the pronoun "We" is also important because it is like a rallying word. It unifies the audience by making them act as one unit instead of seperating them and singling them out. She wants to make sure that her message reaches al the youth of the 1960s.

Gwendolyn Brooks' tone in this poem is very important and can be interpreted differently depending on how the reader views it. One could say that the poem's tone is almost that of a maternal one in which she actually cares about the boys' well-being. She actually took the time to write the poem and express her concern for how the illiterate youth will die because of their reckless behavior. Another person could argue that her poem expresses ambivalence towards the boys' behavior. This is because she only plays as an observer allowing them to, "die soon," because she knows that the boys' lifestyles will lead to a probable death.

The other reason that rhythm is so important is because by using such a rhythm, Gwendolyn Brooks captures the feeling of freedom in her poem. There is a care-free tone to this because of how effortlessly the poem is strung together by the diction. The reader is introduced to this feeling of being on top of the world so to speak. The short sentence structure almost jabs at the reader and this demonstrates the "no holds barred" lifestyle choice of these boys. This diction symbolizes how the boys feel when they are skipping school, they obviously feel empowered and strong. They feel like nothing can touch them and the sharpness of these lines really captures that feeling. The rhyming of the poem gives it a feel of a jazz piece, and that parallels the feeling of "cool" that the boys have when they are out skipping school. The rhymes help bring the whole piece together by giving it that "cool-as-ice" feel.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sick of Roses...

a song in the front yard
Gwendolyn Brooks

I’ve stayed in the front yard all my life.
I want a peek at the back
Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows.
A girl gets sick of a rose.

I want to go in the back yard now
And maybe down the alley,
To where the charity children play.
I want a good time today.

They do some wonderful things.
They have some wonderful fun.
My mother sneers, but I say it’s fine
How they don’t have to go in at quarter to nine.
My mother, she tells me that Johnnie Mae
Will grow up to be a bad woman.
That George’ll be taken to Jail soon or late
(On account of last winter he sold our back gate).

But I say it’s fine. Honest, I do.
And I’d like to be a bad woman, too,
And wear the brave stockings of night-black lace
And strut down the streets with paint on my face.

Since this is supposed to from our favorites, I'm going to do one more of Gwendolyn Brook's poems! She's definitely one of my favorites, I don't know why, I always seem to like her poetry when I read it however, it has a certain rhythm to it that is so present in a lot of her poems, it's wonderful.

The voice Brooks uses is a young and longing voice. The main character desires to be like the other kids who are from "the wrong side of the tracks." She really admires these girls. You can tell that the narrator is very naive and young because of her use of the word "paint" for make-up which suggests that she is growing up in a very sheltered household and that her mother is very protective of her. Again, there is this rhythm that flows throughout the whole poem, like one could sing this poem as well as recite it.

Brooks also uses the front and the back yards as symbols for different parts of society. The front yard represents the author's disciplined and protected life style, she compares her lifestyle to a rose, and she is "sick" of them. In the front yard she watches life, rather than participating in it. The backyard represents a life that is grittier "Where it’s rough and untended and hungry weed grows." These kids that live in the backyard, "don't have to go in at quaarter to nine" and she is very jealous of that. She wants to live a little and experience things, but her mother is always keeping her from doing anything like that.

The conflict of growing up is strong in this poem. The narrator wants to grow up, but her mother is an oppressive force who sneers at the kids in the backyard and the desires of the narrator to be like the other kids. The mother says that the girls "Will grow up to be a bad" women, trying to discourage the daughter from wanting to go play with the other kids.

As for external form, the poem has a sort of "couplet" at the end, which could suggest that this is a loose form of a sonnet, but there is no other indication of it being one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

What lips my lips have kissed, and where and why by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The rhyme scheme of this poem follows abbaabba cdefedf and this is typical for petrarchan sonnets. This poem also includes the octave talking about her former loves and how she wishes they would remember her, or she could remember them. The sestet talks about how she is very lonely and the fact that she has no passion anymore.

This poem is about rememberance, with a nostalgiac tone Millay talks about the lovers she's had, and the many people she has shown affection to. She can't remember exactly who they were, or why she has exchanged kisses with, but she wants to know where they are now, and she longs to know that. She describes her sadness by the imagery of the tree that "stands" in "winter" and the the fact that the "birds have vanished one by one." She feels extreme loneliness and she expresses that through the imagery of winter's effect on nature (the lonely and bare tree with now birds). she knows that she has loved, and had passion once, but "summer sings" in her no more, and she has lost all that passion that she once had. She hopes that the "unremembered lads" will remember her instead.

Range-Finding by Robert Frost

This is a sonnet that follows a rhyme scheme of abba abba ccad deffe so this is kind of deviating from the normal rhyme scheme that is present in other sonnets. However, the traditional useage fourteen lines is present but there is no identifiable rhyming couplet at the end of the poem.

This poem uses nature's point of view to describe the violence of war. This is what Frost usually does, he implements the use of nature to show a greater meaning with his work. This poem is about how war can effect everything and anything around it. It follows the "story" of one bullet that a soldier has fired in the act of Range-Finding (which means to adjust for the wind and distance and such). On it's travel through the air, the bullet manages to hit a flower, but the bird seems "indifferent" about it because "still the bird revisited her young" so she is more looking out for herself, which is kind of what happens in the midst of a war. Human instinct takes over, and survival of the fittest is the main operator when one is caught in a war. Even the butterfly is only concerned with finding a higher place to rest. The spider is upset that there is no fly in its web because of the way it "sullenly" withdraws back to its home.

Also, I believe the fact that Robert Frost had the bullet "destroy" two things considered naturally beautiful (spider webs and flowers) is his own way of showing how nothing good comes out of war and he demonstrates how brutally cold it is and its disregard for anything but death.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Cobwebs by Christina Rossetti

I believe Christina Rossetti is describing her conscience and her mind. I believe she was very lonely here, because that is the feeling I get when I read this sonnet. The rhyme scheme in this sonnet goes abba abba cdcede and it goes 8-4-2 seperating rhyme scheme.

The imagery here is very somber and lifeless. She describes a land which is very flat and has nothing to it, everything is empty, and I believe that is her describing how she feels on the "loveless land" which shows she is lonely. There is absolutely no emotion as shown by her saying, "No future hope no fear for evermore," she is completely cold almost as if she is dead. I bleieve it is called cobwebs because she possibly feels old here, like she has been sitting here lifeless for ages. She hasn't felt anything in this horribly lonely place for so long, that all there is left are cobwebs. It also adds to the loneliness of the whole poem.

There isn't any change here is well, no "ebb and flow" or "no moons or season wax and wane," so that could also be the meaning for the title of cobwebs, she is in this grey and boring land and she is also stuck here because nothing is changing for her. So cobwebs have developed all around her.

First Fight, Then Fiddle...

After reading "We Real Cool" I decided to look at more Gwendolyn Brooks because I've read some other works of hers and I always enjoy them.

"First Fight, Then Fiddle" Is a traditional petrarchan sonnet. The Norton talks about stanzas and how they break up different thoughts, here Brooks breaks up her thoughts in two different "sections" so the first 8 lines have one idea, while the next 4 have a different idea. The poem has a Couplet as well at the end of the poem.

The first 8 lines of the poem are about positive things, which is strange because in the title she tells you to first fight, then fiddle, but here she is talking about tings like fiddling first. So in the beginning, there is no mention of anything violent, she mentions imagery such as "ply the slipping string," which drives home the idea of mentioning the act of fiddling before one goes to fight.

Once the reader gets to the 9th line, there is a sudden change in tone, it goes from pleasant to violent by using language such as "A while from malice and from murdering." In these next four lines she talks about war, and how ugly and dehumanizing it is. She makes it clear that people are senseless during a war by telling the reader to, "be deaf to music, and to beauty blind." She also shows how people need to forget their emotions when their fighting a war, by leaving behind "harmony." The mainly one syllable rhymes also gives the poem a rough feel to it, like "sing thing, hate late," it makes the poem sharp like a war.

We Real Cool

by Gwendolyn Brooks

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike Straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin gin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

This poem I think is all about the economy of words and how she is able to convey a feeling of free spiritness into 24 words. I believe it is possible to hear a person saying this with an attidude of arrogance, and listening to her read it on and talking about it, I think that point is made even clearer. I'm fascinated by her thought process here, and how she went from "why aren't these boys in school," to "how do they feel right now," and I believe she was able to capture that feeling of mischevious play in this poem. I am amazed at how she can convey this very "cool" feeling in such a small amount of words.

Here is where you can hear Gwendolyn Brooks actually talk about her poem and then read it. I think it's one thing to read it yourself, but to hear the actual author read it, is a whole new story. I think it's great the way she reads this.

Reading by Gwendolyn Brooks

Tear the court down and make it a dance floor...

I believe this poem by Stephen Dunn is about how he is kind of inspired by whatever hits speaks to him at the time. Dunn wants to talk about how poetry is rooted from moments in life, you don't find poetry, it almost finds you, in "an apple orchard," or "an old hotel," whatever hits a writer at that moment. He talks about the "gray areas," where he finds the inspiration to write something. He wants his words to make him feel as though he's, "been taken somewhere." That is the beginning of poetry.

In the middle, he talks about how having a "fast red car and a winding road," is a good thing, which I think of as losing yourself in the poetry and letting it take you where it needs to go, so all you have to do is stear the wheel and nothing else. I really like that metaphor.

The book asks about the final two lines of the poem. "Strange music beginning, the dance floor getting crowded now." I think this is his pictation of how a poem hits him and he is inspired to write one. "Strange music" could be the language used to write the poem and the crowded dance floor could be his mind becoming crowded with ideas.