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for African American Women in Black Media class

quick bio on Oscar Micheaux, independent black director )
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Condensed Epics: The Evolution of Long (Epic) Poetry and the Attention Span
April 2009

We don’t have the attention span for long poetry.

"Meadowlands" is an epic for a generation conditioned for Attention Deficit Disorder.

cut for a long paper, saying what's just been said )
wellownedbkup: (genius)
Walt Whitman v. T. S. Eliot, Views on War
March 2009

cut here for too-short long paper on long poetry and war )
wellownedbkup: (tape)
Images, Robert Hass and A Decade, Amy Lowell—An Analysis
February 3, 2009

cut here for intense little paper on Imagist poetry )
wellownedbkup: (tape)
the coffee's worn off
three cups and still couldn't think straight
once upon a time you were a mermaid
three cups and it's just now sinking in
nothing I do is
battling insurmountable odds

breakfast tastes like ashes of real caffeine
you understood me like no one
I can't even summon the
passion and fire and ice
caffeinated carbonated in 3 cups to go

I'm waking up for the first time
the coffee grounds warm us up from
music blasting from tin rattling speakers
empty lyrics and things I'd never known
morning DJs giving out good news to weary souls.
“Welcome to the Morning Show. It looks to be a beautiful day.”
wellownedbkup: (genius)
queen mab )
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Shadow Theater
Je rêve
of shadows
Mix reality with lies
Forgotten past times
Nostalgia wakes me again
In darkened rooms, there’s light

My discomfiture
Proof I’m an insomniac
But I am dreaming
Crisscrossed shadows on blank walls
Restless echoes of past life

Bed swallowing me
Whole body drowned in pillows
Si c’est un confort
But the shadows ever rage
Restless again and again
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still working with it, but....

In contrition, I seek desperately my left galosh.
wellownedbkup: (tape)
our last poem had to showcase what we learned over the semester. as i learned pretty much nothing i didn't already know, i got to write out whatever the heck i felt like writing. poetry snob, yes. but since i made myself have bigger challenges than my professor offered... *shrug*

this deals with a big talk i had in astronomy lab with this kinda awesome guy named peter. we're killing time talking about the lab and it got turned into this big joke about becoming a superhero based on all these cosmic rays that shoot through us every day. seriously: you calculate than over a million muons pass through you a day, and they're irradiated particles that move so fast, time moves slower for them.

so while we were in class, we end up talking about the hulk, superman, spiderman, mystery men and how "my mommy calls me special" and pretty much anything to kill all the time we didn't feel like spending sitting there.

a sestina is 39 lines, with 6 end words rotated each stanza. so they have to have the lines end a certain way.

p.s. peter's awesome. i think he likes me.

Astronomy Lab Sestina (You’re a Superhero) insert awesome music here )
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so, write a poem about nature, but meaning something bigger than just nature.

this is a ghazal, a persian form of poetry.

in stars tonight

the silver river flows overhead, in stars tonight,
as we watch from our bed these stars tonight.

a queen chases her king indefinitely;
her punishment instead in stars tonight.

a prince kills a Gorgon with a sword.
he carries her head across stars tonight.

we follow the bright lights over cars,
drive-in show: post-watershed stars tonight.

a twin shares his immortality
with a mortal twin--undead in stars tonight.

a hunter with sword attacks savage prey.
on its flesh, he's fed in stars tonight.

for the life of a wife, a musician will play no more.
his lyre caught, like tears shed, in stars tonight.

spiral-armed galaxies show a loving pair
in a waltz, they're led in stars tonight.

we talk of myths and constellations.
our thoughts have fled to the stars tonight.
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"wordplay." it's supposed to be puns, spoonerisms, malapropisms, etc. basically you taking on the english language. i set out to do something completely insane. look up "contronyms" on your google. you'll get a couple of websites about words that have their antonym AS ITSELF. examples include "cleave," which means both to adhere to and to separate from; "left" as in to leave or what remains; "bolt" and "fast" which both have to do with leaving and with standing still. are we clear here? good.  shape based on the word "cleave".  Discursive means to move from topic to topic coherently... or to move from topic to topic randomly. Discursive
poem under the clickety click )
wellownedbkup: (genius)
a disguised love poem that doesn't mention love... can talk about anything else... but still means love.


I always remember to never mention you
in conversations with friends...
as if the whisper of your name
could conjure your presence,
forcing me to remember how, like Adam
upon meeting Eve, I declared "at last,
bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh."

I try to remember to think of you
only as broken clocks can herald time
as though memories can tell of how--
like the queen of Sheba meeting Solomon--
I sat at your feet, tasting the sweet fruit
Wisdom from the knowledge tree,
enriching myself at your hands.

I can hardly remember a time with you
where someone would turn my head aside
as like to say they're a better choice,
like a king who tries to steal a maiden's hand,
though she loves only her shepherd boy...
I remained constant, like seasons and tides--
forever tied and bound to you.

I never remember to forget you.
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a sonnet usually consists of a rhyme scheme, 14 lines with a turn around the end of line 8 and the beginning of line 9.
a curtal sonnet is, mathematically speaking, precisely 3/4 a petrachan sonnet. rhyme scheme: abc abc dbcd b. 10 and a half lines.

Long Distance

I liked you better when I was reading between your unlined
A4 pages and halted wooing on my computer screen…
Meeting you virtually after our summer romance.

I liked you as, textually, your gentleman's armor shined
More clearly than it did when we were nineteen,
Foolishly giving each other a chance.

Enchanting virtuality gave way to the reality of you
Caught in still-framed glances: long and lean…
Your water-reed legs, your arms in open stance—
But changed. Your character formed anew.

Alas! loss unforeseen.
wellownedbkup: (tea)
here, we were to write a poem about a place in history (a time in history). i wracked my brain and couldn't come up with an idea until i saw Cold Case the week the poem was due. that being said, Women of Wednesdays was a program where black and white women came from northern cities to help promote the civil rights movement and Freedom Schools in mississippi. check them out, as they were some really brave ladies.

it's written as a villanelle, which has a kind of repetition... a refrain, so to speak. it's hard as hell to write because you have to watch how you say what you say, to make sure that the point gets across and doesn't grate.

Wednesday's Women were full of Woe
Ordinary women, both blacks and whites,
wore their gloves and pearls to tea;
talking of revolution and civil rights--

the spark of change that ignites
a people yearning to be free.
These ordinary women, both blacks and whites,

braving a fear as dark as the nights
of Mississippi's bourgeoisie,
talking of revolution and civil rights--

a grassroots move for law rewrites,
though Southern establishments did not agree.
Ordinary women, both blacks and whites,

standing up to the Klan's oppressive Knights
to gain the future they could foresee…
sat talking of revolution and civil rights.

A lofty goal that North and South unites,
though equality was no guarantee…
ordinary women, both blacks and whites,
talked of revolution and civil rights.

if you want references, i'll post those up on request
wellownedbkup: (genius)
Prose poetry, any topic...

Like the End of the World
You want to take a Mental Health Year.

Disappear to a different page in your atlas and see the sights somewhere else. England Paris Belgium Cairo Tokyo. Anywhere but here. Anywhere, so long as it is out of this world when it's ended. You cannot stay home anymore, because if you do, you will have to hear everyone talk about it

again again again. There is no more cohesion, no brotherly love. There is just them. And you, standing separate, because you cannot talk about this again. And you cannot take that anymore. To stay home means that you will have to sit and watch her have a twenty five year project that could last her a lifetime.

You cannot stay home.

Welcome to the end of the world. Where there is no more love between You Your Sister Your Brother Your Family. There are secrets lies manipulation nature-versus-nurture

divergence. Lines of best fit for data that makes her immature, and you mature. Lines that make you a liar and she a mother. Lines that lead you along until there is no cohesion in the family and all there is to say is that you loved each other.

wellownedbkup: (tape)
(Ode) Windup Doll )

Throwaway Ode )

for in class exercise, we brought in an object we could lend away for a weekend. into the box it went, after writing an ode about our object. so i said goodbye to my little windup Ariel and Prince dancing toy and said hello to Jake Snider's picture, from which the other ode is created.

Ode on the curve of his back )

for reference:
spinal dip in a sinusoidal line
latissimus dorsi meeting erector spinae
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Three Dong Opera

Cataracts of woven basket hats spill forth into the ring,
hungry for a glimpse of Saigon's Nightly Sideshow.
See the man who can play a trombone with his toes!
The bearded woman, the snake handler and the albino.

The need to attend is like a fever, a virus they can't shake,
soothed only by cheap won-ton soup in sawdust air.
They crowd the stage, curving themselves amoeba-like,
to forget their woes during Saigon’s Freak Night Fair.

These hollow men, with greedy mouths, raise up such a clamor
from splintering rows of their broom handle seats;
The callused and paper-cut hands of working men
applaud the grotesque, the acrobatic feats.

In porcelain counterpoint, the albino stops all action on the floor,
jangles coins in the kitty, and calls out a hopeful question.
But there only comes the broken shuffling of feet
to hear such an importunate monetary suggestion.

underlined words were the word bank to be used for this poem. a dong is Vietnam's currency.
wellownedbkup: (genius)

Honesty, in Hindsight

I do not know who you are.
I have never understood the language of love.
From my window across the street, I watch her lovers come and go.
Her embarrassed teenage daughter slumps
before stealing in through bedroom windows.
It was my first real job and I was scared in it.

I made you stare through the arch of a window.
Who else has that going for them?
Frosted eye shadow, bangs like birds' nests.
I had grown tired of hanging around
standing in your winter coat, but I don't know you.
You think it's a secret, but it never was.

Not enough light to read your face by.
In a quiet corner with downcast eyes.
Lucky me, I have become hardened, like a doll fashioned from scars.

each line comes from a separate poem. if you'd like to know which, there will be a primer added later on.

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