Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Langston Hughes - New Song

This is one of my favorite poems that I have read this entire semester. I loved Hughes passion behind his beliefs. I love how hopeful his of tomorrow, without forgetting the past. However, he is so joyful that the past is now behind him and his country. I especially love the end of the poems where he talks about the White and Black worlds as One World. I love Hughes wants a united people and believes that it can be so.

Stevens v Williams

In read both of these two poets, I can't help but be drawn to Wallace Stevens. I love his delievery, his use of words and the imagination of his poems. I found Williams to be slighty more stale in his works, although I enjoyed some of them. However, Stevens makes you think and lets your mind explore as you read his works. I am very much looking forward to reading more from him.

Beloved 4

Sixty million or more...

That's who the book is dedicated to. The sixty million plus slaves who were affected by the slave trading that took place in our country. I often wonder what people of the past would say about the books written about them. Would the story of Beloved hit too close to home for them to read? Or, would this story only scrape the tip of iceberg of what they struggled through? I hope that Morrison's story and others like it will help us to remember the horrors of our past so that we don't repeat our most indefensible mistakes.

Beloved #3

I just can't get involved emotionally in this novel. I understand the difficult, tragic and heart wrenching themes and ideas that Morrison is trying to tell, but I can't get past the supernatural elements of the story. I'm too put off by the "strange-ness" of the tale to get wrapped up in the non-fiction elements. I'm almost ashamed that I care so little for such a sad story.

Beloved #2-

Why kill off Baby Suggs? She was one of the most interesting characters in the whole story and, seemingly, the glue that was keeping everything together. I understand the emotional reasons for killing her, but so soon in the story? She was one of the few characters that was keeping me reading. I read that this novel was voted the best of the past 25 years. If so, it better start getting more interesting.

Beloved - Post #1

A ghost? I'm a little wary about this novel. I usually am about anything that looks to be a fiction story based in non-fiction, but out of now where adds elements of the supernatural or fantasy. That having been said, I do find the writing to be superb and that's enough to make to continue to read.


What I like most about Frost is the way he uses he vocabulary to paint the picture of rural American life. Many of his poems are based on rural New England and the simplicity of life there. However, Frost has a way of making you feel the culture and impression of this life. After reading Frost, I always want to go buy a farm in the middle of no where and live a simple life, working the land and be content.

John Ashbery

I've always found Ashbery to be more and more entertaining and meaningful the more and more I read his works. I think you have to learn how to read Ashbery, because he has a style all his own. I remember reading his poetry in high school and hating it at first because it was so frustrating to read. However, the long a spent reading, the more I liked his style. I hope that people will not give up on Ashbery after one or two reading, but give him the time he needs to be truly understood.

A & P

I found this story to be kind of boring. I mean, how much am I supposed to get our of a kid working the check-out at some grocery store lusting over a couple of girls just because they're in bikinis. The ending was very predicable, as it was easy to see that the kid was going to try and impress the girls to no avail. Maybe I'm misssing a deeper meaning, but I found none in this piece.

The Balloon

How long before these people need the balloon again? And can you continue to repair you relationship time and time again through a balloon? How long will that last? I believe this to be a commentary on many of our relationship in today's society, that so often are let rot and decay until some drastic measure is taken to revive them. Unfortunately, these measures will not work every time. The hope to never get to the point to where you need your own "balloon" again.

A Rose for Emily

I spent the entire reading of this piece trying to figure out who the author was. The author often refers to "our town" and "we", but never directly identifies his or herself. I am guessing from context that the person knew Emily Grierson fairly well, but was not close enough to be so affected by her death that he or she could not write this story. I wonder if Faulkner left the narrator unrevealed on purpose so that you could focus more on the story and not who was telling it. If this was he plan, it did not work for me.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I didn't like this story as much. I found it interesting the way the stories wove in and out, but didn't enjoy reading a tale of such deperation and saddness only to be relieved at the end of story that one child was safe, but another was not. While, it was well written, it did not appeal to me.


This was one of my favorite poems of the entire semester, but I can't help but wonder how much you could get out of it without knowing the history of Teddy Rossevelt and his political influence in Central and South America. I loved the picture Espada paints of the army of Spainish singing children in the hallways pronouncing Roosevelt as Hernandez. I guess Espada's Puetro Rican parentage could also help in reading this poem. Another example of biography influencing the reading of a poem.

Sea Oak

I loved this piece. I'm not sure I understood every that Saunders was trying to get across, but I thought his use of language and humor was excellent. Whether you agreed with his viewpoints on our society, I don't think it was possible to start reading this story and not want to finish. I thought he creating a very powerful image of our societies sharp decline in disciple and character. Excellent peice and very well written.

Native America in poetry

I found both Alexie and Louis to have similar view points on the Native American culture and their way of life under white American rule. However, I found Alexie's use of poetry to be more powerful and effective that Louis because of the simplicity of his message. I thought Louis seemed to want to shock and anger his readers into action, while Alexie uses a simple and yet saddening message to make his readers feel the emotion behind his message.

Gluck v Homer

I found Gluck's telling of the "untold" stories of the Odyssey to be interesting, but I couldn't help but wonder what Homer would have thought of them. Homer, obviously, didn't write the Odyssey, he only wrote it down, however, is it possible that he left parts of the story out that he didn't perfer? Is it possible that Gluck's untold stories had been told before, but were purposely left out of Homer's version of the tale?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Endings

Awesome piece. Great idea and very well developed. Atwood really makes you think and paints a good picture with her words. I personally loved the line, "So much for endings. Beginnings are always more fun." I find that with most books, stories and movies it easy to come with a great idea and develop a story, but the most difficult thing to do in writing is create a great ending. So many great stories are ruined by their horrible endings. Although, according to Atwood, the only assured ending is that everyone eventually dies.

What we talk about...

What are we talking about? I understood this story, but thought it was kind of pointless. Nothing is resolved in the end and the characters appear to be going on about their sad lives. Terry appears to be beaten down by the world as well as her former husband. She is the most interested character to me, because she is a classic example of a woman who is trapped in bad relationship after bad relationship, but continues the pattern because she just wants someone who will show her some affection. I thought the rest of the characters were boring and not very well developed.

They Feed, They Lion...

They write a commentary on society. Levine poem (about the Detroit riots after further research) to me seems to be a commentary on the society of the day. He also appears to be warning his fellow man about what could happen if things continue the way they are. I find that writings after major catastrophic events are often filled with strong emotions, like rage and hatred. Levine keeps his emotions in check and writes an honest commentary in this piece.

Adrienne Rich - Aunt Jennifer's Tigers

I found this poem to be one of the most sad of the entire semester. You could really feel the burden of the Aunt. I found the line about the weight of the wedding ring to be haunting. This 1950's woman would have been unable to divorce without being outcast in society. She was essentially trapped in a marriage that she couldn't get out of. Even the line about her dead wringing hands gives off the impression that she won't even find peace in death.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Robert Lowell

I found Lowell's use of the 54th Infantry in the poem For the Union Dead interesting. Since I have some background knowledge on the 54th from the moive Glory, I was unsure why Lowell would use their image in his poem. After doing some research, I found out that Lowell was the distant cousin of Robert Shaw, was the commander of the 54th and was burried with his troops whic was uncommon itself and remarkable because all of his troops were black. I wonder if Lowell would have used their story in the poem if he wasn't related to Shaw and knew his story.

Plaith v Sexton

I found both of these poets, whom both committed suicide, to show signs of depression and exclusion in their poetry. In Plaith's Tulips I get the sense that she wants to stay in this hospital and that the tulips at her bedside table remind of the outside world she wants to avoid. In Sexton's Her Kind she compares herself to a witch. I believe that Sexton felt like an outcast and shows signs of depression in her works that probably lead to her suidice.

Berryman - Life influences Art?

I though that both of the Dreams Songs that we read (#29 and #45) had the feel a person struggling with alchohol or drug addiction. #29 to me, felt like a person trying to remember the events from the night before after a drinking or drug binge and decided if what he remembers really happened. The last line of poem feels like he is realized that no one is missing and he hasn't commited the acts he remembers.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

O'Hara v Brooks

In comparing Frank O'Hara's The Day Lady Died to Gwendolyn Brooks The Boy Died In My Alley I found that I enjoyed O'Hara's poem much more. I found the rhythm and verses to me easier to follow and the story to be strong, yet simple. Brook's poem was slightly tangled and too erratic for my taste. O'Hara conveys a sense of desperation in the time period of his poem that really hit home for me. I felt the emotion of the poem without having to digest over multiple readings.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My Papa's waltz

Was Theodore Roethke abused as a child? This does not seem to be a happy waltz. The father appears to be drunk and the mother does not seem happy about the situation. They are knocked pots and pans down and the father is "beating time" on his head. To me this appears to be be a poem by an abused child who is trying to connect his pain to something happy, like a dance.

One Art

While I thought this was a well written poem, I couldn't decide if she was discussing losing a loved one to death, or losing a lover. I've read it over and over and cannot decide which. I also am not sure what the stanza about the cities is talking about. I get the overall theme of the poem, but do not understand it's smaller points.

I Stand Here Ironing

I thought that Eudora Wetly did a wonderful job in this story of getting across the emotion of the mother. This is one of the few pieces I've read this semester in which I truly felt connected emotionally. I really felt sad for the mother, who was forced into single-motherhood at an early age and during a difficult economic time in our country's history.

Two of my best friends growing up were raised by single-mothers. Both of their fathers had died when they were young. I got only a small glimpse of how difficult it is on both the mother and the children of a single-mom family. I think this story deals so much with the grief of the mother, that the feeling and emotions of Emily can get lost in the shuffle. We hear about her difficulties, but we don't understand the emotions that lead her to her decisions. I would love to hear Emily's side of this story.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Jim Crow

How far have we really come from this story?

Sure, on the outside, America appears to be less racist and segregated than we used to, but are we in reality or just in appearances?

How often do you see a group of kids from different races hanging out together? How often do you see a group of kids all of the same race hanging out together?

How much racism is in our thoughts, but not in our words or actions.

Often times we a segregated not by our prejudices, but simply but our choices based on comfortably.

The story of Richard Wright is sad, but so is most America today.


Just once I want to read a story whose language I can understand with having to read it three or four times. Too be honest, I found this "short" story to be long winded and rather boring. I never felt drawn into the characters of Delia or Sykes. Even the ending, which could have been dramatic and exciting, I felt was underwhelming. And I'm not quite sure how a poisonous snake attack could be underwhelming, but it was. All in all, I was not impressed with this story.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Why I live at the post office

So, it took me about 3 readings to catch everything that was going on in this story. To be honest, it took me that many reading just to understand some of the language the narrator (Sister) was using. I also used an online site with a summary just to make sure I didn't miss anything.

This seems to be a common example of preferential treatment of a younger child over an older child. Since I am the oldest to two kids, I can some what relate to what Sister is going through. It seems as though with most families I know the youngest child, or baby of the family, always seems to get overly protected by the parents. With my younger sister, she could abuse me physically as much as she wanted, but if I laid a finger on her, it was total Armageddon. I guess parents want to make sure the their youngest child to not getting bullied by their older siblings and so the pendulum swings all the way to the other side.

As was true in my house growing up, and in most houses, Stella-Rondo plays the victim card perfectly, even though Sister is the true victim. In fact, I bet if you asked Stella-Rondo, she would tell you that Sister gets all the preferential treatment and she gets the leftovers.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


Ernest Hemingway's Hills Like White Elephants

I thought this to be more of a short story than a poem. I'm sure that I was supposed to find the imagery and hidden meaning in the piece, however, it was completely lost on me. I didn't understand what the mountains, or the drinks or even the strange names of the people were supposed to represent. I guess this poem/short story went over my head.

I have not read a lot of Hemingway's works, although I have read The Old Man and The Sea and For Whom the Bell Tolls. I usually enjoy his work, however, did not on this occasion.