Tuesday, June 5, 2012

last blog

My first road trip to Cleveland,
For a reason I had never expected.
Four long hours of trying to
Keep my mascara from running
Down my face, only talk
Of the great memories, because
That’s all we can do now. 
I can’t believe you did that.
Why? You surprised everyone,
No one can understand. It makes
No sense. Here one day, gone
The next. All we have now are
Memories. The gas mask, paying
Delivery drivers for rides to the
Bars, no one did the crazy things
You did. The countless nights we
Only have flashes of, but know
Were the best nights. The weekends
Will never be the same. Who will
Watch our dog? Who will we watch our
Tuesday shows with? It was too
Soon, we had plans. It doesn’t feel  
Real, it can’t be real right? I wish you
Could explain, that’s all everyone
Needs right now. But I know you
Can’t do that, I know we’ll never
Get the answer. 

Artist statement
 When I first began writing poetry in this class I thought for some reason that I always had to make them rhyme so I did for a while but I’m so glad I got out of that. I struggled at first with adding imagery to my poetry, which is something I struggle with in writing as usual. I feel like I’m getting the hang of writing better poetry but of course now the class is over.  

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


The clouds began to gather and the rain sprinkled
Down as we pulled into the cemetery. It’s funny,
How burials are always rainy and gloomy, like the
Weather is sad too. While my sister and I walked to
He grave, I told myself to hold it together as long as
I could. The ground began to sink in under my feet
From the rain. I was hoping this would go fast.
My dad was delivering the eulogy as he began to dig. I kept
My head down the whole time, hiding my tears. At the
Crack of his voice I looked up to him cry for the first time.
That was one of the hardest things to see. The tears falling
Off his face faster than the rain. He quickly wipes his face
As we make eye contact. That’s sweet, my dad thinks he
Needs to be strong for me.

I plan on working on my paper a half hour a day from now until it’s due. I need to include the last two poems and I plan to expand more on the second poem. I was really glad we did the peer reviews because I wasn’t sure if I should use Auden, Woolf, Frost, or Eliot and Alex suggested Auden’s memorable speech essay so that really helped me out. The editing of my paper also helped because now I can go back and fix what I already had instead of only getting ideas for the second half of my essay.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Dramatic Monologue

Amy Winehouse
They tried to make me go to rehab,
I said ‘No, no, no’.
My most famous song.
Maybe I should’ve gone then I wouldn’t
Be laying here with alcohol poisoning.
Curse my daddy for thinking I’m fine.
I’m now a member of the 27 Club.
I didn’t realize it was such a popular
Club until I joined.

Back to Black became the UK’s best
Selling album of the 21st century,
I was listed at number 26 on VH1’s
100 Greatest Women in Music.
And another Grammy to add to the list.
All of this after I passed of course.
Damn my love for the bottle.

Along with my list of awards, there’s
My list of arrests, charges, and assaults.
I even spit on Pippa Middleton,
Take that Princess Kate.
I always had Mary Jane and
Aunt Nora at my side.
At least three arrests for possession,
Why do I insist on taking them out.

Sleeping past noon was a normal
Routine until July 23.
My bodyguard tried to save me
But I was already black and this
Time I wasn’t coming back.
Three bottles of vodka, that’ll do it.
More than five times the legal
Drink-drive limit. They tried to make
Me go to rehab, I said ‘No, no, no’.

(Aunt Nora is a slang name for cocaine)

I can't think of a title yet
One of the best moments of my life
Was on the tennis courts in Marietta.
It was my junior year of high school.
I'd been to the courts many times before,
But this time everything was different.
I swore I was on top of the world.
Megan and I had just won the league for the team.
I'll never forget the look on my father's face,
Or the feeling I had watching the ball that I, me, had hit
Bounce right underneath my competitor's racket.
I knew exactly where I had wanted to hit it, 
That was the only thing on my mind.
I get goosebumps every time i think about it.
It was the first moment my coach had ever
Told me she was proud of the game I played.
I'd never felt so connected to the world before.
When I close my eyes I can still hear Megan's
father cheering, I can still smell the park.
It's so real when I go back in my mind.
It's funny when you're in high school and think
You're on top of the world, you don't realize
That we were too young to really be connected
To the world.

Final Paper
For my final paper i'm going to use the topic of chances. I'm using the poems "Hap" by Thomas Hardy, "Casino" by Denise Duhamel, "Reasons for Attendance" by Philip Larkin, and the poem "Dive For Dreams" by E.E. Cummings. I think the topic of chance is really interesting because it's not something you can control, it's completely out of your hands, it's just something that could happen in the blink of an eye and everything is different. Thomas Hardy's poem "Hap" just means shit happens, you don't always see it coming. "Casino" by Denise Duhamel is about the tragic escalator accident her parents were involved in while in Atlantic City. "Reasons for Attendance" by Philip Larkin is about a man deciding whether or not to go into a strip club or not, what would've happened if he'd taken that chance and actually gone in. The last poem "Dive For Dreams" by E.E. Cummings is about taking chances and trusting your heart. All these poems are about taking risks in life or what happens after chance happenings.

Monday, May 7, 2012

In class essay #3

In Denise Duhamel’s Ka-Ching, she uses various forms of poetry throughout the book. She hides codes in some of her poems, she uses the form villanelle, and she uses the form sestina. The villanelle form is has 19 lines, 5 stanzas of three lines and 1 stanza of four lines with two rhymes and two refrains, with the first and third lines alternating until the final stanza where they end as a couplet. The sestina form consists of 39 lines, consisting of six stanzas of six lines each. The words at the end of the first stanza are rotated and used at the end of each stanza. The form I noticed and liked the most was the sestina form. I think this form is noticeable and effective because it catches the readers’ attention. She uses the form in “Delta Flight 656”, “Anagram America”, and “Please Don’t Sit Like a Frog, Sit Like a Queen”.
         In “Delta Flight 656”, Duhamel is riding on a plane and writes a poem dedicated to Sean Penn. In doing so of dedicating the poem to Mr. Penn, she ends each line with a word containing “pen”. The sestina form is very noticeable in this poem (also because she points it out) and it amazes me how creative she is just sitting on this plane coming up with all these words containing “pen”. However, in this poem the flow of “pen” words started to have more of an unnatural flow towards the end, like the line “..poets who waddle toward your icy peninsula of glamour like so many menacing penguins”. It’s creative she included penguins but the reference is random. She’s speaking to Sean Penn in the poem, she tells him how she wanted to be his pen pal and how she loved the poem he had written in 1987. The tone of this poem is somewhat silly, at times it seems serious but I think because of the sestina form it comes off as silly when she has to use unusual words to include her “pen”.
              When I first read “Anagram America”, I could not for the life of me figure out what the bold words at the end of each line meant. This is such a creative way to write a sestina, she uses only one word and mixes the letters up. At first this poem seemed a bit unnatural to me, but after reading it a few times I think it becomes not as unnatural seeming. When she cuts off words such as ‘Madonna’, ‘Ramadan’, and ‘about’ that’s where it becomes unnatural because those aren’t words that tend to be split up but because of her sestina she had to. The tone of this poem compared to “Photo Op” is very different. “Photo Op” has a very serious tone and she goes into too much detail describing her mother’s wound, it’s disturbing, while “America Anagram” is not as sad or depressing, but she still throws in some sarcastic seriousness.
         “Please Don’t Sit Like a Frog, Sit Like a Queen” was something Duhamel saw graffitied in a ladies’ bathroom. The tone of this poem is not really serious nor humorous, it’s advice; the poem is about how to be lady. When I read this poem, I can hear as if the speaker is saying it but I picture it being said by an English woman at a Cotillion rather than graffiti being read off of a bathroom wall. Unlike the other two poems, “Anagram America” and “Delta Flight 656”, the poem does not come off as unnatural sounding though. I actually really enjoy this poem the more I read it.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Butterflies and Floodwalls

Butterflies and Floodwalls
Looking back on the memories of butterflies and floodwalls,
A weird combination I know.
The mem not so pleasant as I recall.
It all began one sunny day,
Riding bicycles with my mother.
A white flutter caught my eye.
I followed it down the path,
Away from my mother.
It cast me under its spell and
Down I went. Tumbling down
The hill, still bike in tact.
When I landed at the bottom,
My little white friend disappeared,
Flying away with a smirk on its face.
I've always hated them since.
I've forgiven the wall, but the insect, my foe.

Thursday, April 26, 2012


            In Terrance Hayes book of poetry Lighthead, he has many poems that are scatterbrained, just lines of thoughts and poems that have deep meanings. Throughout his book, he displays many themes such as language, race, anguish. But the theme I’ve noticed most often is sexuality. He has an interesting way of always finding a place to insert something about sexual intercourse in his poems. Looking at the two poems, “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy” and “Whatever Happened to the Fine Young Cannibals?”, I have seen the sexual theme.
            The first poem I looked at for the theme of sexuality was “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy”. This is the first poem in the book. Within the first seven lines he comes right out with his feelings on sex. “I believe everything is a metaphor for sex.” This line like sets you up for the rest of the book, if this is what he believes then you can tell he’s always going to talk about it; he found it important to deliver that line before the readers got into the book. Throughout the book, Hayes has a few poems that are titled with “Lighthead”. In his second version of “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy”, “Lighthead’s Guide to Addiction”, he is talking about random addictions and then throws in the line, “I often wake up horny. If you are addicted to masturbation, seek company”. I think it’s interesting how explicit he sometimes is with words relating to sexual intercourse. The word ‘masturbation’ just doesn’t seem like a word that is normally just thrown out there in poetry, at least I’ve never noticed. It’s not really a beautiful word; it’s a word that makes some people uncomfortable. I would’ve thought he’d find a different word for it, but then again that is part of his theme of sexuality.
            The second poem I looked at for Hayes’s theme of sexuality was “Whatever Happened to the Fine Young Cannibals?”. This was a poem that was basically just a stream of random thoughts. “Even when the bed is damp, the bed sheets dizzy with lovemaking, I won’t brush my teeth”. Now there’s not a huge sense of sexuality in this poem but I chose it because I think it’s interesting how he chooses to use the word ‘lovemaking’ rather than sex (except in the first poem) or some other term. Most people, let alone men, still call it lovemaking. At first I assumed he only used ‘lovemaking’ when referring to personal experiences with his wife, but he uses it every time. He uses it in “Lighthead’s Guide to the Galaxy”, “lovemaking mimics the act of departure, moonlight drips from the leaves”.
            In both of the poems I have talked about, and many others in his book, Hayes makes sexual references.  Although he uses such blunt sexual undertones, he still differentiates between the physical need to get laid and the emotional act of lovemaking.  Hayes’ poems may at first seem unusual due to their frank sexuality, but really just explore both the emotional and physical aspects of sex. 

The Accident

I remember today like yesterday,
Pouring drinks with my friends
It was going to be a good day.
The click of pongs on plastic cups,
A blur of music and laughter surrounds the air.
The bitter taste of wine fresh on my tongue.
Then the phone rings, 
It’s my father.
As the words come out of his mouth,
My face turns pale and my heart sinks.
“Your grandpa’s been in an accident.”
I fall to the ground.

Friday, April 20, 2012

In-Class Essay #1

 In W. H. Auden’s excerpt “Poetry as Memorable Speech”, Auden says “Of the many definitions of poetry, the simplest is still the best: ‘memorable speech’’. What he is saying is that good poetry is poetry that people remember, the kind that speak to you. I would have to say I agree with Auden to an extent because sometimes a poem could just not be memorable to me personally, which doesn’t mean it is a bad poem and everyone agrees. One poet who is an example of someone who doesn’t always have the most interesting poems in my opinion is Philip Larkin. In his poem, “An Arundel Tomb” he writes about this tomb stone he sees of a couple holding hands that everyone comes to admire because they think they’re this big symbol of eternal love, but Larkin writes that it was not their intention to be remembered this way. The poem as a whole, I don’t find very memorable until you get to the end. Larkin ends “An Arundel Tomb” with “The stone fidelity they hardly meant have come to be their final blazon, and to prove our almost – instinct almost – true: What will survive of us is love”. I think this line is beautiful and so true, I’ve always heard the saying that love can survive anything but it’s not true, it’s almost – true, I love the way he puts it.  Like we talked in class, that’s just a very memorable way to end his poem, bringing truth to the old saying, everyone wants to believe that love will survive anything but it’s not always true which is what he’s leaving us with; love really doesn’t always survive.
I think the tone of this poem is sort of gleeful – mournful because he’s talking about these statues who are in love still and everyone admires their tomb but then ends with saying that they had no intention of wanting to be remembered as this couple in love, they didn’t want this to be their final message. I think it turns to the more mournful part in the final stanza beginning with “Time has transfigured them into untruth”, I feel like this is when the tone changes because its saying over time they’ve been turned into a lie. That their love did not survive eternity.
            Also in Auden’s “Poetry as Memorable Speech” he says, “Everything that we remember no matter how trivial...are equally the subject of poetry”. In Larkin’s poem “An Arundel Tomb” he takes these two pieces of stone and turns it into a poem about whether or not love with survive. As I mentioned, Larkin writes that this couple had not intended for their tomb to be this symbol of love, but how does Larkin know that? He writes all about it, but who knows whether he is right or not, no one can speak to the couple. Which I think makes the poem even more memorable because he is literally just looking at this couple’s tomb stone and just imagining that this is really how they feel. He took a simple statue showing a couple in love that everyone admired and turned it into a lie.
            When I started out writing this assignment I did not think “An Arundel Tomb” was a very memorable poem but now that I’ve talked about it so much, I don’t think I’ll ever forget this poem. I especially will never forget the message he leaves us with, that’s what makes it a good poem. So I would have to say I agree with Auden,  the simplest definition for a good poem is memorable.