I’ve been trying for the past week or so to write a post, but the words aren’t doing the wordy thing. So I’m going to try something new this week. Here is a collection of mini-posts and thoughts that I’ve had over the past week– some that I may explore more in later posts, some that are just moments– collected into one place to give a map of thoughts.
A Collection of Thoughts
valeriemclean1919 Bob Dylan, Douglas Adams, Leonard Cohen, Music, poetry, TS Eliot About Music, About Other Art, About Writing 0 Comments
The Poem that Wasn’t There
valeriemclean1919 poetry, the author function About Writing 0 Comments
So, I have a poetry analysis due on Monday, and one of the things that I’ve been trying to do is find the poem that I’m supposed to analyse. It’s not that I don’t have it– the Prof. printed it out for us and gave us each a copy– but other than the physical copy, it doesn’t seem to be anywhere. It’s been suggested to me that because there is no name attached to the work (it was found on a casualty of the Falaise pocket) that it would be hard to find. It’s not that I can’t do an analysis on the poem based on his prompt, but that didn’t stop me from emailing the Library of Congress. I should hear back from them by next week.
When we were discussing the poem in class, I mentioned that the poem seemed (to me) to be constructed, because of the juxtaposition of the surroundings. It is dated 6-6-44, or D-Day to the Allies, and the caption says that it was found on the body of the soldier that (presumably) wrote it on 19 Aug. 1944. That’s a simple narrative, the soldier was on the beaches on D-Day and killed towards the end of Operation Overlord. But, being human, my thought process seemed to reject that simplicity. Life is rarely so organized.
And that’s so weird, because it’s totally plausible that that happened! And it’s also bizarre because my mind basically invented a narrative that it then summarily rejected. And why did I even invent that narrative anyways, the Author is Dead! (In this case, quite literally.) Why should it matter who this person is or was?
Well… because I like to think I matter? I mean, I have enough of a problem with my Cartesian demons telling me I don’t matter, I don’t need anyone else to say it. And if something I writes goes all Zardoz on a society, I’d maybe like the credit? Or maybe not, that movie was weird… In any case, even if I’m reduced to an author function a la Foucault, at least my name is still attached to it. Maybe I just feel sorry for the guy– I’m reading something he wrote almost 75 years after the fact and I don’t even know his name.
Maybe wanting to know that says something about what I want out of writing.
Five Romantic Poems for Valentine’s Day
valeriemclean1919 John Keats, Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, poetry, Robert Burns, romance, the British Romantics, William Wordsworth About Writing 0 Comments
When it comes to Romance and Romantic poetry, I’m a bit of an Aestheticist. And so were they for that matter; Percy Shelley and John Keats were basically proto-Aestheticists, the Gothic revival was mostly for the aesthetic, and then of course there’s George “the template for countless Sad Vampire Protagonists” Gordon, Lord Byron who–
Oh, you’re looking for romance. Well, they aren’t mutually exclusive.
Little-“r” romance and capital-“R” Romance don’t really have much to do with each other at first glance, but they aren’t incompatible. The Romantics– and by that I mean the British Romantics, I know there were Romantic periods in other countries’ literary canons but that’s for another day– put great importance in big, complicated emotions like horror and awe and wonder. Poems like “Tintern Abbey” and “Ode to the West Wind” are typical of the reverence and contemplation upon the natural world that was emblematic of the era. Many of the Romantics were also Classicists, influenced by the cultures of Ancient Greece and Rome. …Mostly by way of Ovid, but The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is suitably Homeric, and Prometheus Unbound was based on plays by Aeschylus. There was also a touch of mysticism and personal mythology, particularly with William Blake. We’re not going into Blake. This time.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge, one of the Romantics, was the writer who defined poetry as “the best words in their best order”. John Keating, as portrayed by Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, was the one who said that poetry was invented to woo women. As long as there is literature, in whatever form it decides to take (the Nobel Prize in Literature has been awarded to philosophers, historians, a songwriter, and Winston Churchill), there will be people writing love poetry, no matter what the era is. We can use these poems to examine Romantisism through a romantic lens and see how it compares to the more traditional love poetry that people are used to, because as much as I love Shakespeare, he does not hold the monopoly on love poetry. To quote a contemporary poet, “Some people want to fill the world with silly love songs”.
After all, what’s more Romantic than tying the carcass of a dead bird around your neck to symbolize the burden of your greatest mistake while you watch all your friends die?More →