Thursday, July 19, 2007

Reading these entries I am struck by two things...1.) I need to write more...a lot more and 2.) I have gotten dumber since freshman year...a lot dumber. This does not bode well for law school or my life-long dream of appearing on Jeopardy.

Friday, December 03, 2004

somehow i really like this, but at other times it seems like my life is in shambles. i can only just be content with it and make th best out it, and hopefully learn. it's not even a bad thing, just draining. someday i hope to sleep. it's strange, the times you are most alone with yourself are those times when you are least confined.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

only have time to prove to myself i will follow through with this

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

i am going to relieve stress and be more comfortable in my freedom by following whatever rules of grammar i want and ending my posts and sentences whenever i feel like it. it will just be fun that way.

this post is part of my firm resolution to follow through with resolutions i make with myself. reading every night before i fall asleep, working out every night, doing homework before 2:13(the time now), not calling a $225 re-raise when i know he has aces, making sure to write down my earth-shattering ideas and so forth. if i keep this up i will allow it serve as my personal monument to my own self-motivating drive and a point of immense personal satisfaction. of course when i finally get down to business after comtemplating the idea for weeks, i have nothing to say. i was reading a selection from a book entitled "Genius" and the author described Hamlet as Shakespeare's ultimate creation because of his ability to "overhear" himself. I really have no idea what this means and have been struggling with the concept off and on now for a while. I think, though, that I engage in some activity which could be described as such. it's like short snippets of dialogue with myself, when in thinking about the day's triumphs or failures, I try and reach out to make a connection or gather some epiphany from the surrounding world. I put my thoughts somehow away from my body and look on myself from the vast empty night. i really should keep a pad of paper next to my pillow so i can write down this stuff because i swear it is good.

Monday, May 17, 2004

A Handmade Museum by Brenda Coultas is certainly not a book I would have ever read on my own, nor was it one that I would have continued reading after the first ten or so pages had it not been for the necessity of this assignment. My personal shortcomings notwithstanding, this book and the style of writing Coultas expressed offered me a very different perspective on the nature of writing, the meaning of poetry and the inspiration for a poem. The main portion of the book, The Bowery Project, (quality-wise, not quantity-wise) refers to her experiences in the Bowery section of New York City. These poems take on the form of observations and very concrete descriptions of her surroundings. The main thing I noticed about these poems was the seeming lack of any “poetics;” many of them reading like short fragments of information from one writing a diary. Yet, there remains an intimate association with the objects and people she writes about, and a latent desire to know more. She writes, “Everything I truly need will appear. I’m not an archeologist, but am a studier of persons and documenter of trails.” Her poetry is what I would call an experiment with personal expression. She fully involves herself with her environment and reveals herself through the objects she finds; “romanticized dumpster diving in order to make hunting and gathering interesting.” She is conscious of her own private nature, yet her poetry also extends a desire for a more manifest public character. As a result, her poetry takes on a very intimate feel, but also displays a distinct image of her setting through her desire to form an intimate relationship with anything she finds. This suggests a whole world of “unpoetic” possibilities, objects and occurrences that can be loved and poeticized. Her works reveal a desire to make sense of the city and form personal bonds in the most impersonal of places. Perhaps she views the objects in her poetry as “nature,” as she expresses the fact that if she ever leaves “it would be for nature. Nature would make up for what I would lose in culture.” In this way, she creates a sense of trying to make sense of her world and grab a place in it, bringing an appreciation of life to a vast, unappreciative place. The way she lays out her observations so plainly and without any poetic language or techniques exposes her desire for a simpler life and a desire to make the complicated around her much more concrete. Her poetry is a wish to bring small-town attitudes to her own little place in the city and become a public character for all to see.
It was truly hard for me to get absorbed in the book or to shake off a feeling of monotony I got from the progression of her poems, yet her style spoke volumes to me on different aspects of my writing to consider. Perhaps I would benefit from becoming a “public character” and let that help me shake off the way I have privatized my poetry. Too often when I write, I feel like I am writing for myself and am not conscious of a wider range of readers that could possibly look at my work. Coultas, on the other hand, does an amazing job at using her surroundings as personal expression and a method of relaying thoughts and feelings. Her style also reinforces much of the post-modernist form I have seen this year, as pretty much none of her work in The Bowery Project resembles what I used to think of as poetry. The way she writes, “I had seen a web site of haunted photographs, with ectoplasm and orbs and wondered what ghosts inhabited these chairs, what old Bowery asses once sat there,” reveals a poetic longing for a more intimate knowledge, but only expresses that in a simple sentence with a distinct lack of poetic form. The problem I still struggle with, the obvious question “Is this poetry?” still bothers me to some degree, but this poetry resonates something deeper than a desire to try something new or shake off old forms which I can appreciate as poetry. More than likely I will embrace some of this form in future writing as I will surely be bombarded with it if I choose to keep reading contemporary work, yet for now I am firmly remaining stubborn.

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Reflection on Frederic Jameson’s excerpt from Postmodernism and Consumer Society

I found that Jameson’s piece sort of summed up much of the reading we have been doing this semester. I am not sure about the rest of you, but I fluctuating from feelings of strong discontent, frustration, amazement, joy and annoyance with the readings on a week-to-week basis. I could never be sure if I could classify what I read as “poetry” or if I should respect some of what I found to be nonsense as an expression of a tremendous new form of writing. I can’t really say if Jameson vilified me or enlightened me; however, he does present me with new avenues for thinking about the subject. He first expressed something I had always felt about our post-modernist readings but could never really postulate myself: the erosion of a sharp distinction between high culture and popular culture. At first this kind of disturbed part of me; the elitist who wants to distinguish himself with knowledge of certain subjects (such as poetry) which many are absolutely clueless about. Yet, more than anything I am intrigued by the possibilities offered by this breakdown; however, the problem remains that I always tend towards the “high culture” aspects of poetry when I write. I really can’t help it because when I get in the writing mindset I just want to try and express myself with lofty conjectures, images of the metaphysical, unusual syntax and the like. Whenever I try something in the other direction it tends to come out in something like “dudespeak” or in some other lame attempt at humor which really appears funny to myself and Megan, my girlfriend who graciously praises my work when I beg for her “honest opinion.” Another aspect of Jameson’s characterization of post-modernism involves the use of pastiche; imitation without parody’s ulterior motive of satire. I realize also now that this is another aspect that confuses Josh (and myself) as to my true intention for invoking certain techniques. Finally, I realize that when I write I try and create a private world like that ascribed to modernists in Jameson’s critique. This failure to view society and the world as a whole contributes a great deal to the shape and form of my writing as not really post-modern. The problem is that I can’t embrace what Jameson describes as “the necessary failure of art, failure of the new and the imprisonment of the past” and our stasis in the perpetual present. I have always embraced the tendency of invoking older social traditions and using them to personalize the view of the world the comes through in my work. Each time I sit down to write, I envision my piece taking the form of one that I would read and consider nonsense, taking a wider view of the world. Jameson’s excerpt really clarified the need for me to accept popular culture and let my thoughts mix with those I get from the world as a whole. The main problem is that when writing this personalized poetry it always seems real good to me, and therefore like it should to everyone else; making it all that much harder to sit down and tear apart.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

I have to say, I am not too conscious of using either of Pound’s intensifications of language and would not consider myself too terribly good at any. I struggle most with logopoeia and phanopoeia; however, specifically with trying to find new ways to use language in order to express images and find new contexts for their manifestation. Whenever I try and incorporate various images in my writing I most often struggle with attempts to break away from clichéd language and metaphorical comparisons. I find it difficult to dissociate myself from the common associations that my mind often makes and I usually feel sound pretty decent in my writing. The biggest problem I have is that I too often write abstractly and not about concrete images. Thinking about it, that aspect of my writing; images of night, the sun, etc, are precisely the ones that leave the door open for clichéd language and abstract thoughts which are in reality, unoriginal. The readings (and Josh’s comments) have really brought these shortcomings to light and revealed to me that no poets really write like I do and that perhaps I should try and take my writing in a different direction. Keeping all this in mind for about the past five assignments, I have still had difficulty playing with language in original ways and escaping self-placed restraints of trying to get across meaning and some sort of message. Those aspects of poetry always take precedence for me and I often find myself losing focus on making the language produce an effect of its own. I do think; however, that I am pretty good at using melopoeia and sound devices in my poetry. I guess this most likely stems from the fact that I take on a more “classical” poetic style. Pieces of poetry with rely on sound or flow, such as sonnets, are what I can do best with; letting the form and flow of the poem elevate the language. I find this kind of strange because I have never really had an aptitude towards music or any real musical talent, yet when it comes to poetry I am really able to create a strong sense of melopoeia. I do think, though, that this sense would greatly be elevated if I can build on the other two aspects more and get away from meaning, the metaphysical and abstractness that encumber my writing.

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