Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Internal Structure #2: The Victims by Sharon Olds p.1006

In this poem, the child of a couple divorced, re-tells their feelings once their father is left with nothing. "When Mother divorced you, we were glad." This sets the tone of a bitter child with deep seeded daddy issues. Systematically the speaker lists the crumbling of their fathers life, after the divorce. First, the family, "kicked you (the father) out" and "Then you were fired, and we grinned inside." This twisted enjoyment the child feel, amplify when they think of how bad their "ex-father's" life is now.

Although this poem seems like one massive block of poetry, it is marked by structure with the reducing of the father's life. Starting with the mother kicking him out, then his divorce from his family and finally his firing from work. The layers of this unknown characters life are being peeled away, as the poem progresses. "Now I pass the bums in doorways...and I wonder who took it from them in silence until they had given it all away and had nothing left but this." Summing up the disintegration of their father's life, by relating it to a bum's empty life, shows the true emotional anger and hurt the child still feels. With the beginning of the poem being in the past, it ends with the child seemingly in present day and safely without their father.

Sharon Olds on her autobiographical poetry:

Internal Structure #1: Sonrisas by Pat Mora p.1005

Mora sets the poem of Sonrisas in, "a doorway between two rooms," this interesting place symbolises to me the door to two different places/worlds to the speaker in the poem. In the first room the speaker observes uptight women in "crisp beige suits, quick beige smiles that seldom sneak into their eyes." This observations sharply constrasts to the relaxed view of people in the other room. "laughter whirls with steam from fresh tamales sh, sh, mucho ruido (a lot of noise)", this atmosphere seem happier and more comfortable in the eyes of the speaker than the first one. Relaying these observations of both rooms over the noises of coffee being brewed, "i hear quiet clicks, cups of black coffee, click, click," Mora shows an example of the descriptive structure that is the base of her poem. The step by step way the speaker wanders around two rooms, describing the people inside and their movement, is the discrusive process of organizing the observations one by one. This was interesting to me because it a very limited point of view for the reader.

I also noticed how there were only two stanzas in the poem. This I thought was interesting because the speaker is meant to be "between two rooms." The first stanza is the observation of the people in one room and the second stanza, is the speaker observing the people in the other room. The different language used in the second stanza and second room, helps make the two rooms even more of seperate worlds. Throughout these observations, the speaker seems to be comparing and contrasting both worlds.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Language #2: Flames by Billy Collins


Smokey the Bear heads

into the autumn woods

with a red can of gasoline

and a box of wooden matches.

His ranger's hat is cocked

at a disturbing angle.

His brown fur gleams

under the high sun

as his paws, the size

of catcher's mitts,

crackle into the distance.

He is sick of dispensing

warnings to the careless,

the half-wit camper,

the dumbbell hiker.

He is going to show them

how a professional does it.

I love the poetry of Billy Collins so, I chose a funny and cynnical poem, for an outside of Norton choice. This one begins with, "Smokey the Bear heads into the autumn woods with a red can of gasoline and a box of wooden matches." This statement is funny for the ironic imagery Collins uses by placing the fictional flame-fighting bear with the proper equipment for starting a forest fire. The tone starts funny with this picture but with the next line, "his ranger's hat is cocked at a disturbing angle," this turns the tone to a more dark one because the idea that Smokey would actually start a fire becomes realistic. (Although the entire poem is fictional, smokey's intentions become clearer here). Collin's outlines Smokey's thoughts, "He is sick of dispensing warnings to the careless," his true feelings show with the description of "half-wit campers" and "dumbbell hikers." This playfully ironic poem boarders on reality by exposing Smokey's true annoyance for the many forest fires, started by idiotic people. "He is going to show them how a professional does it," this statement truly shows Smokey's bitterness and intentions of creating a fire for the desired effect of cruel irony.

I like this particular poem mostly because of the tone of irony and sarcasm that Collin's is known for. The imagery he creates with the descriptions of Smokey's, "brown fur gleaming in the sun" and "paws, the size of catcher's mitts" give the reality of Smokey the Bear being fed-up and literally going out to start a fire. Collin's light language, clearly sends the sarcastic message of retaliating against the idiotic people of the world, albit in a silly way.

Language #1: The Geranium by Theodore Roethke

The Geranium

When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail,
She looked so limp and bedraggled,
So foolish and trusting, like a sick poodle,
Or a wizened aster in late September,
I brought her back in again
For a new routine--
Vitamins, water, and whatever
Sustenance seemed sensible
At the time: she'd lived
So long on gin, bobbie pins, half-smoked cigars, dead beer,
Her shriveled petals falling
On the faded carpet, the stale
Steak grease stuck to her fuzzy leaves.
(Dried-out, she creaked like a tulip.)
The things she endured!--
The dumb dames shrieking half the night
Or the two of us, alone, both seedy,
Me breathing booze at her,
She leaning out of her pot toward the window.
Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me--
And that was scary--
So when that snuffling cretin of a maid
Threw her, pot and all, into the trash-can,
I said nothing.
But I sacked the presumptuous hag the next week,
I was that lonely.

After reading My Papa's Waltz in the Norton I really liked Roethke's style of poetry and researched some more of his work and found The Geranium. The situation of this poem isn't clear in the beginning, its very ambiguous. The first line, "When I put her out, once, by the garbage pail, She looked so limp and bedraggles, so foolish and trusting." This description doesn't immediately point to the subject being a simple potted flower. The way Roethke describes the Geranium makes it take on a human persona, the reader feels the speakers feelings for the plant. Althought the speaker points out his mistreatment of the plant, "The things she endured!" He seems to feel guilt for his bad care for the withering plant. He refers to the geranium as "she" which attributes to the speakers idea of the plant being a woman. "Near the end, she seemed almost to hear me, and that way scary" This observation by the speaker shows the reader how deeply the speaker believes the plant is really alive, human being. Even though the owner of the plant seemed to not care much for the geranium because of the way he treated it, at the end he gets back at the maid who threw the flower away by firing her. "I was that lonely", is the last statement the speaker makes about his life, without his geranium. This simple sentence sums up the speakers true love for the flower and how sad he is that "she" is now gone.