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Sunday, May 16, 2004

This is my last blog. The evaluation and response to the poetry reading. Procrastination makes things flow just like using a sonnet as a format. You’re so pressed for time you don’t let little things inhibit you.
The reading of two grad students was held in Goldwin Smith in this strangely comfortable room. As I have had many a lecture in Goldwin Smith, it definitely felt like a place of classrooms. That’s why I was somewhat taken aback to see Rolling Rock, Smirnoff Ice, and a variety of other beers along the back table along with avocado and cheese sandwiches complemented by a variety of pastries. The combinations of things I was told were never to be combined and the feeling as though someone might yell at me at any moment for drinking a beer while listening to poetry was a microcosm of the confusion and feeling of inappropriateness I felt throughout a great deal of the reading.
The first poet, Alex had sort of interesting poems based on everyday activities. Perhaps I would have paid attention and not dazed off so much had he put some emotion into to his reading. I felt much of what he said was too monotone for the actual topics he was discussing. He had a sort of sarcastic undertone that I took as somewhat condescending, and felt that was confirmed when he referred to himself as pretentious. It almost seemed as though he though himself above trying to entertain. Blind dates, position vacant, when I listened to the words I thought I could enjoy the poem if I was reading it on my own with my own voice resonating through my ears.
The female poet read a passage from her book. It seemed as though reading was something she wanted to do, she thrived on being in front of an audience. She spoke with a great deal of emotion, told a couple jokes initially, and made it clear she intended for us to hang on her every word. The topic of the book was sort of esoteric, English female felons enroute to Australia. The language was vivid, true to time, and extremely vulgar. I felt quite uncomfortable at the words used and the scenes painted in my mind. It all added to the discomfort of the entire situation. However, it will be said that I never dazed off in the middle of her passage. She changed the voices for each of the characters and really put herself into her reading and lived it. You could tell the words she wrote were hers, she lived them and breathed into them. The earlier poet could have easily been reading words off the back of a cereal box.

American Linden

My relationship with American Linden started off poorly. My out of shape body had to hike up six flights of stairs at Olin. Then it took another 20 minutes to find the PS barcode section. Once I had possession of the thin, navy hard covered book my over wound body tried to walk out of the library with it. Yes, I set off the buzzer. Then when I went to check out the book they had to put a label in it, as no one had ever checked it out before. I figured it must be really quality if no one had ever read it before.
One of the writers we read in class said each time you read a work you bring something to the poem. Something entirely different than if you read it two hours later. I brought my emotions as a reader. Since, my recent thought process revolves around heartache and romance, much of what I took note of had something to do with either topic.
However, I’m evaluating American Linden as a writer. What I learned the most was to be specific, be vivid, comment on those little things that you think only you notice. When a reader feels or senses an image that they could never seem to articulate it forges an intimate bond and closer reading of the poem. When I read the line, “No caress is entire unmechanical,” I felt a sense of agreement, almost a déjà vu quality. It seemed as though someone had perfectly articulated the question that has always lingered in my mind, as to whether something that feels amazing and perfect is so because of chemistry and depth or experience and routine. The kindred bond of sharing thoughts with the poet brought me closer. It drew me in to carefully reading each line as to not miss any bit or compilation of wisdom.
Another lesson I gained from reading American Linden was that I’m not the only one that has to use vehicles to confront my fears and issues. There is a description of two separate characters, in towns in close proximity that pass each other in their daily lives but never meet. Towards the end of the poem there is a line, “Because they were meant for each other they will never meet, not even here.” The poem vividly expresses the fear of not finding love, not finding that person we are meant for even if we cross paths a million times. The descriptions of the characters are specific, so the characters seem real. It is easier to feel vivid descriptions than general illustrations, general is like a Holocaust statistic that has no feelings where a description is like the Diary of Anne Frank. The author uses the two characters probably because to put it in the context of his own life would be emotionally hurtful and he would not be able to express his own feeling because of the intensity associated. This doesn’t make you any weaker of a writer, it makes you human.

Monday, May 10, 2004

Mountains in the North: Hispanic Writing in the USA

I’m feeling a little heart break right now. But hey the game must go on… I must check off this off my “things to do list.” Ok, shifting into hardcore student gear. The passage just shows how varied writing is as a form of expression. There is much more than just different forms of writing: poetry, short stories, articles, etc. Each language influences writing and speaking. A language is almost a secret code. Words known to only a certain groups of people. Teenagers speak in a tongue the same as their parents, and yet the parents can not even understand what their children are saying. That is similar to the dialects in the Latin World. They are all so different while being the same. Then here in the US, Spanish blends with English sort of like amazing fusion cooking. The taste is unique and flavorful. The fusion adds to the variety and range of the English language. It brings it new context and meaning. The culture and images are spices that bring out and enhance certain flavors. The fusion makes me want to be a part of unique expression. I want to say how I feel and make it have a pleasant taste unlike anything else. I want my words to be the food that gets a rave review in the New York Times.

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Chocolate Cheesecake. Maple Nut. Roasted Almond. Grasshopper. Angels Food Cake. Devils Food Cake. Those are the current fro-yo flavors at Jason’s Deli from left to right. When I close my eyes I see the images of the heavy silver machines with the flavors clearly labeled. I’ve always had the gift or just odd nuance of being able to remember images perfectly clearly. When I write, I want everyone to see the perfect images that I see. I have been describing images and creating settings when I tell stories to people for so long that it comes fairly easily when I’m writing.
I have however, never been so musically inclined. It all began in my nursery school production. I was asked to join a different group then the rest of the girls because my voice apparently “stuck out.” The fact that I joined the air guitar group and did not become a soloist strongly suggests that my voice did not stick out in a positive fashion. At a birthday party in ninth grade I did karaoke. My friend Jordan still plays the tape whenever she wants a good laugh. I remember standing up in front of all my friends shaking… waiting for someone to save me while I missed basically every note that Whitney set. Chris Pericak was stoned enough to walk up to the front of the room, put his arm around my shoulder, and sing with me. Music has never resonated in my ears. Therefore, making a fluid melody from the sound of the words I write is very difficult for me. I need to read it aloud. Sometimes after reading aloud I need to consult. I’m like a colorblind person that wants to make sure that the sweater I’m buying on sale is not a putrid puke green.

Friday, April 30, 2004

G… A historical sketch of ten years before my birth. As I was born in 1984, we are talking about 1974. As I was extremely demoralized by being turned down at three bars last night, I am forced to recall that 1974 was the good old days. It was a time when there was the 18 year old drinking age. Cornell students of all years could walk down College Ave. with the knowledge they would be admitted to Rulloff’s, Johnny O’s, and Dino’s. The Palms was more than just a senior bar. I am forced to wonder, what are the consequences of the age 21 drinking age? I personally think the Cornell marriage rate is going down. Back in the day, students of all years could fraternize. Basically now, freshman, sophomores, and in some cases juniors are prevented from interacting with seniors, grad students, and anyone with a good id. And even people that meet and hit it off, really have no opportunity to hang out if one can gain admittance to the bars and another cannot. My mother always says when she was a teenager, pretty girls were never made to show any sort of id or pay a cover charge. Oh… the illustrious days of special treatment and an uninterrupted social life. What has happened to the fabric of our society?

Sunday, April 18, 2004

History of Home

I don’t as much come from a region as I come from a suburb. Is a suburb in Northern California really all that different from one in Bucks county Pennsylvania? Mine so happens to be in upstate New York, a suburb of Albany. We flourish in our Volvos and lock our doors when we drive through Arbor Hill enroute to the Pepsi Arena.
Every fourth grader learns that the Dutch settled Fort Orange, as Albany was called back in the day. Now the Fort Orange Club is the name of the snooty all men club my father belongs to. You have to be 35 to be a junior member, but the rice pudding and squash courts are amazing. The Dutch heritage is a hindrance that makes archeologists peruse the construction site of my father’s company’s new office building, delaying the groundbreaking.
The Dutch government sent able men known as buccaneers to settle the land and rule little populations. They were given large estates and land rights. While they always had a home right in Fort Orange, they often kept a country estate. Latham was once the country, and the Pruyn House was the country home of a buccaneer by the name of yes, Pruyn. The large white and green mansion with acres of land, two gardens, more outbuilding than I can count stands across the street from the entrance of my development. I always used to imagine the Pruyn House was exactly what Julia Roberts’s house looked like.
The house is in gorgeous pristine shape as a result of the Friends of Pruyn Society’s diligence. Each room is decorated with as much authenticity as could be possible achieved. The Fort Orange Garden Club maintains the gardens and often has flower shows and other fund raisers. Events take place biweekly for various charities and community enjoyment. There are civil war reenactments. Candy Kitchen. Wednesday Concert nights in the barn. German night.
Riding my bike the 1 minute and 12 seconds that it took to get to the top of the street and cross the road was my safari. Laura and I would each get three dollars from our parents. Oxen ride, apple cider donuts, and cotton candy to our hearts’ content. Packing a picnic lunch of sharp cheddar cheese sandwiches and Quaker chewy granola bars to eat in the garden.

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Unlike a few of my lovely classmates I am new to the arena of blog stalking. My forte in online stalking usually conists of running google searches on every guy I meet. I guess I never realized anyone actually read what I wrote. I assumed it was a semi-private journal that I was required to publicize for class. This context lead me to open up and write personal things. Therefore, I think people in the class know a great deal that I haven't told some of the people closest to me. Or maybe that was my I wrote it. Someone could understand without ramifications on my life.
When first sketching through the blogs, I wished one had just been assigned to me. I have an incredibly difficult time making up my mind when there are a lot of options. Especially when the options all seem good. The red snapper or the duck. Chocolate ganache or chocolate flourless cake. Incredibly difficult. So I eventually settled on Irena's major response.
It intrigued me as she wrote about the exact same struggle I wrote of, in an entirely different style. She literally made her internal conflict into a battle between two rival forces. The format was sort of that of a play. Beginning with the descriptions of the characters: the heart and the business orientated self I could immediately commiserate. The immediacy of having to choose a major in a month was an emotion that was conveyed greatly. It really showed that time is passing so incredibly quickly and yet there is so much pressure to figure everything out. The indecision and the path the heart take are just a necessary and amazing path of the journal. The struggle is alive. Thoughts this way and that. Fears of "practical" concerns keep jumping in despite efforts to brush them off. The businessman brain could be even more than concerns her mind conjures. It could also be the voices of people influential in her life. At the end the struggle isn't resolved, rather it is resolved that the struggle is part of a path.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Goya's Scenes


Art is more than the appearance of paint on a canvas. Art is the experience between the viewer and creation. Ferlinghetti looks at the scenes of Goya as they are. However the sensory impulses that his eyes take fuse with the thoughts on his mind and his evaluation of the world around him. He sees the current world equally horrific as the one Goya painted. However, the current horrors take an altogether different form, as he puts it "the landscapes have changed." Ferlinghetti paints his own landscape with words. He takes the same human element that Goya used and puts them in a scene he thinks similar to the corpses of Goya. He uses the freeways and painted cars to illustrate the meaninglessness.
He believes he has sort of an enlightened view and takes a condescending tone. When he describes billboards illustrating “imbecile illusions of happiness” he is insulting the population for buying into these illusions and actually believing they are content on this “concrete continent.” The actual travesty is not a battle and blood spew but people ignorant enough to believe that this world is meaningful. Ferlinghetti makes it seem as though the people wander in their meaningless lives and that is the “suffering humanity.”

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