Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Poetry of Comedy (Happy Halloween)

Although we often think of poetry being composed of written documents, there is also a performative element that must not be overlooked. As we’ve learned firsthand, there is both an incredible sense of agency attained when reading a poem to others, as well as a captivated engagement experienced when listening.  In this sense, poetry is just one of the many forms of oral tradition that have been passed down through the generations.

Another form of oral tradition is stand-up comedy. With its emphasis on the recitation of prepared material, and its investment in evoking emotion, stand-up can definitely be thought of as a sister art form of poetry.

As such, I encourage you all to watch the above clip, which features Jerry Seinfeld (one of the most respected stand-up comedians of all time) waxing nostalgic about Halloween.

O Me! O Life! O Friday in the Lab!

Walt WhitmanOver the course of the last month, we’ve come to the understanding that poetry is a wonderful means of expressing tremendous emotion. While we often think of poems as cute bits of rhythmic writing that sometimes rhyme, they actually tackle much deeper subjects. In essence, poetry is a vehicle for exploring the deepest recesses of our innermost selves.

Today, we are going to take a ride in the poetry-vehicle by reading O Me! O Life! by Walt Whitman!

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Continue reading O Me! O Life! O Friday in the Lab!

To Build Supertramp (Read Jack London)

To Build a Fire

In Krakauer’s Into the Wild, Chris McCandless is depicted as a multifaceted individual — idealist, reckless youth, aspirant, and scholar of existence. Although a multitude of factors contributed to McCandless’ perspective, Krakauer makes sure to honor the fact that his subject was an avid reader.

One of the greatest sources of inspiration for the force known as Alexander Supertramp was the work of Jack London. As a naturalist interested in the conflict between Man and his surroundings, London crafted pieces that explore what happens when an individual is thrust into survivalist situations. Needless to say, McCandless enjoyed these writings.

If you are a member of Junior Honors English, click the link for an extra-credit opportunity!

Continue reading To Build Supertramp (Read Jack London)

So Much Meaning Depends on So Few Words!

Throughout our exploration of poetry, we’ve come to the realization that syntax, diction, and intimation are of the utmost importance. By choosing certain words and arranging them with care, a poet is able to evoke a tremendous amount of emotion. In the process, the poet may also demonstrate the power of language, even when dealing in an economy of words.

Today, we are going to further investigate these notions by reading The Red Wheelbarrow by William Carlos Williams!

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Continue reading So Much Meaning Depends on So Few Words!

Creative Writing, Burning Bright!

The Creative Writing train has left the the station, with intention of arriving at Poetry City by the end of the month. But there’ll be plenty of stops along the way, with local guides showing us some of their regions more scenic landmarks. Oh no, it looks like we’ve come to a dead stop! And we’re in the forest of the night!

Luckily, William Blake is nearby and he’s going to help us understand the distant skies!

Mice? Men? Freshmen?!

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men has more than secured itself a station as one of the most celebrated works of all American literature. By combining tremendous imagery of the natural world with a narrative grappling with the influence that circumstances, aspirations, and grim reality have on our lives, Steinbeck has crafted a work that you’ll not soon forget.

Prepare yourselves for a life-changing literary experience!

Emerson’s New Kicks

Ralph Waldo Emerson is known as one of the greatest [literary/philosophical] minds to ever spring forth from the experiment that is America. On the one hand, his Transcendental essays encouraged citizens to question the systems into which they were born, asking them to reexamine the very values they hold dear. On the other hand, his poetry evoked a beauty that bespoke of a genuine pride in the inherent possibility of the United States.

So what do we think of the fact that his words (as well some from the Declaration of Independence) were co-opted by Reebok so they could sell some sneakers?