Journal Entry # 13

  • My views on writing before class could be classified as any normal student that doesn’t have much of an interest in perusing a career in writing or literature. Although I have always enjoyed writing on topics that interest me, like every other student, before this class my opinion of writing was that it is necessary, and there are many new techniques that can be learned.
  • During the trimester I developed a new style of writing that was less structured than previously taught. A “free form” writing that allowed a writer’s voice to be implemented into the piece. I was also introduced to “brainstorming” and believe that this is a constructive way in which to develop ideas and structure to a piece of writing that I previously had not used before.
  • My writing was influenced by the examples given in class, both given on the website and reading other students techniques. Adopting someone elses technique and trying it in your piece can have a positive or negative effect, but I found these examples very helpful when I was unsure of what direction I needed to take when developing mainly the introduction or conclusion to a paper. Other examples of how to transition from one topic to the next inside the body of a paper were very helpful.
  • I believe that the comparison essay was my strongest piece of work. Having worked up to it and knowing what and what not to do allowed me to write this essay with much more confidence than the first. There was also more of my voice, which I believe the instructor was looking for, while enough supporting evidence that the audience has little to no room to refute the ideas conveyed in paper. The ideas expressed are logical and reasonable and clearly expressed, and clearly connected from beginning to end.
  • The writing that was my weakest was clearly my first essay. It was clumsily thrown together and did not meet the requirements asked for by the rubric. It did not connect clearly to the reader and, although it had plenty of supporting evidence, was not always logical except to the writer. It was riddled with grammatical errors and needed much more work to get it to a satisfactory level.
  • My strengths as a writer are that I can adapt well to knew styles, and I like to think that my own voice is unique from those around me in a writer’s aspect. I have no problem with using third person, and normally prefer that. I am able to write a take my voice in and out of papers as needed.
  • My weaknesses as a writer are that my grammar is not perfect, and I lack the “free form” technique strengths that are becoming popular. Though I can adapt to this style it is not as fluid as the structured style that I am used to and that, on the overall outcome of the piece, has a negative affect. I am also not a fiction writer, or a personal writer, thus the personal side of writing is not a practiced side.
  • Yes, the progression can be seen in the pieces that have been produced this term. Both in an individualistic standpoint of having more of a grasp on the technical grammar and style of writing, and in adopting new techniques that can be seen in both the academic and personal writing.
  • My views of poetry changed dramatically, seeing as how I have never had to interpret poetry before, so the entire experience was new and enlightening. I learned how to derive different meanings and develop my own personal opinions in interpretations. I viewed poetry as lyrical literature with different meaning that have single meaning that the poet  were meant to be known. Now I view it to the affect that a personal opinion can be subjected into the meaning of individual poems, because symbolism has different meanings for everyone.
  • I have learned that I can have a voice of my own in writing, something that I have not been able to have in my previous classes throughout high school. In the beginning of the term I did not understand how to correctly put ones voice into a work or writing. I think that this is very important, because reading a paper with no voice is relatively boring. I think that this addition has made a large difference in my writing and is can be noticed from previous works.
  • Yes, I had not considered  all of the different ways that one person can take a simple set of words. This course pushes students to think outside the box not only for writing their own pieces but also for analyzing other pieces.
  • I feel that since I learned many things in this course that it was a valuable use of time. This course will allow me to write more efficient essays, and give me a different perspective to reading literature.
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W.S Merwin

Born in New York and lived in Union City NJ. Merwin’s father was a Presbyterian minister. When Merwin was young her wrote hymns in the expectation that they would be sung in church. He attended Princeton at the young age of 16 and afterwards joined the navy. John Berrymon was Merwin’s hero, teacher and friend. William tutored children in Spain, worked for BBC translating Spanish, French, Japanese, Yiddish, and San-script. During the 60’s Merwin became political in his works. Most of his poetry did not have the use of punctuation, as he thought that is “nails the poem to a page.” This was his cry for freedom of speech. His collection of works include 40 books of poetry, translations and pros. He has received 2 Pulitzer prize awards and is a Googenhiemer member. Merwin is very connected to the environment, He tells his audience of his 3 year old self hitting a man because he was trying to cut down his friend the tree. To this day he does not like email or phones, and types his works on a type writer. During his visit to Davison, his first time there, he spoke of the uncomfortable nature he felt being the poet laureate. Living on the isle of Hawaii, Merwin speaks of how he tried to recreate a rainforest. He says “Only a forest knows how to grow a forest.” Merwin as saved a species of palm trees that were pretty much extinct. He say that his purpose for taking the position is because he wanted to say something, and that this was his chance, whether he made a difference, he could at least say that he tried. Merwin tells his audience that “The thing that makes our distinct species is not intelligence or mortal soul–that what we can be proud of is our imagination.” That we as a race can be moved by great beauty and  great destruction. “We are all awake together.” he says, and to me this means that we are like hospital patients in a coma; Awake, but not active.  Merwin’s message to the public is to care, but not just care, to do something about it. That we have the power to create, but to also destroy, and that this is what can make the difference between helping the environment and destroying it. My favorite poems that he read were about the chow being “The Lion” and finding his dog. My least favorite was about the son who’s father past away. All three were very powerful, and very lyrical. Conversational as well. I think that Merwin has the potential to have a major impact on the views toward the world if people open their minds and pay attention. The attempt at making a difference is all one can do, it is up to the listeners to take action through inspiration.

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Poetry Entry # next

As you live it up

I’m tryin to stay alive.

I’m tryin to dream, but the droning noise

white Noise.

Black noise

It’s 4:20 in the morning


that noise should bake itself into a. slow.


death. or at least to coma

I feel like a crack addict,  an insomniac

with shifty red eyes and crazed, twitching at quick movements

but Without


or having tried anything

Can I fly with you?

Can’t you lull me to sweet slumber?

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Journal Entry #12

W.S Merwin video/poetry reading.

W.S Merwin’s position in the public eye is interesting. From the interview it is clear that he was reluctant to accept this offer, but felt that it was of great importance that he do so. Influences such as himself are beneficial to those both inside and outside of the literary world.
W.S Merwin~Yesterday

This poem has many emotions weaved through it’s lines. The conversational structure that Merwin constructed helps to poem have a human connection to those reading it. As Merwin portrays himself as the two friends having a discussion, the listener can feel the annoyance of both parties towards each other, and the regret and nostalgia on the one being chastised. As they speak, the reader learns that the one that is being criticized will never have a chance to fix what has been done. This is very sad, as the story of how the father was left wanting and a son who left just to leave. The connection that is in fact a disconnect between parents and their children is an unfortunate event that happens too often. As Merwin’s character reveals that the son lived close to his father, in the same city, and yet still did not go to see him, for unknown reasons to the reader, but we can assume that it was no other reason than a lack of desire to see him. Readers can feel the emotion of the father, almost begging his child to stay for moments longer, but offering him leave. This is a solemn work, one that everyone can relate to on some level.

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Journal Entry #11


Jeffery Harrison~The Name of Things

  • First thing noticed is that the first half of this poem is happy, and the second half has a morbid turning point.
  • Incredibly descriptive, especially in the area of color. Making connection between simplicities and more complex ideas, the speaker has the ability to direct the reader in several different directions
  • Very conversational, describing everyday scenes to the reader. The speaker sounds young.
  • The title relates to the entire writing, symbolizing the different meanings that names have for same objects.

Linda Pastan~To a Daughter Leaving Home

  • Title suggests that the speaker is a parent, wishing their daughter farewell
  • When reading we learn that the speaker is speaking to the daughter, and telling her of how she was growing up, and the parent felt as though she would leave forever
  • Nostalgic tone
  • Ending of lines words associated with leaving.

Peter Meinke~The ABC of Aerobics

  • Poem corresponds with title in that each line begins with a letter of the alphabet in alphabetical order
  • Poem a narrative of lost chances and longing.
  • Very descriptive, using syntax when describing the exercise.
  • Last four lines the most interesting, eluding to missed chances and how lust can enhance fitness.

Peter Meinke writes a very interesting piece of lust and health. The reader can make out that the speaker is out of shape by the clear, in depth, visual aid that the descriptions given provide. The speaker gives the reader an example of a family member who has died from health problems, but a deeper meaning can reveal that that family member was miserable. The speaker gives the reader evidence that if he were happy, with the woman he wanted, that his health would be better, and he would be more satisfied. Pastan lets her readers see the longing her speaker has for the past, when a child was still a child. The short narrative explaining when a parent taught their daughter to ride a bike, this being the beginning of the end so to speak. A solemn tone through out, nostalgic memories. The ending of the lines all words that are associated with something pulling the child away from the parent. Harrison has a darker meaning to his speakers beautiful disaster theme in “The Name of Things”. This has through out a very descriptive notion of bright happy colors, and yet as the reader approaches the end of the poem, the speaker relates these beauties to horrors. The smooth transition of comparisons from beginning to end lend the reader to follow the speaker easily.

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Journal Entry # 10


Paul Laurence Dunbar~Theology

  • Epigram
  • Competitive Marching band to Greenwood!!!
  • No form
  • Very wicked humor, justifying the existence of Hell based on a dislike for those living around him
  • “for ever”- why did the poet say this instead of a traditional description of heaven “forever”

Andrew Hudgins~Elegy for My Father, Who Is Not Dead

  • Elegy is for those deceased, thus from just reading title, reader may perceive that a person has disowned or given up on their father
  • “He’s ready.” Suggesting that the father is prepared, reading on the reader can see that it is justified by a belief of religious salvation.
  • The speaker does not agree, and seems almost fearful of the inevitable.
  • Tone of resentment- “I can’t/ just say good-bye as cheerfully”

Elaine Mitchell~Form

  • Title suggests that elegance, grace, or propriety will be discussed.
  • The form of the poem compliments the title, though the meaning of the poem contradicts it.
  • First and last line of poem end with Corset
  • First and last line of every stanza rhythm with corset

Elaine Michell illustrates to her audience with what is to be believed as a man’s perspective of how women should view corsets. The form of the poem was very interesting, how Mitchell used the word Corset at the end of the beginning and ending line, and each stanza ended and began with word groupings that rhymed with Corset.  The title can reference the form of writing being used or, more likely, an explanation of how women should be in a man’s eyes. Pretty, proper, and respectful of her authorities. Corsets can symbolize many things to a woman, and when the speaker’s tone is so arrogant towards the topic, it can be argued that he has no regard toward the user of these items feels, most often being resentment. This, resentment, could be the theme for Hudgins’ poem, a statement from a son or daughter to their sick father, ready to depart into what the father believes will be a new world. The title also suggests resentment, being that elegies are said for the dead. This could indicate that the father’s child has disowned him, or that he is already dead to them. Near the end of the poem the speaker’s tone is angry, viewing death differently from his or her father. They do not seem to believe that they will see each other again, and is troubled by that thought. Dunbar shares a different kind of trouble, apparently felt towards a neighboring company. This short and wickedly witty poem contradicts itself when the speaker thinks of themselves as saintly, but belittling those whom live closely to them. It is still unsure why the poet used “for ever”, verses “forever”.

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Food Poem

What’s the best way to spread a disease?

Over good food of coarse

With good company

That’s a must

Juicy aromas of sickness and sweet meat

Home cooked recipes for disaster

The sweetest deserts, delicious temptations

That’s what small towns

And bored people

Make of a good meal.

Bless your heart!

Just put that cherry on top

And watch that cake come crumbling down

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Journal Entry #9


Rita Dove~ Fox Trot Friday

  • Fox  Trot is a dance
  • Nat King Cole is a musician, the comparison of a satin smile to satin sheets.
  • Lifting pearls would compare to lifting worries or cares, as well as tuck in the grief. These is to say to loose yourself in the music, to let it simplify anything else in someones mind.
  • While lost in the song, we may escape the realities of betrays that are possible when connecting with another. However as the poem indicates, it is not thought of in dance.

Carl Sandburg~ Chicago

  • Title is suggesting that Chicago could be a person
  • The speaker is giving Chicago titles in the first lines
  • Creates a personality for the city
  • Speaker takes pride in Chicago, defending it’s honor, describing the laughter with no humor placed behind it.
  • Describing the hardships that the city and it’s people endure with what is portrayed as ease.

Floyd Skloot

  • Title allows reader to imagine the speaker in the cold, the opening line revealing a country setting of deer crossing in the fog in the early morning
  • This is a dream state, in which reality is affecting the dream
  • Heartbeats=hoofbeats
  • Deer travel in families, such as a man and his wife, symbolism of family
  • Last line indicating that they fall back into rest in silence.

Skloot’s speaker gives an intricate description of a scene of deer on a winter morning. As we read on we learn that it is a man’s dream, and that in the cold he is pressed against a loved one. The imagery that connects the readers from the dream to the speaker’s reality is profound, symbolic of the primal connection that he has to the woman. “awake/ but not awake,” and the way that the hoofbeats become a heartbeat. Sandburg has the same strong imagery in his Chicago. The personification shown as the speaker give this city a personality, giving it titles such as “Hog Butcher of the World” and “Tool Maker”. When the speaker is asked, or told, they do not refute the claims, and towards the end, start defending the city’s honor. “terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young man laughs,” signifying that there is crude humor in the speaker’s tone. Tough exteriors leave the question of where the soft underbelly lies. Rita Dove exposes her readers to the intimacy of a dance, its soft simplicities draining away the weeks stress and giving the dancers a quick get away. The music allows the mind to “tuck/ in the grief, life your pearls,” The speaker could be suggesting the acts of sex, “slow satin sheets” comparable to satin sheets. Sex is often related to a dance.

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Poetry entry #4

Who you are is part of me

And now as this storm approaches, it’s ominous shades

Of uncertainty

Gloating at them from a far

And I saw that room, cold and baren

Your melody giving it brilliant color

He never understood

But now we got bigger issues

Big Brother’s got sick and

been infected for a while now, everything coming to a head now

What they gonna do now?

Such distance

What we gonna do now?

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Journal Entry #7


 Bob Hicok~ Making it in Poetry

  • Irony in the last line “Because/ I write poems/ I said.”
  • The answer to the questions asked by the teller is ironic becuase they have the same answer, this tells us what the speaker thinks about his or her success in the profession they have chose.
  • Shouldn’t be so focused on money.
  • Contrast between poet and bank teller

Charles Simic~ The Storm

  • Personification of weeds in first line.
  • Title foreshadows for reader what is coming at the end, yet there is still a large build up to the impending disturbance that is soon to take place.
  • Words such as “shadows”, “silence”,” deepening”, and “dim” give reader the mindset of something unpleasant is coming.
  • Last line “The light just beginning to dim.” leaves the reader with an errie feeling.

William Stafford~ Traveling through the Dark

  • Narrative
  • internal battle in the main speaker
  • “tail-lights”, “lowered parking lights”, and “purred” sound as though the car is a natural predator, giving it characterists of an aminal.
  • Speaker seems caught between the decision to disgard the body because of the life they could save, and risk another car having a accident becuase of it, or dump both mother and fawn, and not take the chance.

Stafford’s dark tale of finding a dead deer on the side of the road seems like no big deal, until the reader learns of the unborn fawn inside the doe. The speaker’s internal battle of whether or not to push the doe over the side into a river in order to alliviate the risk of a car hitting it in the middle of the night and possibly killing those in the vehicle or leaving the deer so that the fawn might have a chance is resolved when the speaker pushes the deer over the edge. The way the speaker decribes the car is compared to the way one might decribe a wild animal, in this case, the does biggest predator. “alive, still, never to be born” lets the read know of the speakers decision before it is ever made. The same happens in the decription that Simic gives his readers. The entire peom is leading up to the final line, which leaves the reader with a mental picture of approaching doom. The dark tone of this poem is perfect for reminding the reader of times when they have awaited any situation that has tension in them. It can be assumed that some tension was experienced when, in the narritive that Hicok spins, the tell asks the speaker why he had not heard of him. The speaker illustrates for his readers that writing is done for passion not for money, as the clerk clearly shows the reader that the pay is not a wanting price. There is verbal irony in this poem when the peot tells the clerk the same answer for both insulting questions.

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