Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Thinking about yesterday's poetry-class lunch . . . poetry and eating are linked in the social rituals of many cultures, and many poems have come together in the presence of food as part of prandial rituals and entertainment. There are whole anthologies devoted to poetry and food, and I'm sure an anthology could be put together focusing on just one course (soup poems, entree poems, dessert poems), or the act of cooking, or the companionship--"with bread"--of the table.

A Cookie Poems anthology could include Cookie Monster's poem (above), which gets interesting for me at the very point where Cookie Monster breaks from the uninspired constraint of cookieless verse, teaching us that hunger has its own rhyme and reason.

One of my favorite cookie poems:

Lines For The Fortune Cookies

I think you're wonderful and so does everyone else.

Just as Jackie Kennedy has a baby boy, so will you--even bigger.

You will meet a tall beautiful blonde stranger, and you will not say hello.

You will take a long trip and you will be very happy, though alone.

You will marry the first person who tells you your eyes are like scrambled eggs.

In the beginning there was YOU--there will always be YOU, I guess.

You will write a great play and it will run for three performances.

Please phone The Village Voice immediately: they want to interview you.

Roger L. Stevens and Kermit Bloomgarden have their eyes on you.

Relax a little; one of your most celebrated nervous tics will be your undoing.

Your first volume of poetry will be published as soon as you finish it.

You may be a hit uptown, but downtown you're legendary!

Your walk has a musical quality which will bring you fame and fortune.

You will eat cake.

Who do you think you are, anyway? Jo Van Fleet?

You think your life is like Pirandello, but it's really like O'Neill.

A few dance lessons with James Waring and who knows? Maybe something will happen.

That's not a run in your stocking, it's a hand on your leg.

I realize you've lived in France, but that doesn't mean you know EVERYTHING!

You should wear white more often--it becomes you.

The next person to speak to you will have a very intriguing proposal to make.

A lot of people in this room wish they were you.

Have you been to Mike Goldberg's show? Al Leslie's? Lee Krasner's?

At times, your disinterestedness may seem insincere, to strangers.

Now that the election's over, what are you going to do with yourself?

You are a prisoner in a croissant factory and you love it.

You eat meat. Why do you eat meat?

Beyond the horizon there is a vale of gloom.

You too could be Premier of France, if only . . . if only. . .

--Frank O'Hara

What makes this poem work for me is its formal constraint and innovation: the poem captures the tone, syntax, and declarative rhetoric ("You will," "You are," "You have," and so on) that you find in fortune cookies and replaces the vague/ abstract adjectives and nouns of fortune cookies ("love," "wealth," "happiness," and so on) with specific people, places, and things.

The deflations give the poem a humorous tone: not simply fortune ("you will meet an x, y, z person") but also misfortune ("you will not say hello"). And these are sassy cookies that ask tough questions: not "You will find out who you are" but "Who do you think you are, anyway?"

Try writing a poem using whatever fortune you opened at yesterday's lunch-class as the first line of your poem, or turn the fortune upside down: not "you are an ambitious person" but "you are not an ambitious person" or "you are an ambitious person when . . ." Or misread your fortune: "you are an amphibious person" or "you are an ambiguous person." Or replace the pronouns: "we are an ambitious people." Or turn fortune into a question: "Are you an ambitious person?" Talk to the talking cookie.

Bon appetit!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009


The "I remember" poem was by far one of the most interesting poems to write and prepare for. Brainard’s book was an interesting read as well as very delightful at how honest it was, sometimes to the point of too honest. When i originally started to write my poem it was going to be about my grandmother that passed away. I finished the entire poem and when i read through it I decided that it was too emotional and there was no way I could discuss something like that in class. So I wrote a different poem and focused on everything I could remember from when I was ten, because for me that was one of those ages that was fun, full of childhood memories, yet an age where you learn a lot of new things. My only diffculty with writing the first and second version of my poems where knowing how much info to put in it and when to draw the line. Otherwise i truely enjoyed going back and sorting through all my memories.

(The site was down starting around 8pm and it kept giving me an error when i tried to post. I have been trying literally every ten minutes since then and this is the first time it actually went though, I have no idea why and this has never happened to me before. I apologize for the lateness I understand if I get no cerdit I'm just upset that it happened like this. )

I remember poem

When I was thinking about the I Remember poem, the one person I have the most memories with is my older brother so I wrote the poem about our memories together. We have been through good and bad memories, I tried to focus on the good ones, mainly because the good ones completely outweigh the bad ones. However, after reading it and thinking about it I am thinking about adding some negative memories in the revision just because every sibling duo has been through something bad together or had a fight. For example, I remember one time when me and my brother were playing he fell and really hurt his neck, he recovered fine and is perfectly fine now. But being that young and that scared that something bad had happened to your best friend/brother is another side of our relationship I would like to show in the poem. I enjoyed writing this poem this most out of all the assignments because these are memories that I probably would have not thought up ever again if I did not have this exercise and it was really a delight to smile thinking about growing up. It was had to end the poem because we are still growing up together so everyday we make memories and I had twenty years to think about. So I tried to stay in a younger age, but this is definitly a project I would like to add more on to as I get older and we grow up more and go through more together. This poem truly was a pleasure to write. I found myself smiling a lot through out writing it.

I Remember

The "I Remember" poem was not my favorite to write but was without a doubt the most thought provoking and therapeutic of the group of poems that we wrote. When I write, especially creative work, I look back at my past and invoke a lot of that emotion into my work but rarely do I ever write about my past. Going about this took a lot of emotional and physical energy out of myself. After reading the book "I Remember" I enjoyed a good amount of the book because it was very personal and you could relate his stories and experiences to your owns. With this personal touch I figured it was about time I write about my childhood and my experiences. In my second draft I would like to add more detail and thought into my poem.

"I remember"

Writing my “I remember” poem was an extremely rewarding experience. I was initially inspired to write my poem based on the book we had to read. At first, I was intimidated by the fact that the book was over 200+ pages of every sentence beginning with “I remember”. I could not imagine even reading let alone writing a poem of this nature. That was until I began reading the book. I absolutely loved how raw and fearless the book was. We had a true look into the author’s past, fears, dreams, thoughts and practically every raw emotion a person can feel. When I began writing my poem, the memories literally poured out. I had such a good time reminiscing. Some of my memories were as clear as day and enjoyable; others were very hard to write on paper because of the subject matter. I did not choose to focus on one particular subject rather I started from one of my most vivid memories and let my thoughts flow from there. After I had written the entire poem to completion I felt a sense of calm. It was somewhat therapeutic to write such a poem and I plan on continuing to compose poems just like this one for the rest of my life.

Poetics 4

When writing my “I Remember” poem, I decided to use my best friend Selene as the subject. She was killed in mid-October, and since she was someone who I was very close with, I thought that reflecting on our relationship and the things I remember the most about her would be the best thing to use when writing the poem. Brainard’s book was helpful to me writing my poem because even though the events he remembered throughout his life were not in chronological order, they were events that stuck with him, and impacted him in so many ways. This encouraged me to freely write about all the things I remembered about Selene, and why she was so important to me. This poem was different for me than the others written throughout the semester because it seemed more personal. Not only was it something heartfelt, but they were all experiences and memories that I will forever cherish. This poem helped me in some ways with my healing process, and also to further recognize how special she was to me and how blessed I am to have these memories with her. The only difficulty I had in writing my “I Remember” poem was knowing when and where to stop. There were so many things that I wanted to include, but I restricted myself because I didn’t want to impose too much on my classmates. This was my favorite poem by far to write.

Poetics 4

Poetics 4
This was a very interesting poem to write. I enjoyed Brainard’s book immensely. Despite the monotony each line seems new and fresh and there is something to be learned about the way Brainard writes in such a succinct, matter of fact style. That being said, I took from Brainard’s style while writing my own poem and it definitely helped me formulate my memories in a particular way. This was very different from writing other poems because it followed a very specific formula. There was much less creative freedom as far as word choice and style. While this might sometimes be seen as a bad thing, I took to mean that less emphasis was to be put on creative wording, and more emphasis was to be placed on the memories and the ideas themselves. I was forced to dig deeper than usual, and I learned a great deal from my poem. I learned the power of reflection and the power of sitting down and writing down where your memory takes you. It can be a very emotional experience ranging from tears to laughter but ultimately I think it is a very beneficial experience. As far as memory goes, I’ve learned that it is unpredictable. There is no controlling it. Synapses fire whenever they feel like it. In order to write an “I remember” poem about a clearly defined topic you have to really buckle down and focus on all the memories surrounding a particular person, place, or thing and that can be very difficult. When I was writing this poem, I think that the most important discovery I made was about myself. The topic I chose was something that is very difficult to talk about for me. Through this poem however, I was able to channel those emotions, harness those emotions and write a poem that I believe was very powerful. I also learned that, "I remember" poems are very much written for the authors as opposed to the readers. They are a sort of auto biography or a form of psychotherapy to help deal with problems that are otherwise difficult to talk about. I would highly recommend writing an I remember poem to any new poet!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Divorce and Change- "I Remember" Poetics

Writing the "I Remember" poem was quite an experience for me. I chose to write about my experiences surrounding my parents divorce and my father's struggles with alcoholism. I have never really shared my feelings or thoughts about their divorce with anyone, let alone a class of strangers. This poem was sort of a break through for me because for the first time I understood the power of poetry. Reading my poem evoked real emotions in me and breaking down in class was surprising because I am normally excellent at controlling my feelings or keeping them inside. Poetry was a foreign thing to me at the beginning of this class and while I tried hard to evoke emotions in my other poems this "I Remember" poem was my favorite to write. I have never used writing as a way to express myself or anything like that, which is quite obvious because my grammar is not up to par, but this poem taught me that it can be healing. I felt a calm after writing and re-reading my poem I have never experienced before. I plan on keeping this poem as sort of a work in progress for a long time to help me move on from my past experience with my parents divorce.

Poetics 4

In writing my "I remember" poem, I experienced great discomfort. More than that, I actually became quite depressed and lonesome (and very insecure; more introverted too). I found it very difficult to write. I am stuck on a certain kind of style, which lacks the kind of honesty that I really am looking for, in that it (my style) is often nondescript, using lots of mysterious word play and "confident" rhetoric, and involves umbrellas of overarching top/down processing and psychology interests of mine. It (my "style") often lacks imagery, and comes off "text-bookey and intellectual, which is good," (says a friend of mine who is a very talented poetry graduate), "but could use a specific and emotional dimension to it". I tried very hard. But, although I went through a very real and very growing pained experience in doing the poem, I am not entirely so sure that my poem is really all that good (though I have grown to like it more and more as time goes on). However my poem, perhaps, has a certain kind of insecurity about it that alludes to its own fault and lackings; which maybe makes it "clever"(?). Perhaps I have not liked it in part because it is hard for me to see my self so flawed and troubled. I had a bit of a hard time with having to write "I remember" over and over again, but I figured that I should make "lemonade with lemons" so to speak (or at least try). Writing this poem forced me to go back in time to places that I have been so desperately trying to escape from, including (but not limited to) the kind of person that I used to be, and perhaps still am "deep" down. And, another thing (p.s.); for whatever "weird" reason, I have developed the conception that perhaps a great poem is one that is made through an authentic and genuine process and experience of which its result may not even be of importance at all(?). (This poem left me a nervous wreck  in shambles).

Poetics 4

Writing the "I Remember" poem wasn't difficult for me, because I am usually—subconsciously—reflecting everyday about the past. The in class discussion about Joe Brainard's "I Remember" inspired me, but I knew that I wanted to focus on one specific topic--unlike Brainard's mini biography. I decided to write about my memory of Sunday dinners because they have influenced who I am today, which is kind of pathetic considering my brothers and sister probably never think about Sunday dinners. Although this is a sensitive subject for me, the poem was easy to write. I still have a lot to reflect on, and learn from this childhood experience.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Poetics 4

For my I remember poem, I knew initially that I wanted it to focus on my relationship with my father due to the fact because of odd dynamics of my fathers relationship with me. At first I simply just sat at my desk, typing up different particular memories i have with my father, but I noticed at first that I seemed to be writing with a muzzle. By that I mean, I seemed to be holding myself back. I typed and typed and deleted until I felt like the emotions I was writing about were vivid and clear. Then I unhappily finished. I was frustrated with the fact that even though the emotion was well conveyed, I had a hard time with grasping details mostly because I was being so overwhelmed by the emotion in which felt at typing it. To be honest the poem was left unfinished because I began to be to bitter and needed to clear my head. Editing my poem will be a bitter sweet moment, because though I am looking forward to really grasping the details I am not looking forward to the bitterness in which I will feel editing it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Poetics 4

Joe Brainard’s book was helpful as a model for both the format and topics I included in my “I Remember” poem. This poem allowed for personal reflection to be used as inspiration, which was more difficult for me to do than in the previous poems about strictly objects or single events. I learned that certain smells, and certain memories of objects are linked and can take you from one memory to the next. The relationship between these memories may not be apparent to the reader, but I think the success of the writer depends on how well the memories are arranged to allow the memories to flow easily on the page. The connections may be obvious, or not so obvious. I appreciate the idea that no memory is insignificant. This encouraged me to write in a stream of thought, where each memory was just as important as the last. I found it difficult to use Joe Brainard’s poem as a model as well because his book/poem is lengthy, but complete. I struggled with finding a place to close the poem for the sake of the assignment.

Poetics 5

The "I Remember" poem was both easy and difficult to write. Coming up with memories wasn't too difficult. Once I sat down and started to think about things of the past, memories just poured out. The complication of writing this poem was that I continued to censor my thoughts. I typed out memories and then decided I didn't want to share them. I considered writing about memories of my grandfather who passed away but, I didn't want to write an entire poem about that and share the sensitive memories. Another theme I considered was memories that involved alcohol and drunkeness. That seemed too silly. Also, I am not the type of person who shares my emotions and feelings. I tend to keep things to myself. The result of my personal censorship left me with a "remember" poem that was all over the place. There are memories linked to others and there also memories that are just completely random and lack a central theme. I thought that could be acceptable but, a lack of a central theme tended to be the general criticsm. Brainer's book didn't really help in my process of writing, it just provided an insight as to how detailed and how much are thoughts could vary.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

I Remember

This was by far the most complex poem topic to deal with. Dealing with memories can be wonderful and nostalgic, but it can be painful and haunting. I experience the latter. Revisiting topics in one's past cannot always be public, at least until the writer is comfortable. I don't believe it is a mater of maturity, but of time. Remembering times in our lives that make us uncomfortable, or angry, and reflecting on that is what makes us grow into well rounded people. A poem may not be the best way to reflect or grow as a person for all, but for me, I think it may be a start.

Poetics 4

Reading Brainard book was a great springboard for writing the "I Remember" poem. I liked his scattered approach, simply following his memories. However, I need structure and organization when writing a piece. I need to be able to look back and know where I cam from, how I got there, and where I ended. I admired Brainard for his free-flow abilities, but I wanted to put my own spin/ style to the piece. Therefore, I wrote about one particular memory. One thing that I didn't like about Brainard book is that there was no rhythm to his writing. I wanted to have some kind of rhythm in my piece. After I chose the memory I wanted to write about, I realized that there was a particular part of that memory that keep resurfacing. I wrote a line on that reoccurring memory and used it as a refrain. I let it reoccur in the poem like it does in my mind. I also that in recalling the memory of that event, the thoughts didn't come to me in sequential order. Instead they came to me schizophrenically- just all over the place and out of nowhere. In my poem, however, I organized them in consecutive order. This, I feel, made it easier for the reader to follow.
The hardest thing in writing this piece was knowing that I was going to be sharing my memory with others. I enjoyed this writing exercise. I think I'll keep this up! :)

Poetics 4

The "I Remember" poem was the most introspective poem for me by far. It allowed me to explore the past as well as the connections past events triggered in my mind. It was interesting to see what my mind came up with. Though some of the topics I discussed were obvious memories of Christmas to me, others just came up as I thought from one event to the next. The connection between certain written items seemed to not exist and be random but they are in reality what memory connections produced. The previous poems did not have the same transfer of mind and memories to paper. The structure of this poem was also different and offered a more conversational style of writing as opposed to the other poems. The use of "I Remember" in many lines was difficult to cope with and still have an interesting piece of writing. However, it also offered an easy way to flow through the outpouring of memory that may have seemed disconnected at times. It was the constant. Another difficulty was using language that would keep the poem interesting. The repetition of "I Remember" and openness of ideas made this facet of the writing critical. Brainard's work contributed to this poem greatest in the formatting and comfort with writing ideas that may seem entirely disconnected. His work was a great example of how to comfortably represent your memories on paper. This was a new style I had no previous familiarity with before and enjoyed to learn and to write.

Monday, November 16, 2009


As faculty advisor for PAW (Promoters of Animal Welfare), Temple's student organization devoted to promoting animal welfare, I'd like to invite everyone in 2196 to PAW's 2009 Vegan Thanksgiving. Details below.

Click here for a copy of the November PAW newsletter.

Hope to see some of you there.


Join us on November 18th at 5:15 p.m., Student Center, Room 207, to celebrate PAW’s second annual celebration of Vegan Thanksgiving!

Every November, turkeys are slaughtered in increased quantities to feed America’s tradition of having the bird on the Thanksgiving feast table. Last year, PAW took a stand against the slaughter of holiday turkeys by hosting a Potluck Vegan Thanksgiving Celebration and adopting a turkey from Farm Sanctuary. This year, we will continue the tradition and invite everyone—you don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to come! Last year, we had cornbread, pumpkin pie, cranberry sauce, homemade stuffing, mashed potatoes, and yes—tofurkey with gravy!

The celebration is a potluck and is only successful if everyone pitches it! We request that PAW members bring a vegan dish, a drink, plates, cups, etc. Those who are not members of PAW are not required to bring anything, but are always welcome!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Poetics 3

For my walk poem, I took a stroll through my old neighborhood. It's been a long time since I walked through the neighborhood from my friends house to mine, and its been even longer since I took the time to take in what's around me on such a familiar walk. I walked down the sidewalk with my Blackberry in hand. As I walked, I typed into my phone all that caught my attention. Whatever distracted my eyes or whatever sound I heard, I made a note of. I also included any type of feeling or memory that was triggered by the walk. After I reached my destination, I revised what I had taken note of. I tried my best to write the poem as I walked, however, anywhere I thought I needed a better selection of word choice or just better organization, I made the appropriate corrections. I really enjoyed writing the poem. At first I thought the poem would be difficult and I wasn't sure how to write it. However, after making the desicion to write the poem by walking through my old neighborhood, the poem and the style of writing it just came naturally.

Monday, November 9, 2009


An “Image” is that which presents an intellectual and emotional complex in an instant of time. I use the term “complex” rather in the technical sense employed by the newer psychologists, such as Hart, though we might not agree absolutely in our application.

It is the presentation of such a “complex” instantaneously which gives that sense of sudden liberation; that sense of freedom from time limits and space limits; that sense of sudden growth, which we experience in the presence of the greatest works of art.

It is better to present one Image in a lifetime than to produce voluminous works.

All this, however, some may consider open to debate. The immediate necessity is to tabulate A LIST OF DON’TS for those beginning to write verses. But I can not put all of them into Mosaic negative.

To begin with, consider the three rules recorded by Mr. Flint, not as dogma—never consider anything as dogma—but as the result of long contemplation, which, even if it is some one else’s contemplation, may be worth consideration.

Pay no attention to the criticism of men who have never themselves written a notable work. Consider the discrepancies between the actual writing of the Greek poets and dramatists, and the theories of the Graeco-Roman grammarians, concocted to explain their metres.


Use no superfluous word, no adjective, which does not reveal something.

Don’t use such an expression as “dim lands of peace.” It dulls the image. It mixes an abstraction with the concrete. It comes from the writer’s not realizing that the natural object is always the adequate symbol.

Go in fear of abstractions. Don’t retell in mediocre verse what has already been done in good prose. Don’t think any intelligent person is going to be deceived when you try to shirk all the difficulties of the unspeakably difficult art of good prose by chopping your composition into line lengths.

What the expert is tired of today the public will be tired of tomorrow.

Don’t imagine that the art of poetry is any simpler than the art of music, or that you can please the expert before you have spent at least as much effort on the art of verse as the average piano teacher spends on the art of music.

Be influenced by as many great artists as you can, but have the decency either to acknowledge the debt outright, or to try to conceal it.

Don’t allow “influence” to mean merely that you mop up the particular decorative vocabulary of some one or two poets whom you happen to admire. A Turkish war correspondent was recently caught red-handed babbling in his dispatches of “dove-gray” hills, or else it was “pearl-pale,” I can not remember.
Use either no ornament or good ornament.

Rhythm and Rhyme

Let the candidate fill his mind with the finest cadences he can discover, preferably in a foreign language so that the meaning of the words may be less likely to divert his attention from the movement; e.g., Saxon charms, Hebridean Folk Songs, the verse of Dante, and the lyrics of Shakespeare—if he can dissociate the vocabulary from the cadence. Let him dissect the lyrics of Goethe coldly into their component sound values, syllables long and short, stressed and unstressed, into vowels and consonants.

It is not necessary that a poem should rely on its music, but if it does rely on its music that music must be such as will delight the expert.

Let the neophyte know assonance and alliteration, rhyme immediate and delayed, simple and polyphonic, as a musician would expect to know harmony and counter-point and all the minutiae of his craft. No time is too great to give to these matters or to any one of them, even if the artist seldom have need of them.

Don’t imagine that a thing will “go” in verse just because it’s too dull to go in prose.

Don’t be “viewy”—leave that to the writers of pretty little philosophic essays. Don’t be descriptive; remember that the painter can describe a landscape much better than you can, and that he has to know a deal more about it.

When Shakespeare talks of the “Dawn in russet mantle clad” he presents something which the painter does not present. There is in this line of his nothing that one can call description; he presents.

Consider the way of the scientists rather than the way of an advertising agent for a new soap.

The scientist does not expect to be acclaimed as a great scientist until he has discovered something. He begins by learning what has been discovered already. He goes from that point onward. He does not bank on being a charming fellow personally. He does not expect his friends to applaud the results of his freshman class work. Freshmen in poetry are unfortunately not confined to a definite and recognizable class room. They are “all over the shop.” Is it any wonder “the public is indifferent to poetry?”

Don’t chop your stuff into separate iambs. Don’t make each line stop dead at the end, and then begin every next line with a heave. Let the beginning of the next line catch the rise of the rhythm wave, unless you want a definite longish pause.

In short, behave as a musician, a good musician, when dealing with that phase of your art which has exact parallels in music. The same laws govern, and you are bound by no others.

Naturally, your rhythmic structure should not destroy the shape of your words, or their natural sound, or their meaning. It is improbable that, at the start, you will be able to get a rhythm-structure strong enough to affect them very much, though you may fall a victim to all sorts of false stopping due to line ends and caesurae.

The musician can rely on pitch and the volume of the orchestra. You can not. The term harmony is misapplied to poetry; it refers to simultaneous sounds of different pitch. There is, however, in the best verse a sort of residue of sound which remains in the ear of the hearer and acts more or less as an organ-base. A rhyme must have in it some slight element of surprise if it is to give pleasure; it need not be bizarre or curious, but it must be well used if used at all.

Vide further Vildrac and Duhamel’s notes on rhyme in “Technique Poetique.”

That part of your poetry which strikes upon the imaginative eye of the reader will lose nothing by translation into a foreign tongue; that which appeals to the ear can reach only those who take it in the original.

Consider the definiteness of Dante’s presentation, as compared with Milton’s rhetoric. Read as much of Wordsworth as does not seem too unutterably dull.

If you want the gist of the matter go to Sappho, Catullus, Villon, Heine when he is in the vein, Gautier when he is not too frigid; or, if you have not the tongues, seek out the leisurely Chaucer. Good prose will do you no harm, and there is good discipline to be had by trying to write it.

Translation is likewise good training, if you find that your original matter “wobbles” when you try to rewrite it. The meaning of the poem to be translated can not “wobble.”

If you are using a symmetrical form, don’t put in what you want to say and then fill up the remaining vacuums with slush.

Don’t mess up the perception of one sense by trying to define it in terms of another. This is usually only the result of being too lazy to find the exact word. To this clause there are possibly exceptions.

The first three simple proscriptions* will throw out nine-tenths of all the bad poetry now accepted as standard and classic; and will prevent you from many a crime of production. “...Mais d’abord il faut etre un poete,” as MM. Duhamel and Vildrac have said at the end of their little book, “Notes sur la Technique Poetique”; but in an American one takes that at least for granted, otherwise why does one get born upon that august continent!

*Noted by Mr. Flint.


I've reposted below some of my favorite passages from your walk-poem poetics. The following passages are not simply talking about the walk (where I walked, what I saw) but identifying the relationship between walking and writing a walk poem: strategies of perception, including focusing on body movement; using a notebook; focusing not only on vision but also scent, sound, and so on; drawing on "found language" on shirts and signs.


Instead of describing what was around me, I described movement by describing my pace.

I chose to use small sentences and the word "me" a lot in my poem because I wanted to leave room for thought because that is what I was doing on my walk and I was concentrating on how the world was around "me".

I took advice from the assignment sheet and brought a notebook with me. On the way I jotted down things that I saw, or phrases that popped into my head when I looked at something. This was incredibly helpful when I sat down because it gave me many different ideas that I could start with.

My only challenge when writing this poem was that it took a lot of effort to keep focused on writing about one . . . my many thoughts throughout the walk.

It was difficult for me to describe fall without using clichés of fall. I eventually closed my eyes, and this helped me focus only on sound, touch and hearing.

I carried a notebook with me on the walk, and jotted down the things I saw that either reminded me of her or the things that were in the “color of the day”- pink, of course.

I took several pictures that later helped me write the poem as well. A picture in particular of another team’s shirt, worn by a woman walking in front of me, had on it a list of all the words that were inspiring to me during the walk, including “bravery, heroism, and healing”.

I made note of signs along the route of the walk that gave statistics about the number of women suffering with breast cancer today and information on prevention.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Poetics 3

I decided to take a walk around an area of North Philly that I volunteer in. It was a rainy day, and I love the sound of rain. It was a short walk, about 8 blocks. It wasn't quite. It was just still. When I turned off of the main street onto smaller block in that neighborhood. I walked by a woman who was standing in the rain. She was so high it seemed like she didn't even know it was raining. She stood in front of an abandoned house swaying back and forth, in a trance-like state. So, I took note. Further down there was a memorial that I've seen time and time again. The police keep throwing the teddy bears and candles away, and people keep putting teddy bears, candles, t-shirts back on the same corner. I can respect that. Too bad the cops can't. If this is the community's outlet to remember someone, who are the cops to take it away? I turned onto this abandoned block. It's completely abandoned with the exception of one home. The houses are burnt out or falling down. One of the doors was blowing back and forth and squeaking on the hinges. I saw all kinds of household belongings in the rumble. There were also a significant amount of sneakers hanging from the wire, about fifteen pairs or all sizes. On to another block where suddenly sirens were blaring and red and blue lights were reflecting off of the rain. The police jumped out grabbing people, unnecessarily aggressive. Some people went into their houses to shut themselves away from the situation. Other came out, or hung out of windows. It was just a sad situation and the women were asking "What is this for? What did I do?" with no response from the police (of course). The cops sped away, and left the block in shock and silence.

I loved writing the poem. I think I'll do it more often. I was relaxing to go for a walk and quitely observe. I think it was different from the ekphrastic poem because it forced us to get out and be a part of a physical environment. The ekphrastic poem allowed us to look a a piece of art and create an environment with ideas and perceptions that could be controlled.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Poetics 3

I have walked very often in Korea because I did not have a car at that time. However, now I rarely walk. In America, I walk only for two cases. First, I walk at the campus, but I always busy at the school. Moreover, my backpack is so heavy that I am too tired to think, observe, or feel something while I am walking. Second, I take a walk with my dogs. The walking with a dog could be a good and fun subject for a walk poem if the owner could control the dog. My dogs are uncontrollable. One of the dogs always tries to run away. Another one only wants to stay on one spot. She keeps sitting down.
The walking was the most difficult part to write a walk poem. However, I got a chance to walk soon. One night, I was drinking some beer at a bar, and suddenly, I thought it could be a good time to walk. I thought I could feel some special things because I was drunk. I walked short distance, but I could get many things in my mind.
When I wrote the object poem and the ekpharastic poem, I focused only the object and the artwork. However, while I was walking, my focus was moving. I felt old weather. I saw the streetlights, and my shadow. I heard my footsteps and the voice of a stranger. Finally, I met a tree and the sky. I wrote all of them. Actually, my emotion was changing followed the things I felt, saw, or heard. Also, there were many worldly thoughts in my mind. However, I tried to tie up my mind with one emotion when I wrote the actual poem. I would like to write main feeling and thinking that I got while I was walking. If I wrote all of the feelings and thoughts, my poet could be a book.

poetic- walk poem

For my walk poem I walked through the cemetary that is across the street from my parents house. This was a very interesting experience because I always looked at it from across the street and thought about walking throught it. I enjoyed the walk poem more than any of the prior poems we have done in class. While I was walking through the cemetary the time seemed to just fly by. I began my walk around one and before I knew it the lady was asking if I would be down soon so she could lock the gates. I just walked up and down the rows and read the tombstones and sat with some of them. It was interesting to question about their lives. While doing the walk poem I felt like I was turning it into an object poem because I would begin to describe the tombstones, but when I realized I tried to break away from that.

Poetics 3

Poetics 3 - Brian Boyle

For my walk poem, I walked from my house on 17th and Arlington to Temple’s Tech Center on 12th and Montgomery. I have walked this route many times and that was part of the reason why I chose it. I wanted to find something deeper in the same walk I take everyday. I wanted to take notice of the things that I usually pass by without another thought.

I took advice from the assignment sheet and brought a notebook with me. On the way I jotted down things that I saw, or phrases that popped into my head when I looked at something. This was incredibly helpful when I sat down because it gave me many different ideas that I could start with. I settled on a pair of shoes that hung from the telephone wires. The more I thought about the shoes however, the more I realized that they weren’t just some inanimate objects. The shoes had history. They were on a pair of feet once that went places, and did things, only to reach their final resting place on the telephone wires.

This was very different from writing an ekphrastic poem because it is left up to the writer to create an original piece of art. The walk poem was more comparable to an object poem. Instead of focusing on just one object however, I took notice and focused on many objects and wove them all into a single story. It was a lot of fun and allows the writer to exercise a great deal of creative freedom.

I would absolutely recommend that a younger poet try his or her hand at a walk poem. It helps you to take notice and truly appreciate your surroundings while exercising your creativity.


Freckled sidewalks

beneath the shoes

that hang from wires.

They knew feet once.

Feet that leapt over left over puddles

as the half moon rippled in its reflection.

And oh the light!

Not by day but by night.

Like mini suns,

iridescent fluorescents

left no shadows,

no place unexplored.

Still the feet searched on…

Outside perpetual day and into the night

until the rain wrinkled their toes.

Where the streets were all one way,

the cats malnourished, strays,

and everything was in its right place.

Here, there was no stopping anytime,

no left turn,

no right way.

So the feet walked back.

Back through the junkyard of lights,

over the left over puddles,

and up the one way street.

Shoeless now the feet grew cold, colder, coldest.

And as the feet walked away,

the shoes told stories of past battles won and lost.

Urban obelisk.

Walk Poem Poetics

I chose to write my walk poem after taking a run, which turned into a walk, through the canal path in Manayunk. I've ran that path a million times but something about that fall day enlightened me. That sounds so cliché but I never really took the time before to slow down and take in all my surroundings like I did that day. It was the perfect fall day in my opinion. The air was crisp and cool. The trees had finally started to change to bright colors of orange and red and some began to fall. The path is very secluded at the end farthest from the city and I was alone for a while. As I walked towards the city more people are on the path and it sort of woke me up a little because now I was not only looking at my quiet surroundings but the people doing athletic activities around me, like biking and running. The final leg of my walk was off the path and on to Main Street to walk to my house. This is when the world got loud again and I saw city life in action. I chose to use small sentences and the word "me" a lot in my poem because I wanted to leave room for thought because that is what I was doing on my walk and I was concentrating on how the world was around "me".

Poetics 3

When thinking about the content of my walk poem, I thought of writing about a walk in the rain. There was rain in the forecast so this was going to be able to be possible. Walking to class with a friend on the day before it was scheduled to rain, my friend turned and told me that I was walking really slow. Later that day while walking, I realized that everyone around me was passing me along the way. This gave me the idea to write a walking poem while walking at my normal speed. My speed was such a contrast to those around me that I thought it would be good content for my poem. I thought of the saying "slowly going nowhere" and wanted it to be the focus of my poem because as walking. Even though I was physically walking, it seemed as if I was getting nowhere with everyone passing by. The process was a lot different for me for this poem because before I was physically looking at something and describing it, or using it as inspiration for my poem. With the walking poem, I wasn't describing anything physical. Instead of describing what was around me, I described movement by describing my pace. I really enjoyed this poem because I wrote about me personally instead of something in front of me.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Poetics 3

Poetics 3
This assignment was very interesting to say the least. So far, although I am not completely thrilled with the outcome of my first draft of my walk poem, I most enjoyed experiencing the process of the “walk” poem over all the other assignments thus far. I know that every single time I go for a walk, especially by myself, thoughts race through my head. I always think about my surroundings, contemplate how I am feeling and what is going on in my life. I especially enjoy walking at dusk. For my walk poem, I just recently got a puppy. This is the first dog that is all my own and my own responsibility and I thought that for my walk poem nothing would be better than taking Bear for his very first walk. Because dusk is my favorite time, I choose a gorgeous, serene night and enjoyed strolling around my neighborhood with my new pup. At first, all I could focus on was Bear’s well-being, but after some time I just let him lead the way. As multiple cars passed, I thought it was very special that everyone on the outside had no idea what a special moment this was and that this was Bear and I’s very first walk together. I was most inspired by the ignorance of my surroundings. Although it was clear that I was a girl walking a dog, no one truly knew how I felt and I was able to express that in my walk poem. My only challenge when writing this poem was that it took a lot of effort to keep focused on writing about one mf my many thoughts throughout the walk.

Poetics 3

Since fall is my favorite season I chose to walk around my hometown, Jenkintown. I knew that I would see more trees, and overall get a better view of fall, than if I were to walk around North Philadelphia. While I was walking around Jenkintown I carried a notebook with me and wrote down colors I saw, things I smelled and heard, and familiar places that reminded me of my childhood. Although Jenkintown is only 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia, it had a completely different smell, that’s what I noticed most, the smell. It was difficult for me to describe fall without using clichés of fall. I eventually closed my eyes, and this helped me focus only on sound, touch and hearing. By doing this process it let me create my own phrases and get rid of any clichés. I enjoyed writing this poem more than the previous poems, because I am passionate about Jenkintown and the season of fall.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Poetics 3

For my walk poem, I walked around the city of Philadelphia. I walked from my home in center city to west Philadelphia and then home again. When in west Philadelphia, I came across two rappers who were battling "so to speak." From the look of things, it appeared that the two were freestyling as well as incorporating itty bitty little tid bits of written components. By the end of their verbal display of wits, tongues and cheeks, and poli/philosophical debates, not only had the crowd that had gathered spoken, but the rappers had too; it was a draw. They were both up to par. They shook hands, reciprocated respect for one-an-other, and then parted ways. It was clear that although these two rappers (R.A.P.= Rhythm And Poetry) were, in fact two different people with different eyes that spawned different view points, that they were both two pees in a pod upon the same page. Their preliminary arguing that had entertained us all, was UTTERLY ("pun intended") irrelevant to the peace that they had acquired with one another that had preceded that tussle.
For many of my other poems, not only in this poetry class, I have taken a more mysterious and riddle-esque approach. This one was more narrative and clear, I believe, contrasted with many of my other pieces. Daniel and I had spoken about this "mystery style" in the past, and he had told me (and i agreed) that, although the "style" is useful, it is always nice to push one's comfort zones, boundaries, and to try new things. Thus, this walk poem, my most recent piece, was a bit different from my poems of the past. One could say that it is still a bit "out there" perhaps, however that "out there-ness" is also rooted in a more concrete narrative that I had perceived during my walk out there in west Philly. However, and I will barely mention this a all and with brevity, it is my belief as of now that often times people can be a bit black and white when it comes to issues of "deep/pretentious/artsy-fartsy vs. not." (?)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Poetics 3

The walk poem I wrote is named after Ellyn, a close family member who passed away this September after a brief battle with breast cancer and after losing her husband 7 weeks prior. After she was diagnosed in May, we made a team called the “Sole Mates” in her honor, but we had the honor of walking last weekend in her memory. The poem was written during the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Pennsauken, NJ. I walked with the many friends that joined my team as well as my mother and father. My mother has been breast cancer survivor since 2007. We fundraised over $2,000 to donate the day of the walk by selling homemade goodies, crafts, bracelets and other “pink ribbon” items. The day of the walk was a beautiful autumn day, which was Ellyn’s favorite time of year. I carried a notebook with me on the walk, and jotted down the things I saw that either reminded me of her or the things that were in the “color of the day”- pink, of course. I was astonished to see all things pink that the men, women, and children who participated in the walk found to wear. My team had made team t-shirts and had pink boas amongst other pink things. I took several pictures that later helped me write the poem as well. A picture in particular of another team’s shirt, worn by a woman walking in front of me, had on it a list of all the words that were inspiring to me during the walk, including “bravery, heroism, and healing”. Another team shirt had a picture of Rosie the Riveter decked out in all pink ribbons and as I looked at the shirt as the person wearing it posed for a team picture, they shouted, “We can do it”. I made note of signs along the route of the walk that gave statistics about the number of women suffering with breast cancer today and information on prevention. The walk poem was easier to write than both the object and ekphrastic poems as personal feelings were allowed to make their way into the poem. Establishing a subject for the poem was easy as well, as the “walk” took place shortly before this poem was due.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


During our discussions of ekphrasis, Maria asked an intriguing question: What's the difference between intertextuality and allusion? There's no one answer to this question, and depending on who you ask, you'll get a different answer. But this doesn't mean that there haven't been worthwhile explorations of intertextuality, allusion, and distinctions between the two.
Here are some resources:

Julia Kristeva's Desire in Language (JK credited with coining "intertextuality")
This webpage is okay for various ways in which the two terms have been defined, as well as for providing examples in visual texts
William Irwin, "What is an Allusion?"
William Irwin, "Against Intertextuality"
A good introduction to intertextuality (and example) on YouTube here


Ariana mentioned the beautiful lyricism of Neruda's poetry, which of course is lost (or at best changed) in translation, so I thought I'd post the original here. Note for example the off-rhyme/eye-rhyme between "sombra" and "hombre" in the third stanza. There is sense in sound--intelligence and feeling in sound--and it's worth looking into various translations of poems to see how each translator handles the sound of the original.
If you don't have Spanish, you can listen to various readings of "Walking Around"--some better than others--on YouTube.

Walking Around

Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.
Sucede que entro en las sastrerías y en los cines
marchito, impenetrable, como un cisne de fieltro
navegando en un agua de origen y ceniza.

El olor de las peluquerías me hace llorar a gritos.
Sólo quiero un descanso de piedras o de lana,
sólo quiero no ver establecimientos ni jardines,
ni mercaderías, ni anteojos, ni ascensores.

Sucede que me canso de mis pies y mis uñas
y mi pelo y mi sombra.
Sucede que me canso de ser hombre.

Sin embargo sería delicioso
asustar a un notario con un lirio cortado
o dar muerte a una monja con un golpe de oreja.
Sería bello
ir por las calles con un cuchillo verde
y dando gritos hasta morir de frío.

No quiero seguir siendo raíz en las tinieblas,
vacilante, extendido, tiritando de sueño,
hacia abajo, en las tripas mojadas de la tierra,
absorbiendo y pensando, comiendo cada día.

No quiero para mí tantas desgracias.
No quiero continuar de raíz y de tumba,
de subterráneo solo, de bodega con muertos
ateridos, muriéndome de pena.

Por eso el día lunes arde como el petróleo
cuando me ve llegar con mi cara de cárcel,
y aúlla en su transcurso como una rueda herida,
y da pasos de sangre caliente hacia la noche.

Y me empuja a ciertos rincones, a ciertas casas húmedas,
a hospitales donde los huesos salen por la ventana,
a ciertas zapaterías con olor a vinagre,
a calles espantosas como grietas.

Hay pájaros de color de azufre y horribles intestinos
colgando de las puertas de las casas que odio,
hay dentaduras olvidadas en una cafetera,
hay espejos
que debieran haber llorado de vergüenza y espanto,
hay paraguas en todas partes, y venenos, y ombligos.

Yo paseo con calma, con ojos, con zapatos,
con furia, con olvido,
paso, cruzo oficinas y tiendas de ortopedia,
y patios donde hay ropas colgadas de un alambre:
calzoncillos, toallas y camisas que lloran
lentas lágrimas sucias.

Sunday, October 18, 2009


Here's a dog walk poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti.

Note how the speaker isn't walking but observes a dog walking and imagines its thoughts and perceptions and so forth.

("democratic dog / engaged in real / free enterprise") A politics of transportation: what is it that connects walking to democracy, as if it were somehow more egalitarian than, say, riding regal? And what about the politics of animals: a "democratic dog" as opposed to, say, an elitist cat?

For the digital music generation, it may be helpful to note that "his head cocked sideways / at streetcorners / as if he is just about to have / his picture taken / for Victor Records / listening for / His Master's Voice" refers to Nipper, the dog featured on Victor RCA records.

Although not a walk poem, James Merrill's "The Victor Dog" is also about Nipper. Click here for an annotated version of Merrill's poem.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Devon DiMatteo

Being an art major, writing an ekphrastic poem sounded like it would fun and easy because of my experiance being able to annilyze art. That was not the case. I actually had trouble writing this poem. i knew when i got the assignment that I wanted to do the "LOVE" sign because it is my favorite piece of art in Philadelphia. I knew I wanted to write a poem dealing with the "O" and why it is slated compared to the rest. The process I took to write this poem was different from the process i took to write my object poem because instead of describing an object, I was making up a story about the piece of art. When I started to write the poem, for some reason all that came to mind was rhyme. I liked having a rhyme scheme because the statue to me is a "feel good" statue and the poem I wanted to create had to do with imperfect love. About to give up for the night working on my poem, something came to me. It was short and sweet, and exactly what I was going for.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Ekphrastic 2

Never even hearing of an ekphrastic poem before right away I was intrigued as to what kind of poem it actually was. When I learned that an ekphrastic poem was a poem relating to a piece of art and for our assignment we had to choose a piece of artwork in the Philadelphia area, I immediately thought of the fresco on 17th and Montgomery. Writing this poem was somewhat difficult for me at first because I was unaware of what the artwork actually meant. I knew the story I believed the mural was telling and I wanted to make sure I got the point across in my poem. After I began to put words to my interpretation, the poem began to simply flow. After the initial hardship of the first line, my overall experience writing my first ekphrastic poem was very enjoyable. I really liked having the opportunity to critically view the mural and express my thoughts in the form of a insightful poem. I honestly think that although I never met the artist of the fresco, having the chance to truly reflect on the piece made me feel close to the painter. I believe I gave the mural words and a voice.

Poetics 2

Because I’m from Philadelphia, before I went out to any museum or studio to look at art work that moves me, I sat and thought about artwork, murals, and sculptures around the city that had already inspired me in some way. I immediately thought about the freedom sculpture that is on 16th and Race streets. As I child, when I first saw the sculpture, I thought that it was scary and very unattractive. But now, I realize the passion and beauty behind it. I revisited the sculpture and decided that when I write my poem I would focus on each stage. I felt that writing about each stage individually would be easier and more effective.
When I actually began writing the poem, I felt like I was writing an object poem. I wasn’t sure is I was completing the assignment correctly, and putting it in the right format. I decided to write down and review all of the notes I took on the sculpture and then refer to the sample poems to see how they were written. Landscape of the Fall of Icarus was the poem that gave me the most inspiration, and the idea on how to format my peom.

Poetic 2

In complete honesty the ekphrastic poem proved to me to be very difficult not because i had nothing to write about the subject but because i had so much to write. The painting "Large Bathers" made an overwhelmingly large impression on me when I visited the Philadelphia Art Museum. I sat there at odd ends with it, just staring deeply into it, attempting to figure out what it meant to me and then what the artist's intended meaning. I wrote about seventeen poems about the work, while sitting there. One about the trees, the other about the body of water, the next about the barely visible church steeple that you have to squint to see. When I left, I came home and still stared the piece going through each work I did, in an attempt to figure out which one I felt closest to. To be honest I felt distant to them all, and I ended up chosing one that I chose just because I thought i may fill the requirements the best. Now in retrospect I wish I could have spent a just a couple more days on it. Besides the frustration and the lack of space left in my notebook, I really did enjoy my experience with the poem. I felt as if it really brought sense of enlightment that weekend, and humbled me tremendously.

Poetics 2

I thought writing the object poems first was a good preparation for writing the ekphrastic poems. A lot ofthe same concepts that I used in writing the object applied to the ekphrastic one, except the difference with the ekphrastic poem, for me at least was that I put a little bit more of how i felt and how the piece of art work made me feel. I wrote about a sculpture of two hands joining together. To me it reminded me of hands that were joining together in prayer. I brought out a lot of emotions in me that I couldn't even believe. Art is very moving and this piece in particular struck something within me the second I layed my eyes on it.
I set for a good hour just examining it. I looking at every angle just letting the feeling wash over me. I think i could have done a little more decribing of the actual sculpture in my poem, which i plan to do in my revisions. But, i truly enjoyed writing this one. I think i ran into a little difficulty with exactly how much emotional aspects I can add into the poem because the first one was just a description of an object. Also was hard not to speak during the discussion group and explain ourselves. Overall, this was my favorite so far.

Poetics 2

When I began the ekphrastic poem I viewed it as a communication with the art. The artwork I chose was a new mural in the business school called, “Illumination of the Mind”. It is a huge work and unable to be seen as a whole, so I focused on the right half. I wrote first about what struck me first, the bright colors and shapes. Then I focused on the forms those shapes and colors organized themselves to represent. At one place was a girl and at another a man. I then ventured into what the painting would physically say if the characters were alive. In other words I extracted the meaning in words, as it communicated to me in visual stimuli. What worked was the thought more than the execution. The wording was tricky and the structure hard to understand. Without the work itself the poem was difficult comprehend. Though Anne Sexton’s poem “The Starry Night” was the most influential sample I had read, the poem I came up with did not reflect my preference. The clear reference to the art work and my vulnerability to it were not expressed. I approached this poem with too much of an objective poem mindset. To rework it my imagination must delve into self and relate it to the physical painting. Instead of a commentary, the poem needs to be a conversation.

Poetics 2

While I was writing my ekphrastic poem I sat in Love park and just watched the statue. I have always admired this statue and was very excited to start my poem on it. There is just something about the statue that gives off a great emotion, just looking at it reminds me of my childhood, my family, friends, etc. I believe it is the structure of the statue that says so much, because it takes a word that is a perfect feelings and shows it so imperfectly. No type of love is perfect, everybody has there ups and downs with people they love and the statue reflects that.
Because I took in emotion when I was writing and related the statue to personal relationships, The morning picture inspired me the most. This painting was just so deep and the poem matched it perfectly. It was also about a personal relationship, I really like things with a personal touch so it inspired me to bring my parents into the poem.
Writing the ekphastic poem was similar to writing the object poem because it was a process of just looking at an object and writing about it. However, my ekphrastic and object poems were different because while writing the ekphrastic poem I brought personal relationship into the work and I made it relate to me while when doing the object poem I strictly wrote about the object not including my feeling of relationship toward it.
The ekphrastic poem was a very imaginative process because instead of just looking at a work of art and describing it, it is more like telling a story where a person can put his or her own personal twist on the work. Every person may see or feel something different while looking at the same artwork, and that is what makes ekphrastic poems so interesting because reading one poem may open up someones eyes in a way they never looked at the artwork before.
Writing a poem and creating a piece of art are both similar and different. In the sense one is visual and on is a voice they differ. However both works can speak, for example while reading a poem a person may be able to picture what he or she is reading and while looking at a painting, sculpture, etc. a person may be able to create their own story behind it.

Poetry 2

The experience writing the ekphrasis poem was much more enjoyable then writing the object poem. The poetry I tend to write and that I am comfortable with writing tends to be about the world around me or how I am feeling at that particular moment. My subject for the ekphrasis poem was the LOVE park statue in Love Park. Since the statue is a large part of Philadelphia and the statue is part of a park. Instead of looking directly at the artwork itself I looked at how the artwork reacted with its environment and the environment in turn reacted to the artwork. I looked at the park as the canvas. This added a unique look I believe on the outlook of the poem. The style of ekphrasis poem is without a doubt much easier then an object poem as you can bring yourself into the experience.

Poetics 2

The King

In an unfamiliar room
of a strange country,
we are both foreigners.

He came from far away,
the country of tough wind
and hot sands

The words were written,
but I could not read them.
He was sitting in front of me,
but he did not say anything.

He lost his arms.
His waist got broken.
And his face was worn out.

However, he was pretending
to be indifferent.

I chose the statue of Ramesses II in Penn Museum because the statue gave me a deep impression. When I saw the statue at the first time, I thought why that is here not Egypt. Then, I suddenly recognized that I have kept asking the question to me since I came in America. I felt I did not belong to here, and I thought the Ramesses II does not belong here either. Therefore, I wrote about this feeling.
First of all, I observed the room that the statue in. Ramesses was the greatest king in Egypt, but the room was look shabby to him. The statue was in the middle of the big room, and people just pass by it. There is nothing to protect it.
Next, I observed the statue itself. There were the letters on the chair that the Ramesses was sitting, and there is vague explanation about that. There is a big crack on its waist. The arms were gone, and the face was worn out. I wrote about these observations.
Writing this ekpharastic poem, I focused on the connection between the statue and me. It left its country, and it is broken. I left my country, and I was wounded in my mind. I think that is the different from an object poem. I personified the statue of Ramesses as a person. Also, I could express the surroundings of the statue. Therefore, I could write more vivid poem.
However, that was just only my feeling about the statue. I wonder everybody could sympathize with me, and that is the difficult part of writing this ekpharastic poem to me.

Poetics 2

My process of ekphrastic poetry was quite the experience. In fact, I had been possessed by the throws of either real and/or imagined passion. I took liberties to allow my self to become fully engrossed IN the art piece, and consumed BY the art piece. I pondered, stared, approached the piece in a focused way, approached the piece in a willy nilly and loosy goosy sort of fashion, held consideration for communicating to the community, held ‘inconsiderate’ and selfish states of being, I described the piece detail/specificity by detail/specificity in a tight and concise manner in one sitting of late night and morning, and in another sitting reflected upon the art’s origins.

I had discovered the wonderful piece of artwork in a stranger’s trash in center city. It was in a bag. Upon first sighting, I was in love. It was lovely; a shark on a surf board, surfing the waves, backed by a gorgeous sky. I crossed out the “origin section” that I wrote for “what’s reason,” and eluded to the poem’s own peculiarity of having a crossed out section, within that very same crossed out section. Aside from merely the origins of this Sharky trashed found art, I also tapped into an almost impetuous and ‘emotional’ sensibility. I packed it full of subtext, a bit of intertextuality, and clichés/preconceived notions after thoughts; stream of consciousness styled, yet very much edited and thought out: in FACT, meditative. One part of my ‘ego’ thought of the crossed out section as inferior to the first descriptive section, another part thought of it as a separate piece, another thought of it as something extra, like a secret track on an album or a little extra ‘neato’ sort of thing. I also wanted to subversively gesture at the entire notion of trash vs. treasure, correct vs. wrong, focused vs. unfocused, serious vs. funny, adult/mature vs. childish/immature, etc. (dualities). I felt that presenting a piece that is seemingly unfinished and/or faulty in ways, would further knock down the fourth wall so to speak. I tapped into a sense of truth in fiction based upon this art piece; an art piece which is no more than a material covered with lines and points and colors in such a fashion as to form a picture that fools the mind into the belief of a shark and surf board (and so on and so forth) that is truly non-existent, some or many might say.

It might also be said that the picture also looked a bit cartoonish. I wrote of it in a serious sort of way, yet old children’s story style as well. In ways, I planned. But in other ways, simultaneously, I let go, relaxed, and let the poem flow though me; revealing itself, as if I were a vessel being spoken through or possessed.

My poem was the product of my interpretation of the sharky art piece, broken down to its lowest common denominator as to feel in the first person perspective as if I were not merely my own perspective, but the objective art’s internal subjectivity. This gave rise to a feeling of altruism and genuine care. It was truly spectacular. It is in this way that, for me, writing the ekphrastic poem was similar to the object poem.

I learned a great deal IN and THROUGH the process and productivity of the ekphrastic poem. I had a blast, honestly. At times, it was if I had been big banged.

Lecture and class discussion were very helpful, as were all of the sample poems (particularly the one by Anne Sexton about Van Gogh’s Starry Night, which struck a heavy chord in me).

Poetics 2

For the Ekphrastic poem, I decided I would walk around the Philadelphia Art Museum until something caught my attention and then wrtie about that piece. I really wanted the art to catch my attention so I purposely walked around the museum at a normal pace, just glancing at the art as I passed. When the art finally chose me, I was standing in front of Winslow Homer's "The Lifeline" in the early-American exhibit. In a gold frame against a deep-red wall, I knew I had found my poem. I took a seat in front of the painting and began to write. My style of writing involves no stop-and-think. I just write what comes to me as it comes to me. The first thing my eyes went to was the first thing I wrote. Begining with the title, I incorporated the word "lifeline" into the first stanza. From there, I became the man in the painting to give it voice. As my eyes moved, my focus changed. The toughest thing about writing this poem was finding a painting to write about. I spent more time looking around the museum then writing. The other difficulty I had was finding the right words. I wrote it the way it came to me and I didn't like some of the phrasing but I had trouble finding another way of saying it. My main goal of this poem was to give the character in the painting a voice and I think I achieved that.

Poetics 2

While walking through the museum I was feeling tired and uninspired until I saw this sculpture of a girl. Sculptures don’t usually “move” me, but this one stayed in my memory while I walked through the rest of the museum. I finally went back to the sculpture and began scribbling down my immediate emotions while examining the girl. As I was examining her I began to feel sympathetic towards the inanimate object. I began to wonder why she is covering herself—hiding her face from everyone. So, when I wrote the poem I knew that I wanted to include the question “What is she hiding from?” But I began to see myself in the sculpture so I changed the question to “What are you hiding from?” I wasn’t exactly sure where I was going with the poem, and I am still not satisfied with it. I know that I felt so much more than this while looking at the girl, but as I examined her I found myself becoming less poetic and sounding more like an art historian.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Poetics 2

The Ekphrastic Poem was my favorite so far. I really enjoyed interpreting a piece of artwork and "re-interpreting" it into words. I didn't want to merely describe it, I wanted to speak to it. Give it words, metaphor, and voice. I decided to write from the second person. Seeing as how I am the outsider looking in I wanted to tell her story from my perspective. I didn't want to speak for her. Writing and painting are very similar in my opinion. However, I think that poetry gives more leeway to the reader. It allows the reader to create their own piece of art in their minds (given enough imagery). The picture is already there with a painting. The brightness and colors, the strokes, the texture- everything is provided.

While writing the poem I learned that images work well with my imagination. I learned that I easily build stories when given images. Adding the poetry came easily. I picked a picture that I felt I could really relate to, and just started writing. It was great!

Poetics 2

My poem was inspired by a favorite painting, in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, “At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance” by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec. At the museum, I walked around looking for some of my favorite pieces and explored some new exhibits, searching for something to catch my attention. I have always found this painting very inviting and fun. The movement and the lady with the red stockings catch the eye and capture a world of dance and entertainment. I began by reading the note along side the painting, about the author and subject. The subject of the painting is said to be Valentin le Désossé, a well-known cabaret performer, nick-named the “Boneless Man”. I also discovered that the painting was actually hung over the bar at the Moulin Rouge for years. The painting then seemed to me to serve as a window, as most paintings do, into a different time. I was intrigued by this and began to examine the painting closer, noticing the flow of the characters and colors. From here, I began to jot down what I saw and imagine how that night may have felt to someone entering the Moulin Rouge night club with bits and piece of French culture hanging in the air. I did not want to just describe the painting, but rather comment on it in a way that would give it personality, or different dimension, without bringing the poem to a place that was too fictional. The writing of a poem in response to a painting should complement that painting and give it voice by putting colors and the emotions which they evoke into words.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Poetics 2

Within the process of writing my ekphrastic poem, I found that it was much different than writing my object poem. I found the object poem much more difficult to write than the ekphrastic, because I thought it easier to speak as a piece of art, than to poetically explore and write about an object.
With the ekphrastic poem, your imagination has the ability to run ramped. This adds both positive and negative elements to your writing. I found that if you go with your wondering imagination, you can go too far and misinterpret the art work, or even take it for granted. If you ignore your imagination you can potentially take away from the work, not giving it the justice it deserves. This challenge in disciplining your imagination can be very difficult, but forces you to really pay attention to your language.
Being a film major, I have found that the visual arts, and language go hand in hand. While studying the elements and aspects of film, I have been able to incorporate those same elements in my writing, especially in poetry. Line, symmetry, pattern, shape, form, color, repetition, are all elements of both artworks. There is definitely more to do for a poet than just describe the visual arts. For one, participate in the visual arts. Second, collaborate with another artist to bring your poem to life and share it with a more broad audience. The ability to share your works, literary or visual, is such a vital part of being an artist, and why not use each other to collaborate?

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ekphrastic Poem (Vietnam War Memorial) -Brian Boyle

"Reflection on the Vietnam War Memorial"
Jeffrey Harrison (1987)

Here is, the back porch of the dead.
You can see them milling around in there,
screened in by their own names,
looking at us in the same
vague and serious way we look at them.

An underground house, a roof of grass --
one version of the underworld. It's all
we know of death, a world
like our own (but darker, blurred).
inhabited by beings like ourselves.

The location of the name you're looking for
can be looked up in a book whose resemblance
to a phone book seems to claim
some contact can be made
through the simple act of finding a name.

As we touch the name the stone absorbs our grief.
It takes us in -- we see ourselves inside it.
And yet we feel it as a wall
and realize the dead are all
just names now, the separation final.

Sunday, October 11, 2009


Love is Imperfect
As most of us know

Proof found not only in us
But also in the “O”

Tilted to the right
On top of the “E"

The second letter in "LOVE"
Sits imperfectly

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance

At the Moulin Rouge: The Dance
by Henri de Toulouse Lautrec

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Secret Girl

What are you hiding from?
I see your cracks, your uneven surface—all imperfections

What are you hiding from?
the unsatisfiable eyes that examine you

What are you hiding from?
the artificial world that surrounds you

Why are you hiding?
don’t hide— for it is impossible.

We are all on display.

Ramesses II

LOVE Park Statue

A copy of the draft of the Poem.

VE Park

Oh. How ironic.
Oh. How delusional we all must be.
In this city of Brotherly Love


On its pedestal, judging our every move.
Our broken...


There is no love.
There is no love,
on this canvas of a city
that we call Philly.

Representing LOVE
Couples in LOVE
A City in LOVE
With poverty and starving and murder

Holding hands smiling for the camera
Cheese! Kissing! Laughing!

Only to ignore their brother
Suffering! Shivering! Starving!

Deceiving, meaning LOVE
and Blood
Red is for the LOVE

But this red, OUR red

Red for the Blood that has been shed
Only if our LOVE
Was no longer broken into pieces but together we all could LOVE again, only then


Monday, October 5, 2009

Lauren Siliani
(Ekphrastic Poem)

Poet Girl

Alexis Kaczka Moby Dick

I visited the Brandywine River Museum and they had works by printmaker and woodcarver Rockwell Kent. If anyone wants to visit this museum, it's only a short drive from the city, and for students admission is only $6, definatly worth checking out.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


Freedom by Zenos Frudakis
Sculpture located at 16th and Race on the side of the Glaxo Smith Kline building...

Friday, October 2, 2009

"The Life Line" -Winslow Homer