Thursday, April 30, 2009

Poetry Reading

I really enjoyed the poetry reading on Tuesday. I was disappointed that I had to leave early to go to work. I have always enjoyed going to readings because I find that poetry is meant to be heard. Hearing poetry read out loud brings new meaning to words and phrases that would not have been received just by reading it. I really enjoyed everyone's energy; both the readers and the audience. I also enjoyed the variety of different types of poems read aloud. I appreciated everyone's honesty with their poems, and their comfort in reading them out loud to a group of people they do not know. I think it shows strength to be able to do that. Having a reading was a great idea and hopefully it continues in the future. I really thought it was a success. 

Temple Poetry Reading

It was interesting to see what the other classes had done, and I liked getting a glimpse into their different dynamics (i.e., the guy who wrote about all the people in his class: his poem lent me a familiarity with the other people from his class that read poems; it was a good idea, and I was grateful). It seemed like a lot of people who read were either very experienced with doing poetry reading-type things or had really practiced. So many people brought a lot to their poems with their individual readings, which could otherwise have come off as a long monotone buzzing through my head, and they forced me to pay attention. That impressed me. I didn't expect the level of commitment that I witnessed. I also like how the people who volunteered could read practically anything and not just the assignments they had been given. I've never been to a poetry reading before. It was nice to see how much someone's voice can affect a word.

Temple Poetry Reading

Hearing poems read has been a completely different experience from reading them. The music of the poems changes when they are read, and the reader controls the rhythms, and also sound emphasis. The way the readers pronounced certain sounds drastically changed some of the poems, or how I imagined I would read them myself. I was most impressed by the poem that contained the line about "your French egg-sex" because it was hilarious but also relevant, especially in the way it incorporated the collective consciousness/rhythm of the ADD generation. At least that is my opinion. Either way, I felt I could relate to it. I was also impressed by most of the readers and the way they animated their own poems in reading them. Some of the poems really surprised me, such as the one that started off "So, I'm a sex addcit." I thought this poem would have been interesting as a rap. It seemed more rhythm-based than word-based to me. And at the same time, some of the poems were totally about the words, and I found I could just listen--sort of be attacked by the words--rather than read and think about how they looked... hearing them changed the meanings. Hearing the poems gave them so much more urgency. Suddenly, all the words seemed current, and about this specific moment in time. They all seemed to clamour "live for the moment, because you're in it now" or something like that. Well, excpet the "I Remember" poems were about the past, but they still seemed pertinent, like the memory being described was very important in that moment. Hearing the poems was like being exposed to sensory creations manifesting themselves...and then suddenly ending, no longr existing in the present.

Nick Vadala- Poetry Reading Response

That was easily one of the most nerve wracking things I've ever done. Having people just stare at you while you tell them about the time you shit your pants at a sleepover is a little bit intimidating, but I'm glad I got some laughs because I wouldn't have been able to continue otherwise. Also, the fact that there was a microphone made me more nervous somehow, I guess because I've never used one to speak in public before. I'm glad I got through it and was very proud of myself when a few people congratulated me afterwards. Thanks also to everyone who said they enjoyed me reading in their responses on this blog.

The reader that stuck out to me was--unfortunately I can't remember his name--the one who had the slideshow and did a hilarious rendition of "The KKK Took My Baby Away" by the Ramones. I would never have imagined using a Ramones song to parody the MLA, but his idea was great and his delivery of it was superb. Additionally, the line "It's a hockey puck fuck fest so grab your jason mask" nearly had me in tears. His reading was weird, quirky, and hilarious and I think he has a great future ahead of him with his unique style of presentation.

This poetry reading was a great experience and I feel honored to have read at it and heard the poetry of everyone else who decided to read. If this happens next year, I would definitely like to check it out.

Ian Dugan-Poetry Reading

This is neither the first time I have read or recited my poetry before nor the first poetry reading that I have been to, but the nervous burning sensation that I get before reading remains. I tried mainly to focus on the readings before me. I have unfortunately lost track of the names, although I must say that the room was brimming with a good deal of talent.

I do remember, of the first or second poem, that I found its speed and the way the words were linked to one another. I notice that a lot of the poems had some reference to sex and sleep-not that these subjects in particular are of any interest other than passing to me. I just noted that enough of the subject of sex especially came up and that I might consider writing something on it myself.

Rudolfo's reading stood out to me. He memorized all, if not most, of his poetry and was very animated when he spoke. Many of the lines were funny; I wish I could remember them in their entirety, but I do remember laughing. I realize too that I may want to do as he did and memorize more of my own poetry.

One of the poems that was read by Mary Johnson stood out to me because of the last lines: "You taught me to look at bodies...not faces...because when we lock eyes, we staunchly know who we are."
I usually look for lines that stand out, sometimes write them down; they may sooner or later find their way into a new poem.

I enjoyed Nick's reading of his "I Remember" and "The Fact That". "I Remember" had a few new additions and had become more specific, which I rather liked. I particularly like the line from "The Fact That":
"The fact that the meaning of life is to get the hell off of your couch and go experience something: get in a fight, get arrested, get laid, get caught, get away, get a scar, get a car, catch a star, fall in love".
The slight bit of internal rhyme coupled with the speed at which it was read made it memorable.

I like that some of the poets like Kim read work that was not finished yet, or small poems without titles. I think that I should try poems like that, perhaps in a small notebook. Mary Oliver once spoke of meeting with poetry and of the necessity of making the meetings often as opposed to seldom in order to get the writing to "come out". I also liked the "Scrapbook" idea. I wish the reader had not left so fast; I wanted his name. I know Jose Santiago from my job in the library; I knew he wrote but had never heard his work before. I think it a rather nice surprise to see people one knows read their work, especially if they write well. I saw in his work a reminder of the "write poetry surrounding a theme" idea, like Maggie Nelson and Cole Swenson. In that regard, Eric Whetstone's "Garden" poem stood out. I liked the way he adapted the "Ours" structure to his memories of his grandfather. I think that, were there a way for him to have heard, he would have been honored.

I believe that, in the future, I shall bring drafts with larger fonts for reading, as I am nearsighted, and reading poetry that plays on itself in words and sounds becomes difficult when one cannot see what one is doing. Memorization might help also.

I conclude then that the poetry reading was useful in the way of ideas and entertaining in the way of talent and will certainly keep in mind these things for the next time.

Ian Dugan

Ghazel Sultan, poetry read

The poetry session on Tuesday was a really great experience. I really enjoyed Chade's poem, which I read before too but since she did not get a chance to read in class, it was nice to hear her read it which was more humorous once read out loud. This was my very first experience going to a poetry reading session and I had a great time listening to all the poets read their poems. I noticed the different ways each poet read their poems and all of them had a different style in illustrating their emotions into voice which completely changed the meanings of the poem. The poem I found most interesting was the second one of Antoine's. His poem described poems itself and celebrated free writing. He was very creative when he talked about how people did not have to listen to poetry and the fact that they might be thinking about something else instead of the poem was completely different. His poem was funny and his voice also kept me intrigued, he was saying everything so fast that I was more attentive in trying to hear everything he was saying. I know a lot of things he said was creative and incorporated different meanings. His poem was a great start to the rest of the poems as well since it explored the true meaning of words and questioned what poetry actually was in a humorous way. In addition, I noticed that lot of the poems were very funny as well as insightful. The poem that was read in Spanish, though I do not know Spanish, I still was intrigued in the way each word was said. I had a great time hearing each poem and I am definitely interested in visiting a poetry read again.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Photos from Temple Poetry Reading

Temple Poetry Reading

While at the Poetry reading yesterday the one distinct thing that I noticed about each reader was their linguistic style. There was one poet that I enjoyed from a different class that I really enjoyed listening to. He was comical and gesticulated to add emphasis to the comedy of his poem. His poem was simple to understand; nothing complicated at all. What I also liked about his reading was his last poem in which he chose to write about his classmates. There was one classmate who's last name was could be used interchangeably and he made it comical both for her and the audience. His poem almost seemed like one that can be sung; an ode.

And I also enjoyed another poet who read during the latter half of the reading; There are Maggots in the Cat Bowl. His poem was very short but emphasized a lot and this came out to be comical.

I enjoyed listening what my peers in the other classes wrote about because it gave this course a unique variety to see the artistic nature of what other students are writing about. Also, I was able to use a topic one poet mentioned in his reading to help me formulate my own.

Temple Poetry Reading

To begin, I'd like to say that I loved the reading.  I felt that the poet's chosen were perfect for the readings and that many of the pieces were brilliant.  The reading itself was a great experience.  It really helped me to feel the poetry through the poet's eyes (metaphorically) and get a better understanding of what the poet wanted to convey.  Their speech, speed, diction and multiple other factors all played into how their work was presented and how powerful the pieces truly were.  I loved hearing the poems as compared to reading the poems and that fact that these readings were from the author's mouths made it all the better.  I felt that the entire reading went over great and was a tremendous success.

Temple Poetry Reading

The poetry reading yesterday displayed the versatility and enthusiasm of Temple student poets. A major aspect of the reading that stood out for me was the diversity in the material covered. As each poet approached the podium a new style, rhythm and theme came with them, providing the audience with opportunities to hear exciting pieces. Two of my favorites were by poets whose names unfortunately escape me. One was an English/Italian bilingual poem and the other by a poet who wrote a piece as a sort of shout out to his class. All of the latter poet's work was memorized and was not read, but performed; they captured my attention and kept me laughing. Ian, Chade, Nick, Eric, and Megan did great jobs reading their pieces and instilled a sense of pride in me simply because i've heard their work before. It was great seeing them do so well as representatives of our section.
I greatly enjoyed the reading and am looking forward to another in the near future.

Temple Poetry Blog

Although it wasn’t my first poetry reading, It was the first time I have ever read a poem of mine in public. I don’t know if I appeared this way, but I was REALLY nervous. After reading the first line the nerves went away and I felt like I was reading the poem to a room full of my friends. All of the poems read by the other students were different and I was actually glad that I didn’t hear 12 of the same type of poem. One of the poems that really stuck out to me was a poem written and read by Dustan Horng. He was an animated reader who had a lot of enthusiasm. His poem about people losing money at a casino was very funny and I think part of the reason it was funny was because he read it as if he was telling a funny story to little kids. Another poem that stuck out to me was a poem read by Uzoma Okezie. It has a smooth, calm rhythm and it reminded me of a poem that would be featured in the “Def Poetry Jam” series. This poetry reading was certainly a great experience and I’m glad that I participated in it.


We've talked in class not only about the politics of poetic form (e.g., Pound's "bad art is immoral art"), but also the place of poets and poetry within the larger context of the social sphere (the imagination involving more than merely the ego of the individual poet). There are many fine poet-activists along these lines, and I strongly recommend that you check out two powerful examples, Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez. Baraka and Sanchez will be among the participants in a symposium this weekend at Temple. Details below:

Event Description
This symposium, held May 1-3, will look at the impact that the first 100 days of the Obama presidency has had on the African American community in terms of the economy, the criminal justice system, and foreign relations through an African American historical perspective. In addition to looking at the Obama presidency, the symposium will also focus on the discipline of Black History itself as it celebrates its 40th Anniversary. Co-sponsored by the Center for African American Research and Public Policy at Temple University and the Philadelphia Community Institute of Africana Studies.
Today’s topic: A discussion investigating how President Obama’s election has affected African American politics and political thought. Among the confirmed panelists are poet and activist Amiri Baraka, Ron Walters, director of the African American Leadership Center at the University of Maryland, and Kenneth Lawrence, Temple University’s senior vice president for government, community and public affairs.

Location Information
Main Campus - Anderson Hall
Room: 13

Symposium Details
On Nov. 4, 2008, President Barack Obama became the answer to a question that will eventually end up on an African American studies test: Who was the nation’s first African American president?
But now that the confetti has blown away and the inauguration has come and gone, what have the first 100 Days of the Obama administration meant to the African American community?
That’s the question that will be addressed during "A Conference Call: A 100 Day Assessment of the Obama Presidency From an African American Perspective," a symposium being held from May 1st through 3rd in Temple University’s Anderson Hall, 1114 Berks Street, and Beury Hall, 1901 N. 13th Street.
The symposium, which is co-sponsored by the Center for African American Research and Public Policy at Temple and the Philadelphia Community Institute of Africana Studies, will examine the impact the first 100 days of the Obama Presidency has had on the African American community in terms of the economy, the criminal justice system and foreign relations.
The symposium will also focus on Black History itself as the discipline celebrates its 40th Anniversary. Temple was the first institution to offer a doctorate in Black History.
The discussion begins Friday night with an investigation of how President Obama’s election has affected African American politics and political thought. Among the confirmed panelists are poet and activist Amiri Baraka; Ron Walters, director of the African American Leadership Center at the University of Maryland; and Kenneth Lawrence, Temple’s senior vice president for government, community and public affairs. This discussion will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in Anderson Hall, room 13.
Starting the discussion with politics makes sense because there are few political stories in the African American community bigger than the Obama Presidency, said Nathaniel Norment, director of Temple’s Center for African American Research and Public Policy and chair of the African American Studies Department.
“We are experiencing a unique and historical political reality with the election of President Barack Obama,” Norment said. “African Americans must seize this time to develop strategic economic and political actions that will empower our communities. The conference provides an opportunity to begin this work.”
On Saturday, the conference continues with a panel discussion on the evolution of Black Studies from its inception at San Francisco University in the late 1960s to the present day and whether or not it is still relevant in the Age of Obama.
Among those expected to attend this discussion are John Bracey Jr., professor in the W.E.B DuBois Department of African American Studies at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Jimmy Garrett, one of the founders of the Black Studies Department at San Francisco State; Rosemari Mealy, an activist and former member of the Black Panther Party who has studied the place of women within the party and is best known for her book detailing the meeting of Malcolm X and Fidel Castro; and Charles Jones, president of the National Council of Black Studies. This discussion will be held at 10:30 a.m. in room 160 of Beury Hall. In addition to the two plenary sessions, there will be a variety of working groups that will discuss some of the issues that the Obama Administration has tackled during the first 100 days and whether or not the needs of African Americans have been addressed. Topics such as communications and media, the Labor movement, and Veterans Affairs will be discussed with the help of panelists and facilitators including Henry Nicholas, president of the National Union of Hospital and Healthcare Employees (1199-C); Linn Washington, associate professor in Temple’s Department of Journalism and columnist for the Philadelphia Tribune; and Temple poet-in-residence and activist Sonia Sanchez.

Temple Poetry Reading

This was my first poetry reading and i enjoyed the experience. It was interested to see how many ways poetry can be read, especially the differences in pacing and tone. The collage poem was also interesting because it was a concept i had not thought of before seeing it in action at the poetry reading. The atmosphere was positive and i felt it went a long way in helping the poets feel comfortable reading their poetry. I think a poetry reading the best possible way to wrap up this kind of course because the diversity encountered at the poetry reading can inspire poets to experiment with form and help them in garnering the courage to read their own poetry aloud.

Temple Poetry Reading

I thought the poetry reading was wonderful. I was really interested in hearing students from other sections, but I was especially excited to see students from our class read. Chade, Ian, Megan, Nick and Eric did a great job. It was nice to see how they have evolved since the beginning of the semester. Two poets who really stuck out in my mind were Tyler and Rodolfo. Tyler used his voice to enhance his poem. I felt that it came across as a monologue almost. It really worked well. Rodolfo had memorized his poems and that made me feel that he had really connected with his work. I thought it was thoughtful and creative how he made a poem about the people in his class. The poetry reading was a great success and I think this is something that should be done every year not only to benefit the teachers, but the students as well.

"Temple Poetry Reading"

I really enjoyed the reading yesterday, I felt like all of the poet's did extremely well. It was great to see fellow peers read their work, it gave a lot of great ideas.I really enjoyed the reads of Sam DiBernardo and Jose Diaz
they gave a lot of enthusiasm while reading and easily kept your attention. This was my first poetry read, and it was pretty much what I thought it would be. It was interesting though to see all the different ways poets read their work, I guess in our class it was pretty consistent, while some of the other poet's voices really brought a different dimension to the poem. I think it was a great way to wrap up the course.

Friday, April 24, 2009


While studying list/catalog poems, we looked at the first page of William Gass's amazing little book, On Being Blue, so I thought I'd share the above annotation of the page that I came across in a composition blog. For a closer look, click on the above image.
Here's the link to the original blog entry.
The annotation also shares elements with our annotation project on Cole Swensen's Ours.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


(Joe Brainard, Untitled, 1976)

Please join us for a poetry reading by Temple students
When: Tuesday, 28 April, 4:00-6:15 p.m.
Where: Room 821, 8th floor, Anderson Hall, Women's Studies lounge (across from elevators)

Free poetry and pizza!

Readers include:

Chade Amissah-Biney
Tyler Antoine
Bryce Bayer
Rodolfo Carrido
Beverly Deal
Jose Diaz
Sam DiBernardo
Ian Dugan
Alexander Hochner
Dunstan Horng
Mary Johnson
Kim Leszak
Matt Martin
Megan Matuzak
Uzoma Okezie
Jenna Pagano
Nick Vadala
Eric Whetstone

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Poetic 4

The procedure I went through to create my I Remember poem was quite simple. I wanted my poem to reflect my childhood. I wrote down some of my most memorable childhood memories. I found that a lot of them when together. I started to try different ways to combine them together. I wanted to play with structure and sound in this poem. During the process of creating my poem, I did not feel confident about my writing. I felt that I kept revising and revising my work. I thought this was going to be an easy poem to write, but I found it to be the most difficult for me so far. Even though I had a rough time writing my poem, I still enjoyed trying a different style of writing. I learned that it’s hard to write when I place so many restrictions on my writing. I feel that using simple and descriptive lines makes my poem playful. I wanted this poem to be a fun read and I feel that in the end I did accomplish that.

Zachary LImbert - I remember poetic

I was very skeptical of this poem at first, but once I started writing I realized that there are some many things I remember that I wanted to say.  This form of poem is amazing.  It’s like being able to confess a number of things that I wouldn’t normally be able to say.  I started the poem with a forced memory and worked from there.  Then they memories began to flow.  I tried to keep them in some sort of pattern, but the more I went on the less I cared about pattern.  I became comfortable just going from memory to memory.  Although the poem isn’t finished yet I’m extremely happy with it.  I really feel comfortable and honest with it.  I don’t feel a need to incorporate any special language.  I feel that by being down to Earth with my language I’m getting a more real and pure representation of the memories that are important to me.  I’ve really fallen in love with this form of poetry.  At first I thought that it would be difficult to get the memories out, but they really do just flow.  Reading Brainard’s book for me was, at first, confusing.  I didn’t really understand why any of it mattered, but as I wrote my own I realized the significance of all the memories and why he would incorporate them.  

Blankinship-Poetic 4

Poetic 4

I found that my memories were events that I’d had plenty of time to process. For the most part, the memories didn’t relate to things that are going on in my life in the present. In fact, the memories seemed distant and inconsequential. They were experiences that no longer affect me.
Everyone perceives differently. I did not think it was necessary that I transcribe my memories in the exact same matter-of-fact manner as Brainard, because I perceive and process things differently from him. Many of my memories become abstracted and reduced to shape, color and sound. It doesn’t mean that I have lost those memories or that they have lost emotional value. In fact, sometimes the emotional value of a memory becomes augmented in conjunction with the loss of sharpness of the memory. But they do lose their concreteness. Sometimes when I remember something, I question whether or not it really happened. Once something is over and in the past, it’s hard to believe that it really occurred. At the same time, there is a certain comfort in making events into concrete facts, and knowing that those events have specific descriptions that cannot be disputed.
Brainard created a sense of “tell-all,” as if he held nothing back from his readers, and this propagated a sense of trust. I did not have this feeling of openness with my readers. I wrote a very long “I Remember” poem, where I held nothing back. Then I went back and weeded out a lot of things. I kept the memories that I thought created interesting images, and I also tried to keep a consistent theme. Since I didn’t want the poem to be too long, I didn’t try to create an autobiography. Instead, I wrote a poem that focused on themes of death, and also the idea of not quite understanding something in the moment that it was happening. A lot of the memories that I removed were either traumatic or very personal. I just didn’t feel as comfortable being as open as Brainard, although there is something nice about reading someone else’s sort of secretive thoughts or memories.
I wish I had more time to write this poem. It could go in so many directions. Still, I did feel constrained by the form. I thought it somehow held the language back from the natural flowering of musicality that free-form allows. I was caught between wanting to just catalogue whatever memories came to mind, and wanting to create a more cohesive piece where the language in the different threads interwove with more intention.

Poetic 4

I think that this was a fun assignment. I have so many memories and each one is significant for many different reason. I found this to be a slight obstacle just because it was hard to choose which to put in the poem. I found that I wrote down a lot more than I actually used. The ones I did use I think are more prevalent in my life. I think it could use some work, however, just on the way it flows and stuff like that. For the most part its in chronological order. I wasn't sure if that was necessary or not, but at the same time there were moments that growth were shown and then it does make sense to have it in chronological order.  I found this one to be very similar to the list poem because both poems were about me so both caused me to have to think about events in my life. 

Robert Mays- Poem 4 Poetic

Robert Mays
Poetic 4- I Remember

This poem that I created is probably one of the most sentimental and reflective pieces i have ever written. I discussed the moments of my childhood and how i was given a strong foundation and my family made me feel secure. While writing, i felt so many different types of emotions (mostly joy) but i was also sad. I was sad because, I could never experience those memories again.

Throughout this poem, I rarely mentioned sad memories because i feel that people dwell on the negative entirely too much. I want people to laugh and to be right there with me experiencing those same emotions. My family is from the deep south Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi. Those old traditions (that trace back to slavery) are very evident in my poem. The family reunions, Holidays,going to church, and the installment of love and core beliefs. I didn't including any sayings but i wanted to show the reader the closeness of my family.

This poem is special to me because some of these memories are some of my first and I dug deep down in myself to really to to display the image as i saw it. This poem just reinforced how Blessed I truly am. I never had a need or a want that was not meet, and my family directed me in the right direction. I hope that people really notice how the small things in life can bring such joy and fulfillment.

Nick Vadala Poetic

Joe Brainard’s book was very helpful to me in writing this poem, as his memories evoked similar memories in me and therefore provided me with constant inspiration for my entire poem. Overall, this poem was very different from writing all of the other poems because it consisted entirely of my memories, and not of any of my ideas, opinions, or observations. In a way it was somewhat easier than the other poems because I didn’t have to organize my thoughts as much, but it was also somewhat harder. It was harder to edit in terms of choosing what memories should stay or go deleted, and it was harder to stop writing this poem than the other ones. I found that I would get into a groove where I would remember a lot of memories that I wanted to include, and as a result I ended up with a few more pages than what I edited the final draft down to. Additionally, it was very difficult to choose what memory to end the poem with.

I learned from my poem that I am a very sentimental person that has a strong attachment to his childhood and family members. I also learned that I am able to make bad memories funny to myself and therefore be able to talk about them. Overall, this poem allowed me to analyze myself through my memories. Initially, I was worried that I would include only depressing or bad memories in the poem, but once I got started I found that I had a lot of humorous and light-hearted memories to include as well. Some of the memories I included I am not very proud of, but I thought it would be beneficial to include them because they give a more well-rounded picture of who I am as a person; additionally, some readers may be able to identify with these memories due to similar experiences in their lives.

Poetic 4

I didn't really enjoy writing this poem. I couldn't play with the format as much as I wanted to and I found myself simply imitating Joe Brainard's style in the earlier drafts. I didn't want to write about cutesy yet bland things I grew up with that didn't mean much to me, and yet I also didn't want to really talk about something as personal and complicated as my past in such a straightforward, factual way. It seemed a little pretentious to take on this persona when talking about my own life, and it wasn't something I was comfortable with. It made my life seem like a Chicken Soup for the Soul story without the happy ending or something. I liked Brainard's poem, but I found it hard to make my own out of this format, and I ended up going over 300 words, another boundary I found hard to compromise with. I kind of got depressed by this exercise. This is not because I don't enjoy remembering the past or talking about it; on the contrary, I enjoy the nature of nostalgia and have been fascinated by its effect on poetry for a long time. I definitely have written about this kind of stuff before. I also didn't have a hard time coming up with memories. I have a pretty extensive and precise memory of my life, to the point where I've been told it's unusual, and I have one million details stored from which to draw. My problem was rather adhering to the style and making something I felt was profound to me, without feeling strange about it. In the end, I don't think my poem came out badly, but I do feel a little weird and uncomfortable about it. Still, as mentioned before, I didn't think the solution was listing the names of all my pets or talking about what kind of music I liked when I was 12. Maybe this is the kind of poem to start with as an exercise to write another poem.

Poetic 4 (I Remember) -- Eric Whetstone

I found the I remember format to be pretty simple to write, but deciding on what type of memories to use was more difficult.  I ended up going with the kind of sad memories since they seemed more prominent in my mind and attempted to follow a kind of timeline through my life.  The poem starts with the simple problems of childhood, like losing a toy or getting lost and then gets into the more ‘real’ problems of life.  I was worried about not being able to hit the recommended length of 300+ words but it turned out to be far easier to write too much rather than not enough.  The fact that the I remember format allowed for a variety of structure made it interesting to decide on whether or not it should follow a timeline or be as they came from the mind, or what type of focus it should have or whether it should even just act as an outlet straight from the mind to the page.  It was easier to just jot down all the memories I had on a piece of paper without worrying about anything in relation to the poem and then pulling them out of the list (the poem really resembles a list/catalog of memories through time).  This format has power behind it, considering how it forces to author to remember memories (some of which I didn’t want to remember) and can be used as an outlet for frustration (which is how I felt after some of those memories forced themselves to the surface of my brain, memories I had wanted to forget).  I could also see how the process could be used to recount tales of happiness, and I was actually thinking about experimenting with the form as a use of documentation not just for one’s own memories but for those of a small group (it would be neat to get a group of old friend’s together and to hear their memories from their varying perspectives in an attempt to write a poem collectively in the I Remember format).  I found this to be the easiest poem to write in a literal sense, but also the hardest to think about since I often found myself drifting down memory lane and not even writing, but just sitting there daydreaming my ideas away.  I think the form as written by Brainard is a good start for it, but I feel like there are so many other places and other ways the phrase I Remember could be used to create other forms of poetry.

Poetic 4

This poem involved a writing process that I deeply enjoyed. At first, I was skeptical and a bit overwhelmed because I had no idea what I was going to write about. However, after relaxing and just jotting down some of the most prominent memories that I can recall, the poem started to flow and because extremely interesting for me. My poem isn’t chronological but it follows a basic structure where every line in a particular stanza is from the same time period of my life. The very first stanza is about pre-school and what I remember, from meeting someone who is still one of my best friends to being frightened at Halloween because of a tall dude in a costume. Through the course of writing this poem I realized that some of the moments in my life that were a little traumatizing or in other ways unpleasant are ways to learn from one’s self. For example, in elementary school I was wrongfully accused of stealing candy by some of the teachers, during questioning I started crying and was extremely scared. Through the course of writing to poem, I realized that is the reason why I cant stealing anything today, not even from a multi-national corporation where many people feel its justified. That’s tangential.
This process was different from the other poem writing processes I felt, because it involved drawing from memory and analyzing how one felt during the time that the event occurred, and how one’s feelings on the event differ from the original feelings. This assignment was beneficial to me personal because I feel as though I came to terms with bad memories from my past and am now able to look at them much differently.

Poetic 4

Ernesto Lopez
Poetic 4

The first challenge i faced with this poem was collecting coherent memories. Once that had been completed, it was all a matter of writing down the first draft. My first draft exceeded ten pages and I spent a whole night sifting through those ten pages to refine it two and a half pages. For this poem, I let my mind direct my writing. I just wrote whatever memories appeared and in the order that they appeared. What struck me the most about this poem was the torrent of memories that it produced; memories I didn’t know I remembered, memories I’d tried to suppress and things that I could not admit about myself all came streaming through and ended up on paper. Another aspect of my memories that surprised me was the fact that most of my memories are from when I was ten years old or younger. I would have thought that most of my memories would be from the last 6 years, a period I consider the most active and most fluid. The amount of memories about baseball also surprised me because that seemed like such a long time ago even though I just quit around five years ago. Joe Brainard’s poem is a marvelous way to catalogue memories, something I’d wanted to do for years now but could not think of an appropriate way. Once I began telling my friends that I was writing a poem in this format and showed them the initial draft, they were hooked on the poem and they, in turn, wrote their own versions. I can see myself expanding on the poem I wrote and by the time I submit this poetic, I’ll have over 15 pages of memories written down.

Poetic 4

Ghazel Sultan

When I first started writing my poem, I began jotting down all the events in my life that I remembered as being funny, silly or even sad. I came up with a huge list but I felt like my poem was not going anywhere and did not really tell much about me. A lot of my memories consisted of many cultural aspects and I did not know how to describe them in English. Through writing down a series of things, I came up with one topic I felt would be easiest to explain. I took that event and I realized how exciting the times of Eid, a religious holiday had been. These memories took me back many steps and I began to notice how different things were now. That little event left an enormous impact on my life. This is ironic since my Uncle’s car accident had been a very big deal to me but I never thought about how different things had gotten from that time on. Instead of moving my family closer, a lot of us had parted from each other and it reflected a lot on the little things we shared with each other.

When reading I Remember I got an idea of the author making all his memories flow in a certain way. Even though some of his ‘I remembers’ did not have anything to do with one another, there was still a flow of memories in each line that somehow related. I got a notion of his personality through each line and that notion still existed in each of his ‘I remember’. Brainard’s book also help me think back to my own memories by reading his, I found myself relating to his own memories, such as old sayings he brought up, which caused me to think about the superstitious or the sayings I had been growing up with.

Ghazel Sultan

When I first started writing my poem, I began jotting down all the events in my life that I remembered as being funny, silly or even sad. I came up with a huge list but I felt like my poem was not going anywhere and did not really tell much about me. A lot of my memories consisted of many cultural aspects and I did not know how to describe them in English. Through writing down a series of things, I came up with one topic I felt would be easiest to explain. I took that event and I realized how exciting the times of Eid, a religious holiday had been. These memories took me back many steps and I began to notice how different things were now. That little event left an enormous impact on my life. This is ironic since my Uncle’s car accident had been a very big deal to me but I never thought about how different things had gotten from that time on. Instead of moving my family closer, a lot of us had parted from each other and it reflected a lot on the little things we shared with each other.

When reading I Remember I got an idea of the author making all his memories flow in a certain way. Even though some of his ‘I remembers’ did not have anything to do with one another, there was still a flow of memories in each line that somehow related. I got a notion of his personality through each line and that notion still existed in each of his ‘I remember’. Brainard’s book also help me think back to my own memories by reading his, I found myself relating to his own memories, such as old sayings he brought up, which caused me to think about the superstitious or the sayings I had been growing up with.

Poetic 4: I Remember

ChadĂȘ Biney-Amissah
14 April 2009
Poetic 4: I Remember

For some reason, this poem was a little difficult for me to write at first. I have so many memories; it was kind of hard for me to narrow down the selection. I wrote a lot of “I Remember” lines, and decided to choose the ones that I felt represented me the best. Some of my “I Remember” lines are funny and others are just plain old good memories. Out of all of the poems we had to write this semester, I think that this is my favorite type of poem to write. It allows the author to reminisce, laugh, cry, and reflect. To me, some of the best poems are written this way. I used Brainard’s book as an example of the type of content I should include in my “I Remember” poem. By reading his book, it gave me an idea of how the poem should be styled and what should be included in the poem. I think that I learned a lot about myself from writing this poem. Because it made me reflect on the past, it made me extremely grateful for my family. This poem has also caused me to become more interested in poetry itself. Before entering this class, I really didn’t have an interest in poetry, and I was hesitant to learn more about something that I didn’t have an interest in. After I wrote this poem however, I found myself looking for poems that are similar to Brainard’s and just other poems in general. I am slowly developing a interest in poetry, something I never knew could happen.

Poetic 4

Esther Akintoye
April 14, 2009
Poetry – I Remember

This is an assignment that I also enjoyed. I actually got carried away because of all the memories that were conjured up while I was brainstorming. I remember how blissful these days were so it was not hard for me to make a list of memories from my childhood.

What was helpful for this assignment was that I went home for the weekend. This was very useful because I have a little sister who is still a kid. We hung out and watched SpongeBob SquarePants and did silly stuff kids do. Watching the kiddy commercials and just being with her reminded me of how it was to be a kid. So I was able to put myself back in this stage of my life and it helped me with this assignment. Although I’m grown up I still do feel like a kid.

One of my most vivid memories from childhood is Saturday mornings and Saturday morning pancakes. That is why I started the poem off this way. I tried to scatter my Saturday morning events around the poem. Also, I was a very comical kid, I still am, that laughed and played a lot. I was really active and energetic. I incorporated this aspect in the beginning of the poem. But as the poem went along I dipped down into other aspects that I can remember of my childhood. Moving was the defining aspect of my childhood. I have moved around basically my whole life and had to make new friends all the time. This was not necessarily a bad thing it just caused me to adjust to my surroundings more often than my peers. The only time it bothered me was my “third and a half move” – a move that was about to be but never was. I had a really good friend, which I did not put her name down because we still keep in contact. She is not a memory of my past but rather Idalia and Sarah are because we no longer keep in contact.

Brainard’s book was helpful with writing my poem because I used his book as a model. I referred to some of the topics he mentioned and examined his sentence structure to help me figure out how I wanted to do my own. Also, I realize how similar this assignment is to our catalog/list poem. Basically all I did was list my childhood memories. Through this assignment I learned that doing a poem can be very simple and can be like a stream of consciousness.

I tried to make this poem comfortable, something that when I read it it would not conjure up bad memories. And my ending point of this poem is that life was very liberating as a kid. But although I am no longer in this stage it still can be like this.

Ian Dugan "Poetic 4"-I Remember (by Joseph Brainard)

The initial structure of this particular poem was quite simple, albeit that it felt somewhat cagey. I say cagey because the beginning of the line was, for the most part, the phrase “I remember.” Because of this I found it a bit difficult to pick a title for this particular work other than “I Remember”, but I did try to work with it as a Brainard deformance and as an original work.

Next, I went through my list of available memories for material. This was not too difficult, for I have many memories, some of which are written down. For this poem I chose the memory of my friend Mandi, also called Mandavia, from summer camp because she has recently come back into my life. At first there were two letters and then I did not hear from her for years. The next time was about a month ago. She had written a note to me entitled, “Some Random Thoughts on Pretty Girls” in response to a poem I had posted on Facebook. What was written as a note seemed to me to take the form of a poem and marked the renewal of our friendship. Since she has now come to the forefront of my life, and I still remember a few things about her from the summer I met her, I decided to make that memory the main thread of the poem.

The next thing to do was to arrange the structure of the poem. I decided to stay with the “I remember” motif but tweak it some by continuing Brainard’s paragraph forms after some of his “I remembers” with some intertextual usage of other texts, such as the letters of my friend and poems like John Milton’s On Time and what I remember being said about one of William Shakespeare’s sonnets. Again, the poem centers on my friend, albeit that it purposely deviates from that particular thread to an incident that included the song “American Baby” by Dave Matthews, which I had listened to on one of our break days while in Mandi’s company. I have discovered that I can integrate my own particular style of composing into the poem (the use of other poets’ work, for instance) while keeping to the “I remember” structure. I have also discovered that, as memory is somewhat of a “ghost”, that it was necessary to use descriptions and details, to avoid “generalities and clichĂ©s” in order to make the memories more solid. I think that if I work on fleshing out the “ghost” of memory, such “I remember” attempts as this one may get better over time.

-Ian Dugan

Monday, April 13, 2009

"Poetic 4" Lacey Marinelli

Lacey Marinelli
“Poetic 4”

I really enjoyed writing this fourth poem; I loved reminiscing on the past and present. The poem’s seemed like they would carry a nice flow, and be filled with tons of character. I had put a lot of personal thoughts and memories into the poem that are dear to my heart. My process for writing the poem was to really just sit down and write what comes to mind, I did not stick to a time frame or purpose for the poem, I kind of just wrote, it was actually kind of hard to finish, because I did not want it to end. The only problem I had was I was not sure what to end with. Joe Brainard’s book “I remember” was very helpful while writing my poem because it taught me to write originally, as well as interesting, to stay open, and vivid throughout. This poem was different from any other poem; I have ever written or seen. It kind of reminded me more of a song than a written piece. I loved how this poem felt like me more so than any of the other poem we have written thus far in class. The writing process for me was different than any other poem we have written because I felt like I have not been as personal as I have with the "I remember poem". I learned a lot from writing the fourth poem, I learned that reminiscing and documenting those memories are very important, and can even be therapeutic. While I was writing the poem I thought of things that I have not thought of for so many years, many that made me smile. I learned to be honest with myself and when you just relax and let down your guard you can easily write your thoughts and have no problems remembering good and bad things that have made an impact on your life.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


The Dialogues with Darwin Poetry Project presents an excellent opportunity for those of you who are interested in documentary poetry. Also, if you're curious about relationships between poetry and music, check out the project.

Speaking of Darwin and poetry, Charles Darwin's grandfather, Erasmus Darwin, was a wonderful poet. His writings explored poetry and other rhetorical modes we don't necessarily think of when we think about scientific writing (for example, dialogues). See for example The Temple of Nature and The Botanic Garden. A lot of Erasmus Darwin's writings have only recently come back into print. I suspect his work will gain more popularity as ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and ecoliterature in general gain wider audiences.

Here are details for the Dialogue with Darwin Poetry Project:

DIALOGUES WITH DARWIN POETRY PROJECT Network for New Music, in collaboration with the American Philosophical Society (APS) Museum is pleased to announce the Dialogues with Darwin Poetry Project. Dialogues with Darwin, the new exhibition at the APS Museum opening on April 17, 2009 draws from the Society’s own rich Charles Darwin archive—the largest outside of Cambridge, England—to display Darwin’s own letters, as well as rare first editions, sumptuous illustrated books, and manuscripts that follow the evolution of Darwin’s big idea—evolution through natural selection. As the first major statement on evolution and how it works, On the Origin of Species was the beginning of modern biology. In New Yorker writer Adam Gopnik’s newest book Angels and Ages, he argues that it was also Darwin’s modern way of writing and thinking (scientific and liberal in the broadest sense) that was crucial to promoting his new idea. Network for New Music invites poets to begin their own dialogue with Darwin. If you would like to participate: See the Darwin exhibition, write a poem in response to it and submit it to Network for New Music (guidelines for submission are below). A group of 12-15 young composers drawn from six area universities (the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, University of the Arts, the Curtis Institute, West Chester University and the University of Delaware) will choose poems from among those submitted, and will set them to music; some of those works will then be performed on a pair of Network for New Music concerts at the Society’s Benjamin Franklin Hall on February 19 and 21, 2010. Are you a poet? Want to find out more about this project? Then join us at the American Philosophical Society Museum (104 S. Fifth Street) on April 15 at 7:30 PM for a sneak preview of the Dialogues With Darwin exhibition. Network for New Music's Artistic Director Linda Reichert will give an overview of the project and the timeline. Sue Ann Prince, Museum Director and Curator, will give a brief introduction to the ideas behind the exhibition. We'll also take some time to hear from eminent Philadelphia composer Maurice Wright, who has been commissioned to write a chamber work for this project (the work will also be premiered at the Dialogues with Darwin concerts). Wright will discuss the challenges a musician faces when working with text, and give the poets in attendance some insight into poetry that has a musical life. More detailed Project Guidelines for poets are available on the Network for New Music website below. R.S.V.P. for the April 15th preview. For more information: or

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Joe Brainard

This link give me more insight on not only who he was as an artist (visually and literary) but on who he was as person. It also gave provided me with information that makes him so profound.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The link goes to a book that is a reflection on Brainard through his work in collaboration with others. There are some interesting comments both about Brainard and his work

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Nancy Book by Joe Brainard

Here is a website about Joe Brainard's "The Nancy Book". "The Nancy Book is a book full of different works of art (about a character named 'Nancy'), many of which have never been published before.

Joe Brainard Link-Rayhan Blankinship

This article from the blog Elsewhere discusses Brainard's influence as a comic strip writer. It provides some information about the content of his prolific work.

Joe Brainard -- Bella Pezzati

Here is a blog post with more poems by Joe Brainard. Looking through the web, I found that Brainard also created visual art. This is an example. Here is another. The latter is a collage. He made a lot of those. This was how his workspace looked. It's great, isn't it?

A retrospective look at Joe Brainard

This article/blog is a response written by Arthur Lazere after visiting a Brainard exhibit in New York's Museum of Modern Art. The piece also includes a short biography detailing his life and subsequent death.

I remembered by Ian Dugan

I remembered that I had to find a website
about Joe Brainard.

I remembered to find that site
before I went to bed.

I remembered to leave the link to the site here-
for you.

I remembered to say good morning to you
because it is now morning.

-Ian Dugan

Joe Brainard

This is a photo of Joe.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Joe Brainard - Ernesto Lopez

This is a NY Times article on the passing of Joe Brainard from May 27, 1994. it includes a bit of autobiography.

Joe brainard-lacey marinelli

This is a short summary of Joe Brainard's life including his works,publications, and collaborative works, as well as solo exhibitions.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Nick Vadala- Joe Brainard Link

This site has a short biography of Brainard and features descriptions of over 300 pieces of his work. According to the site they have "32.20 linear feet (8 archives boxes, 59 art bin items and 88 oversize folders)" of Joe's work, which shows us how much work he actually may have done in his lifetime if one place can have that much of it. The big letdown with this site is that there are no pictures of his artwork or anything on it.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Joe Brainard

This link gives a brief summary of Joe Brainard. It describes him as a poet and artist who moved to New York City in replace of his Oklahoma hometown and his book I Remember.

I also attached some audio excerpts of his book:

Joe Brainard

This is a website all about Joe Brainard. It includes a bio, photos of him and his artwork, a list of his works, events and reviews. 

Friday, April 3, 2009

Heather Thomas & Jaamil Olawale Kosoko at Free Library

Monday Poets Reading Series
Heather Thomas and Jaamil Olawale Kosoko Monday, April 6, 6:30 p.m.
Free Library of Philadelphia - Parkway Central Library
Presented by Free Library of Philadelphia

Heather Thomas is the author of seven books of poetry, including Blue Ruby and Resurrection Papers. She has awards from the Academy of American Poets and the PA Council on the Arts.

Jaamil Olawale Kosoko is a poet and interdisciplinary artist. His work has appeared in The Interlochen Review and Silo Literary and Visual Arts Magazine, among others. His most recent chapbook is Ninth Sign of Zodiac.


“Busy Poetry: Recent Documentary and Research-based Poetics.”
Who is poetry speaking to, and who is poetry speaking for?---two questions that condition poetry's relationship to the world at large. Recent work in both documentary and research-based poetries have complicated and enriched that relationship in ways that make us reconsider the boundaries of poetry itself.
Wednesday, April 8, 3:00, Weigley Room, 9th floor Gladfelter Hall on Main campus.

Thursday April 9 at 8:00 p.m. at Temple's Center City campus (1515 Market St., room 222).

Cole Swensen’s most recent book is Ours (University of California, 2008). She is the co-editor with David St. John of the anthology American Hybrid (W. W. Norton, 2009). She teaches at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Joe Brainard Link

Joe Brainard

This site shows the life and work of Joe Brainard.
The website contains a bio, his art, his writings,
writings about Joe, related links and events.