“All Their Stanzas Look Alike”

As I was reading through the Norton anthology, Angles of Ascent, there were several poems that stood out to me. I found Thomas Sawyer Ellis’ poem All Their Stanzas Look Alike on page 317 to be the one that captivated me the most. The title definitely intrigued me and drew me into the poem. You have the ambiguous “stanzas” which could be interpreted literally as other poets stanzas all looking the same, or figuratively and the speaker in fact not speaking about stanzas at all.  For my close reading, I chose the latter. At first glance, this poem seemed to be about someone’s life feeling mundane and the same every day. And then I realized that the “their” the speaker was talking about was an entire group of people; the white population all around them. I particularly enjoyed the lines, “All their plantations/ All their assassinations/ All their stanzas look alike”. As I read the line regarding plantations I could “see” clearly what the speaker was referencing. In films and novels (including ones written today) a plantation is normally portrayed as a large white house in the south surrounded by acres upon acres of land, and nine times out of ten that large white house will have a porch with a swing. When it comes to the assassinations, I had to ponder for a while what this could mean. I came to realize that the speaker could be alluding to the white plantation-owners murdering the black slaves. I also began to think on the past assassinations of presidents, and how although it was white men that committed the crime, there was a horribly negative stereotype placed onto the black population as a whole. Although, it was always white men committing these murders/assassinations, still in today’s society there is an idea that black men are to be feared, when in reality it should probably be the reverse.

What Frida Kahlo and Steve Prince have in Common

         Frida Kahlo has always been a major source of inspiration for me growing up. I admired her ability to articulate and express both her femininity and masculinity, as well as her approach in constructing and conveying fluid sexuality. Her work is bold, innovative and raw. She not only produced numerous self-portraits, but she was able to engage in gender politics in a way that not only represented her love towards her Mexican heritage, but in a way that celebrated womanhood and individuality. Even though she is often categorized as a Surrealist, she never resonated with that assertion and believed that her work was simply a mirage of her life and story.

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Science-Like a Fairytale and Modern Religion

I would have never compared fairy tales and myths to the natural sciences. It seems an unimaginable comparison to make, however, once putting some thought into it, it doesn’t seem like that far of a stretch.

Stories told orally, over time, tend to get more and more added to them overtime. Think about the game you played when you were younger, Telephone. When playing this game, through whispers and misinterpretations, some details can either be lost or added throughout the circle. If I said to you, in a whispered tone, “I love smart water”, it could be altered to “I love art water” or something else as the game goes on.

This helps me think about the comparison of fairy tales and science. Joe Moran compared these two things and I wasn’t sure I agreed with what he was saying, but after thinkingabout this for a while, I decided I agreed with his comparison. His comparison… Continue reading “Science-Like a Fairytale and Modern Religion”

G『E』NESEO: The Myriad of Navigating Geneseo’s Binaries [3]

I went to Tora Con 2019 this past weekend. Tora Con ”is an annual two-day convention celebrating anime, cosplay, and nerd culture” which is hosted by Rochester Institute of Technology.  Thanks to the student-run organizations like Geneseo Area Gaming Group and Geneseo’s Anime Club I got to nerd out with my friends. For example, I bought a bag full of dice, went to a panel on LGBTQ experiences and anime culture, ate at Plum Garden a hibachi restaurant, took pictures of a lot of amazing cosplayers, and got to spend time with my friends. In total it was an amazing experience.

What made the trip successful was how transparent my friends were about the convention. In particular, a friend was discussing pricing for the event. We had to figure out how much we were splitting for gas and food. Thanks to this transparency, I did not have to worry about concerns like transportation and instead I ate and spent time with my friends.

[A Video Highlighting Tora-Con 2019 and showcasing Tora-Con 2020]

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A Closer Look at Goya’s “The Third of May”

During the Teaching Assistants’ lecture on March 11, 2019, they mentioned a painting titled The Third of May by a Spaniard named Francisco Goya created in 1808. In my last blog post, I mentioned how the TA’s connected it to the Steve Prince art piece Stand at the Gretna Bridge because he used Goya’s painting in reference to his creation. However, in my last blog post, I did not have time to unpack everything about Prince’s composition. Therefore, for this blog post, I will attempt to unpack the art piece to the best of my ability. Continue reading “A Closer Look at Goya’s “The Third of May””

Language, Vernacular, Authorship, Meaning Making, and Profiling through a Single Narrative

After constructing my previous blog post that can be found here, a quote that Dr. McCoy provided me as feedback struck me. “It’s incredible a sentence is ever understood.” I started actively thinkING about this specific quote and began researching. I came across this as it perfectly pieced together what has been discussed in class so far in relation to language, vernacular, authorship, meaning making, and profiling through a single narrative.

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The Protecting Power of Destruction

In my last post, I wrote about the connection I perceived between the Baby Dolls of New Orleans and Steve Prince’s artistic depiction of the four horsemen of the apocalypse. I was able to visualize and solidify this connection by interpreting several of Prince’s works and perceiving Prince’s horsemen and the Baby Dolls of New Orleans as straddlers of the line between certain dichotomies in order to empower themselves.

However, where in my last post I claimed I saw the most striking evidence of the horsemen’s line-straddling in “Katrina’s Veil: Stand at the Gretna Bridge” and “Dirge,” I first perceived the horsemen straddling the line between the dichotomy of masculine and feminine in “Second Line I-IV.” In these pieces, each of the horsemen is portrayed individually and is dressed in a masculine suit with spiky shoes. Their appearance is juxtaposed by their dainty, feminine poses that parallel those struck by the Baby Dolls while “walking raddy.” It is in this way that Prince depicts the horsemen as straddling the line between masculinity and femininity.

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White-Out Poetry: Water Moccasin’s Spiritual

In the poem “Floodsong 2: Water Moccasin’s Spiritual,” Douglas Kearney begins with the familiar refrain of the song “Wade in the Water,” which we have read and listened to many times in class. The first two refrains resemble the song we heard in class: “wade in the water / wade in the water, children / wade in the water / god’s gon’ trouble the water.” After that, however, the familiar verses seem to fall apart. Meaning shifts as words disappear and reappear. To me, the poem takes on a feeling of urgency or even panic: “children / gon’ / in the water / trouble / in the water / trouble / in the water.”

This poem reminds me of the practice of “blackout poetry,” a popular exercise in which a poet takes a piece of existing text—the page of a book or a newspaper article—and blacks out the majority of the words until only their chosen words remain, building a poem through elimination. Continue reading “White-Out Poetry: Water Moccasin’s Spiritual”

A Tale of Two Tributes

When I was flipping through the anthology, I noticed in Ntozake Shange’s poem “my father is a retired magician” that in the speaker’s idolect, certain graphemes are omitted from words, even though they make certain sounds. The title of the poem allude’s to the speaker’s father, while the poem is also dedicated to Shange’s siblings Ifa, P. T., and Bisa. Within the poem, the words with omitted graphemes are smaller, common words, often recognized as sight words.

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