Thursday, October 25, 2007

Readings, Listenings, Viewings, and Writing

for October 31 Class

1. Dana Gioia, "Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture," Disappearing Ink: Poetry at the End of Print Culture. St. Paul, MN: Graywolf Press, 2004. [PDF]
2. Henry Sayre, "Performance," Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2nd edition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995. [PDF]
3. Donald E. Pease, "Author," Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2nd edition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995. [PDF]
4. Annabel Patterson, "Intention," Critical Terms for Literary Study, 2nd edition. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1995. [PDF]
5. Willie Perdomo, Where a Nickel Costs a Dime.

Willie Perdomo, Where a Nickel Costs a Dime
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1. View Lemon's performances at his Web site:
2. Explore the Def Poetry Jam videos available at YouTube, viewing at least 10 performed poems of your choice.

Write a brief analysis (about 200 words) of one of the poems assigned for class, be it by Willie Perdomo, Lemon, or a Def Poet of your choice. Focus on what elements of its performance contribute to your interpretation of the poem. Post it before class as a comment on this message.


Viviana said...

The poem I chose was Shihan’s “This Type of Love.” First of all, I chose this poem because two years ago a close friend of mine gave me a written copy of the poem and told e to check it out. When I first read this poem I thought it did a good job representing all the things that go through our minds when we are “in love.” Shihan does not only accentuate the good things about being “in love” but also involves the bad things and the imperfections of it. When I saw his performance, I liked this poem even more. While reciting his poem he seems very excited and energetic about expressing his feelings for the woman he loves, while in certain areas he mimics the reactions described in the poem as he recites it. For example, there is a part in the poem in which he says he would like to talk to that person he loves until he is left breathless, because she is the one that leaves him breathless, at the same time he says that all he needs to do is expand his lungs, then he pauses and inhales, and afterwards he says that this will allow him to inhale her back into him. The way he acts out this part just adds up to the feeling he is describing and makes the audience feel the same way he does or did when describing what he felt for his wife.

Maria said...

Well, I chose Willie Perdomo's super famous "Nigger-Reecan Blues." I had read this poem many times for other courses but never had I once heard it. The audio performance was enlightening because I always had probles with the full understanding of the poem due to its multiplicity of voices. After listening to it, I finally got the full plot thanks to the way Perdomo portrays all the different characters in the poem. If you listen carefully the is a unique voice assigned to every person that is present in "Nigger-Reecan Blues" and the conversation finally becomes clear where one figures out who says what and why.

janice said...

I chose Patricia Smith's poem "Skinhead" from season 2 Def Poetry Jam. I decide to comment on this poem, because I used her poetry in the class I am teaching this semester. When I first came across it on YouTube, I didn't know what to expect, because of the title of the poem "Skinhead", and it being perform ed by Patricia Smith. But after watching her perform this poem, I immediately loved it. Her performance of this poem is amazing as she transforms her self into a racist white male, with a superiority complex. Reading this poem on its own, I find causes the reader to feel strong hatred towards this character. And if the reader is not aware of who wrote the poem it also causes them to wonder if, in fact the author of the poem shares these same ideals. It's a great poem to use in the classroom and discuss with students.

Blanca said...

I chose a poem by Alicia Keys called P.O.W. which means prisoner of words. I see two ways of looking at this poem. One way could be to see it as a love poem and another way could be to see it as a political poem, a poem of escape. Through out the entire poem Keys continues to compare the action of staying silent to being in prison. She mentions we create our own cell by not speaking our minds. She also mentioned in the poem that P.O.W. does not mean prisoner of war but that it means prisoner of words. If looked at as a love poem it could be viewed as a lover rebelling against her partner, complaining to herself that if she would have said something things might have been different and she might not have been in the state that she is now in. She only blames herself. If looked at as a political poem it might mean that an individual is regretting staying silent upon the abuses he/she sees around him. This silence creates a jail cell because it oppresses the individual in the "cell" as it also oppresses the victim itself. If this person were to say something maybe that would have made a difference. We have to start out somewhere. Reading this poem should be interesting but the passion that Keys put into it made it come to life. She acted it out and her facial and bodily expressions spoke louder than words. That is the beauty of a def poetry jam:performance vs the actual reading of the poem.

Zaira said...

I selecte Sandra Mearia Esteves' book of poems. The book is "titled "Bluestown Mockingbird Mambo". I liked the book because ot has many elements of the Puerto Rican cultue such as: vocabulary words, cultural traits and unique language (Spanglish). I am still deciding on the specific poems because I have not finished reading the whole book yet. Until now I am considering as one of the poems "Afterbirth". This poems presents different ways in which various types of women are perceived from daughters to whores but it ends up being a hymn of praisal to them. Still in the proces of identifying the others.

Zaira said...

Sorry guys, had a huge brain fart and thougtt the entry had to do with the essay proposal

Gerardo M. said...

Gerardo Muniz Villalon
The poem I chose to analyze was French Roast by Willie Perdommo from the collection of smoking lovely, the poem gives off a sense of patterning in a witty way when it is listened to. Not only does the pronunciation of the words and the stresses given to the words give the poem its unique way of resounding with the reader but it also allows for a better understanding of what the speaker is feeling in the precise moment. It is definitely a big turn to the poem having it’s audio counterpart while it is being read. The difference makes it for an improvement.

Antonio said...

Since I am working on my thesis, which is on the use of gay and lesbian literature, I decided to look for a video of Emanuel Xavier (who is a gay Nuyorican poet) on Def Poetry Jam. The poem I chose is titled “Tradiciones” and it basically talks about the different traditions or ways that we are supposed to do things, ways in which we are supposed to act. Then the author of the poem says that he wants to break all those traditions. Some of the examples that he mentions is having to respect elders when elders don’t respect the young, and break the different stereotypes involving the Latino community.

I had read this poem a while ago, but seeing him perform it was totally different. One thing is to read the poem, and another is to see it, and hear it, come to life. The tone in the poet’s voice, his attitude, and his body language give life to this poem. It’s just like when a singer really lives and channels the song he or she is singing, it makes it even better, more special.

Karen said...

The poem that I liked the most is “Where I’m From” by Willie Perdomo. When I first read the poem I liked it but I did not get really into the emotions of it. When I read it the second time I did it but this time at the same time that I was reading I was listening to the audio and I loved it. It is never the same reading and reaction without listening the poet actually “perform” or read the poem. I liked the audio with the reading better because one can really get into the poem and speaker’s feelings and situations. I really like the way in which Perdomo talks and I could really get into the different emotions and in a way feel what the speaker is feeling, specially the fourth stanza in which the woman is begging her husband to stop beating her and yells calling out her mother. I believe situations like that can be seen in here and in so many different nations throughout the world. This poem is definitely a very strong poem, it has many emotions; from sad feelings, hatred, to pleasant memories and I could transport myself to almost every one of those situations and feelings. We are living in a very difficult world and we see things like that in different families.

Wi Hong Ng said...

After browsing through the list of performances from def jam poetry, I found myself wanting to choose a performance from an asian american just because I want to represent my people the same way they have represented me. Of the clips that I found, I’m going to talk about Beau Sia as Alvin Lau’s “what tiger said” requires us to know about a comment from Tiger Woods, one that I could not find. Anyhow, Beau Sia was a interesting fellow as his performance started out as if he was giving an introduction to his performance. However it turned out to be part of his performance and the informal, colloquial language he uses soon turns into a poetic performance as he soon starts using rhythm and meter in his performance. In his performance, Beau ask for those in the entertainment industry to take notice of him and how he is willing to play the role of a stereotypical asian in any hollywood film. He says how he is willing to be cast in any stereotypical role such as a “korean grocery store owner or a computer expert.” what first sounds like a plea to getting a job in the entertainment industry becomes more of criticism to the industry and to the asian community who still allow themselves to be stereotyped and how they easily give in to the entertainment business and play those roles... Shame on them and shame on me.

ほし said...

I chose Def Poetry Jam's "Yellow Rage" performance. Why? Well...first of all, there's the situation of having people perceive you a certain way because you are a certain race. Asian, Hispanic, Black, etc, we are all subject to perceptions of others and it's nice (albeit a bit scary) to see someone react to that.

Obviously, if this poem was text-only, the reaction we would have to it would be different. These two girls were so full of rage, it seemed that there was no room to dialogue, to try to carry a moment of understanding between the two parties. If it were just a text, perhaps people wouldn’t be as entertained or, as some people have reacted to it, shocked and appalled.

Of course, it is entertaining, but, I believe that while you can see the audience laughing and seemingly enjoying it, this poem can serve to further perpetuate a discrimination of the minority it represents. Why? Because of the violence this performance. There were other performances that send up the perceptions that are had of minorities, but they used humor to defuse and force the audience to reinterpret their thoughts regarding the minority. Violence against violence doesn’t make much sense.

Wilmarie said...

I was pleasantly surprised by the scope of poetry performed in Def Poetry Jams, and I was actually impressed by the depth attained by several of the poets, from people I've never heard of like Suheir Hammad, to more commonly encountered Dave Chapelle. I want to comment on the Def Poet session performed by Otep. She's a heavy metal musician, which is what drew me to her video in the first place.

Her poem, titled "Dedicated to my enemy", is a very visceral poem, delivered in a way that makes the action of the poem seem very drastic. She speaks in short, cropped sentences, often confusing the audience, who seem perplexed as to when to actually respond to the words Otep is saying. The use of caesura, also, helps keep this effect recurrent throughout the poem.

Much of the poem's content is related to violence, namely violence the poet's mother suffered on the hands of an abusive partner. In a particularly uneasy moment, she mimics the man's striking her mother by repeatedly slamming her stomach with her fist. The audience's reaction, as expected, is one of alarm. From there, however, Otep moves the scope of the poetic themes towards a much wider venue: society itself and our perception of women as "breeders and not thinkers". She claims to be the one to "let them down", as she strives to prove that, regardless of what her father had done to her mother, of what she perceived was the damage done by societal stereotypes, what truly matters is finding your own identity and "simply be me".