Please answer original forum with a minimum of 250 words
Respond to both students on separate pages with a minimum of 100 each
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Part I: The poets chosen for this week are among the leading poets of contemporary American literature; however, there are many others. Locate and read four poems by a Postmodern American author of your choice from the included list. How do you see this author as fitting into post-modernism? Be sure to connect with the poems you selected. Doing some biographical research may also be helpful. Be sure to share the link(s) to the poems you read.
Part II: One contemporary trend in poetry is known loosely as the “confessional mode,” in which the poet’s own life becomes an important element of the subject of his or her poetry. The three assigned poets clearly work in the confessional vein to some extent. How do they keep their poems from being merely about themselves?
Part III. You probably know John Grisham better from his novels than from his journalistic essays. In what ways does his magazine essay, included in our text, seem “fictional” to you–not necessarily fictional in the sense of things being made up, but rather in terms of style or writing technique?
Part I: .
I chose to learn more about Robert Duncan. Duncan’s biological mother died during childbirth and he was adopted and raised by a couple who followed the occult type religion, theosophy, which believes heavily in reincarnation and “essential oneness of spirit”. This upbringing had a clear impact on Duncan’s poems and on the post-modernism era. He chose to write about religion, ones changing beliefs and values, and questioning the why of the universe. His biographical information is here: https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poet/robert-duncan
His first poem I read is “My Mother Would be a Falconress”. This is a short poem depicting his mother as a falconress and himself as a young falcon. The young falcon wants to do the hunting. He wants independence and freedom but his mother will not let him go yet for he is not ready. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/my-mother-would-be-a-falconress/
“The Song of the Borderguard” is a poem about Duncan’s shedding of religion. He talks of the sleeping lion which I think is his inner self wanting to escape the ideas and beliefs of his religious upbringing. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/the-song-of-the-borderguard/
“Often I am Permitted to Return to A Meadow” is a poem by Duncan about some happy place in his memory. He describes that he returns there often, whenever he wishes in fact. We all have fond memories of something in our childhoods and this is likely the same for Duncan. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/often-i-am-permitted-to-return-to-a-meadow/
In “Poetry, A Natural Thing”, Duncan relates poetry to a natural life cycle. He makes the point that it comes and goes just like the circle of life for animals. He was likely referring to the popularity of types of literature in its booming and waning cycles. https://www.poemhunter.com/poem/often-i-am-permitted-to-return-to-a-meadow/
I read the poems with a sense that the poets were all bitter to some extent. Whether it was bitterness at life, or at other people, I am not sure. The biggest reason I felt this way is due to the writing in “The Planned Child” by Sharon Olds. She is definitely bitter or very upset with her mother. In this way, the selected poems seem to deflect the attention to another subject other than the author yet allow the author to operate in a confessional sort of way.
I have never read a Grisham novel, so I don’t have the contextual background that most of you will likely have. I thought the magazine article was well written. It was well organized and told a good story. I think the biggest criticism I would have is that the article ended up being a plug to hook the reader into buying his new book. In this sense, the article may have been embellished to make the upcoming book seem more interesting and worth buying.
Amiri Baraka fits into post-modernism literature due to his various political leanings and literary interests throughout his life as a poet, as well as his status as an African-American male. In the 1950s, he associated with poets such as Jack Kerouac and was a part of the avant-garde community. In the 1960s, he became a Black Nationalist, and wrote literature inspired by the day-to-day struggles of African-Americans, particularly during the Civil Rights movement when the fight for equality resulted in a lot of animosity coming from racist whites and the deaths of prominent figures within the African-American community, namely Malcolm X, whose death inspired him to follow Black Nationalism. He became a Marxist in the 1970s and focused on the teachings within Marxism as an influence for his writings. He stirred up controversy by implying that Jews had something to gain from the 9/11/2001 terror attacks (which resulted from conspiracy theories that include Israel’s celebration of the attacks.) His actions labeled him as anti-Semitic. The various political leanings that Baraka held throughout his life is few of many political leanings that African-Americans have had throughout the course of modern history. His poem, “Monday in B-Flat”, is a bit of criticism of the Christianity religion and law enforcement. Within the African-American community, there’s a growing number of people who are shunning Christianity for its roots in American slavery and returning to spirituality that was repressed by white slave owners who needed to be able to control their slaves to benefit from the trade they had forced them to do back-breaking work for. There’s also the growing animosity between law enforcement, some upper middle-class white business owners and citizens, and the African-American community due to the various hate crimes and non-incidents in which law-abiding citizens of color were arrested or accused of fitting within the stereotype of being thieves, murderers, or just being unable to afford the affluence found within the white upper middle class (the incident in St. Louis where a black man was blocked from going to his penthouse by a white female resident.) It’s a disappointing reflection of what is going on in modern-day America today. “Notes for a Speech” is reflective of the two different mindsets within the black community that is common today: that of equality with white Americans and the Black Nationalist stance of not trusting whites and choosing to only unite with like-minded people within the black community with no outside whites either offering their olive branch of peace and unity or further destroying the black community through division and miseducation. “Wise I” is a reflection of why African-American history and literature should be a critical part of the education of African-American children, since most history professors and teachers usually reserve this type of education for Black History Month and most elders within the black community have passed on, leaving behind a rich legacy that not many young people get interested in within their families unless it’s actively discussed. “Ka’Ba” is a reflection of how rich African-American history is, particularly when it comes to black communities within major metropolitan areas throughout the United States and its’ overbearing shadow in the form of black-on-black violence and poverty brought on by outside influences and the plea to return to greatness and prosperity originally held within those communities in the form of businesses owned by blacks and local government officials who are African-American and know how to help their people benefit from investing in themselves and their community in order to thrive. All of these reflections for these poems were inspired by my own journey into my family genealogy, my parents’ experiences growing up during the Civil Rights era, some of the untold history of African-Americans and their contributions to American society, business, and culture, and the recent outrage at the publicized events involving African-Americans who were arrested or accused of “living while black”.
“After Making Love in Winter” is the universal feeling of having spent a physical intimate moment with a person you have connected with, particularly after the climax of things and things are calming down afterwards. Since it takes place during the winter, the poem is reflective of how close we want to get to the person we love, especially when it’s cold outside and you’ve spent an enjoyable moment expressing your feelings on the physical level. Being intimate with your partner is a way of escaping the mad world we live in, and that’s how I look at the poem.
Since Grisham was about to publish a new novel, I feel as if he used the wrong time to make a plug for it, since the article is very well-written. His plight for the homeless shouldn’t have been used as advertising fuel for a new book. This would have worked more better as a stand-alone article criticizing the laws enacted by politicians and law enforcement to rid the country of homelessness instead of a lead-up to a book endorsement.