Tag-Line: John Keats

“The poetry of the earth is never dead.” - John Keats

I often remind myself that even amidst the coming of winter, when trees wither and die, that the cycle is still magnificent. There is a subtle beauty in death that Keats recognized and drew inspiration from in his poem: “On the Grasshopper and the Cricket.” Each season is beautiful in its own ways. With winter comes the end of another cycle and in a few months time it will start all over again with new life.

Truly profound writers draw inspiration in the most unlikely of places. The ability to draw from the unconventional exhibits an intuitive perception that artists can use to create a masterpiece. Writers are the artists of words, the architects of imagination. The page is our canvas. We create worlds and shape lives. To some extent, we are the Gods of our own universes.

You’ve Just Been Tagged

“Truth is stranger than fiction, but that is because fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities. Truth isint.” – Mark Twain

This weeks tagline comes from the man with undoubtedly one of the greatest mustaches I’ve ever seen: Mark Twain. This quote presents an interesting parallel. As a society we are exposed to entertainment outlets at seemingly every waking moment of lives. Even when we don’t have access to a television, the internet follows us on our daily exploits via our smartphones, tablets, laptop computers etc. We are bombarded with a constant fictional perspective through pop culture icons, television shows, movies, and video games. This consistent exposure to such media has been opposed by many. The argument has been made time and time again that we as a society allow ourselves too much exposure. This argument is not entirely invalid, however what would it be like if we were robbed of these luxuries? What if all of our televisions were broken, our books burned, our internet shut down? Would society sink into despair, forced to face the harsh inconsistencies of reality?

With a little fiction comes the hope that no matter what reality we are faced with that, with a little effort, we will emerge victorious. There is a power in fiction that reality can never satisfy. Alternatively, too much fiction breeds a society of hopeless dreamers. We may become disillusioned, losing faith in what is real and true, and replacing truth with the ambiguity of fiction.

Who Is Mark Twain? by Flash Rosenberg – YouTube.

Tag. You’re it.

“History is a cyclic poem written by time upon the memories of man.” – Percy Bysshe Shelley

This week’s tagline comes from one of the major English romantic poets, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Shelley was considered far too radical in his poetry as well as his political and social views to become famous during his lifetime. He was expelled from Oxford after professing atheism in a piece called “the Necessity of Atheism.” This led to an early pattern of marginalization and ostracism from intellectual and political entities of the time. He did however surround himself with some of the most progressive thinkers of the day, including philosopher William Goodwin. Shelley continued to write poetry, though most publishers refused to publish him for fear of being arrested for blasphemy or sedition. He never lived to see himself become an idol to generations of poets to come.

And, come on, his wife wrote Frankenstein. (Mary Shelley)

Truly profound writers are compelled to make the statements that weigh upon their souls regardless of opposition. I think that we, as writers and scholars of modern society, should view Shelley as an example of a writer who never abandoned his convictions. An author has a duty to his or her self as well as to their readers to express their vision regardless of what society deems acceptable. If Shelley’s rejection had caused him to quit, or to dramatically alter his ideals, we would never have seen some of his most profound works.

Here is a link to one of his more famous works of poetry. I found it fitting due to the change in the winds. Fall is just around the corner. Can you feel it?

Tagline-ness

First of all, I’m terribly sorry that this is late.  The “plan” has been to change the tagline on Saturdays and provide a post detailing the writer and/or work on Sundays.  Well, I could describe my weekend to you and make excuses, but I doubt you care.  So, it didn’t happen and I’m sorry.

This week, I’m going to focus more on the book that this quote comes from than the author herself.  Though I will say that Gerd Brantenberg is a genius.

Her creation, Egalia’s Daughters, is the best satire that I’ve ever read.  I don’t think that I’ve actually read many, so let me rephrase–this book is now one of my all time favorites.

I recently finished reading this book for my sociology of gender class.  (Yes, this is once again from class.  But you have to realize that reading is an integral part of said classes and I don’t have much time for “pleasure” reading.)  I say that Brantenberg is a genius because she took our society (1977 Norway) and flipped the gender roles.

In Egalia, the female (fele) people are wim instead of women while male (mafele) people are menwim not men.  Confused?

It can be confusing at first when you start reading this novel.  Once you pick out the terminology that Brantenberg has created for her matriarchy, it’s hard not to get sucked into this world.  Then again, I read this book as a woman.  I’m not sure how men read this, but I do know that the ones who had to read this in our class expressed some uncomfortable feelings towards this book.

As a woman, I can read about Petronius’s dread towards shopping for his first peho and giggle at my memories of shopping for my first bra.  ”If Dad came with him, he and the shop assistant would stand there discussing the length, colour and quality interminably.  Ought he to have a size five with a B-tube or a size six with an A-tube, they would debate, sizing him up with their heads cocked to one side, pretending that having a penis was the most natural thing in the world” (Brantenberg, 13).

The reaction of a man reading this is probably “what the heck?!  Why would they have to do something so ridiculous?”  But that’s the same reaction that the people of Egalia have towards the bra.  ”‘What would wim say if we told them they had to hoist up their breasts in some stupid sling, the way we have to wear a peho?  If we said that without something to support their breasts, they looked droopy and ugly and unattractive?’  They all laughed and raised their glasses” (Brantenberg, 185).

 

I think that Brantenberg’s purpose in creating Egalia is so that both males and females might understand how sexist different aspects of our society is.  There are some things that you can’t simply sit down and tell somebody that “this isn’t fair” and expect them to understand.  This novel places men in women’s shoes and shines light on things that even women may not have realized was sexist.

She shows us what words, abuse, rape, menstruation, giving birth, working, family life, feminism, homosexuality, body image, clothing, and many other things look like in our patriarchy by placing the situations in a matriarchy.

It’s brilliance.

Maybe I should try to turn this in with my test tomorrow?

Did you see?

“See what?” you might be wondering…the tag-line of course!  It’s that time again.

This week’s tag-line is from Robert Frost’s poem “My Butterfly,” which you can read at the end of this post.  I’m going to try to switch every week between contemporary authors and those who are no longer with us.  I think that the latter are going to keep coming from the American Literature class I’m currently in.

Something that we talked about is the fact that most people picture Frost as this elderly almost Santa Claus like figure who writes happy poems.  I was one such person that pictured him this way.

Whenever I thought of Robert Frost, I think of “The road not taken“, or “Stopping by woods on a snowy evening“.  Neither of which left me with any dark thoughts, if that makes sense.  But that’s also because I’ve only looked at it on a surface level.  I’m not one to analyze poetry down until you think you have the meaning of the placement of every word, so I’ll leave that to other minds.

It’s strange to think about people reading my work and trying to analyze it.

Back to Robert Frost, I was introduced to the poem “Out, Out–” this month.  You don’t have to dig deeper to find something other than Saint Nick like thoughts…

A little boy doing a man’s work, which was normal at the time, dies.  He bleeds to death after his hand is cut off by the saw he was using.  At the end of the poem, his family “since they / Were not the one dead, returned to their affairs.”  It was a time when they didn’t have enough time to spend on mourning.  There was work to be done.

Robert Frost was born in America in 1874, but moved to England when he was eleven-years-old.  If you listen to him reading his poems by clicking on the links above, you may be able to pick out pieces of his British accent.

The following is the poem where the tag-line comes from.
Continue reading

Tag-line Time!

This week’s tag-line is from Anne Bishop’s Daughter of the Blood, Book1 of the Black Jewels Trilogy turned series.  It wound up being nine novels long instead of just three.

I discovered this first book on my shelf last year.  God only knows when I bought it or where from, but it was one that I hadn’t touched in a while.  I zipped through all of the books in this series last year.  I’m not sure what it is about her writing, but I find it so delicious that I can’t put Bishop’s books down.

When the last book came out in hardcover, I dished out the cash and bought it.  Normally, I have the rule of not buying a book until it comes out in paperback; I don’t like spending that kind of money.  But I had to have this book.

The characters are so compelling that you can’t help but fall in love with them.  It requires a certain level of writing to make your readers feel genuine attachment to fictional beings.  The plot has many intricate layers and just the right tone of darkness.

Here is a list of her works, and check out her official website.  You can buy her books at Barnes & Noble’s website.

The back of Daughter of the Blood reads:

Seven hundred years ago, a Black Widow witch saw an ancient prophecy come to life in her dazzling web of dreams and visions.

Now the Dark Realm readies itself for the arrival of its Queen, a witch who will wield more power than even the High Lord of Hell himself.  But she is still young, still open to influence–and corruption.

Whoever controls the Queen controls the Darkness.  Three men–sworn enemies–know that.  And they know the power that hides behind the blue eyes of an innocent young girl.  And so begins a ruthless game of politics and intrigue, magic and betrayal, where the weapons are hate and love..and the prize could be terrible beyond imagining…

Bishop, Anne. Daughter of the Blood. New York: New American Library, 1998. Print.

Did you Notice the Tag-line?

This week’s tag-line (the print in italics way up top of the page on the right) is a quote from Walt Whitman’s poem “Song of Myself.”  Hopefully this tag-line will be changed once a week to some other quote, followed by a brief discussion.  I say “hopefully” because this intern doesn’t have the best memory; you should see her to-do list.

Anyways, Walt Whitman self published this poem in his book Leaves of Grass in 1855.  It caused quite a stir as it challenged the way that people saw life and writing.

Not only did it capture a captive audience of readers, but of writers as well.  Ralph Waldo Emerson sent Whitman a personal letter of encouragement.

Whitman broke the mold.  He wrote in free verse, long flowing lines without rhyme, without set stopping points or any kind of rules.  There was no such thing as “appropriate” writing either.  Sex was not a voodoo topic in his eyes.

The first time that I encountered this man, in high school, the two of us didn’t quite see eye to eye.  I thought he was conceited and that his verse was boring.  Looking at it now (for my American literature II class) I enjoy reading his work, and I don’t find his conceitedness out of place.  The later is, in a way, an every-man sort of thing.

Why shouldn’t we all love ourselves?  Why not “go bathe and admire” ourselves?

Walt Whitman lived for 69 years in an America that would seem foreign from our own, and yet he is still opening doors for us as we read his verse and prose.

The following is an excerpt from the 1881-1882 version of Leaves of Grass.

I speak the pass-word primeval, I give the sign of democracy, by God! I will

accept nothing which all cannot have their counterpart of on the same terms.

Through me many long dumb voices,

Voices of the interminable generations of prisoners and slaves,

Voices of the diseas’d and despairing and of thieves and dwarfs,

Voices of cycles of preparation and accretion,

And of the thread that connect the stars, and of wombs and of the father-stuff,

And of the rights of them the others are down upon, of the defrom’d, trivial, flat,

 foolish, despised, fog in the air, beetles rolling balls of dung.

Through me forbidden voices,

Voices of sexes and lusts, voices veil’d and I remove the veil,

Voices indecent by me clarified and transfigur’d.

I do not press my fingers across my mouth

I keep as delicate around the bowels as around the head and heart,

Copulation is no more rank to me than death is.

Check out the Whitman Archive and Sherman Alexie’s poem “Defending Walt Whitman.”