Monday, March 3, 2014

February 24

Poems for February 24:

Spring is like a perhaps hand by E.E. Cummings
New Year's by Dana Gioia
Chorus of the Mothers-Griot by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers
First Snow by Mary Oliver
The Same Cold by Stephen Dunn

What poems entice you? How does manner, message, sound affect you? What makes a poem individually and universally memorable? pleasurable?
Here is my pick: Note how the parentheses are arranged, the capitalization of Nowhere and Hand in the Cummings. For reading aloud, have one person read what's in parentheses, and the other what's not.
What arises?

How many meanings do you associate with "hand"? (clock, God, farmhand, on one hand, and the other, over and under hand, etc.) How does the "perhaps hand" in line 1 feel different from the 1st and 2nd lines of the 3rd stanza: perhaps/Hand in a window...
What effect do the singing repetitions of the gerunds create? arranging/changing/placing/moving/breaking?
What surprises? What do you feel about the uncertainty of Spring? How does Cummings capture this?

For the "Chorus" have three voices for each column, with a 4th voice to read the middle single line
(amnesiac wood)
(sailing knot to knot)
(jealous sharks)
(on the battlefield)
(in God's name)

Then, read across with one voice, and the middle column with a second voice.

We found in the Rundel group that reading the poem this way allowed for a mosaic of all that could not be said, where every bracketed phrase is part of a story, brought to life by the Griot. Chorus as voices all together; chorus as Greek chorus to empower, explain, support, comment on a story. Discussion on this poem revolved around code-speak, examining the placements and repetitions, imagining the "i" in "i say". One could research Phillis Wheatley, first black woman poet (1753-1784) and Lucille Clifton, two more female speakers who "remember stories of their stolen kin."

For "First Snow" read line by line and again up to an exclamation point/period to contrast how the eye/ear and syntax work.

For "The Same Cold" since it is one long stanza, where, if you were in charge of the poem, would you put a stanza break if any? How would that change the effect ?

In the Rundel group we had fun comparing these two poems -- the lyric and the gritty -- the light-footed "rhetorical and oracular" of Mary Oliver and Dunn's dead-battery dawn.

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