Every high school has one of those mythological teachers–the one who is a life-changer, a challenger, and possibly immortal. I had that teacher during my senior year of high school, Mr. Trosey, and it was in his AP Lit classroom where I first really fell in love with crafting poetry. It’s hard to explain him in one blog post so I will try to give some key details about him: he worked at my high school for 30+ years and had students and their children, he looked like hadn’t aged a day, he wore tailored suits (light linen ones in hot weather), he spoke barely above a whisper, he had us analyze Emily Dickinson’s “The last night that she lived” for 7 months (line by line, punctuation mark by punctuation mark–perhaps that’s why I love m-dashes), and he was a notoriously hard grader. I heard from previous students that he was mysterious and probably a vampire. What was he hiding in those classroom closets? (Pillows.) You, gasp, sat in a circle for discussion and there were pillows and blankets in the middle of the circle if you wanted to sit in the “cave.” I could write pages and pages about this teacher but he was one of the first teachers who really encouraged me to enter English and creative writing. And although many students hated his poetry assignments, he was my first exposure to writing a mini-collection of ekphrastic poetry. Continue reading “T. Trosey–The Man, The Legend/How I Fell in Love with Poetry”
When Erika Meitner visited our last class, we began with a small exercise: name the least poetic place you could think of. There were lots of bathrooms, gas/truck stations, bureaucratic places like the DMV and even a fridge. We all seemed to nod or laugh in agreement when we heard each person name their choice. My choice was the Valero gas station on Rt 63. It’s incredibly grimy and there the layout to pay inside is horrible (but paying 5 cents less for gas is an excellent perk). Nevertheless, why was this the first place I thought of? Why did others think of industrial or modern spaces? Continue reading “What Makes a Place Unpoetic?”
Yesterday, after picking up my roommate at the airport, I had to drive her to her lab in the ISC to feed her cells. Currently they’re looking at cancer cells and watching growth patterns. She said I could see the lab if I drove her there after the airport and I figured why not. When we walked into the lab room (which was a lot messier than I expected), she prepared herself (ie. washed hands, put on the goggles, and other lab safety things) and like a kid in a china shop, I walked around the room with my hands behind my back. Then I found a seat at the middle lab table strewn with plastic pipettes, lab packets, highlighters, empty petri dishes, and other items that shouted biology. At the table, I saw a lab packet with a paper towel note explaining that the one lab partner used a specific chemical but he promised to replace it soon and not to worry. Because I tend to be a little mischievous I decided to leave a note too.
In class today, Lytton quoted Aristotle and his views on what makes a narrative and whether or not Myung Mi Kim’s Dura fits this definition or not. Kim defends the collection and says that it has a clear narrative while many of us wholeheartedly disagree. By Aristotle’s standards, is all poetry narrative? If all lines in a poem (beginning, middle, and end) are in conversation with each other and thus causally relate to each other, is the poem a narrative? Is Dura a narrative? Continue reading “Are All Poems Narratives?”
Folks in the humanities like to argue that their jobs will never be taken over by machines. Surely poets who write from the heart can never be replaced. Computer-generated poetry would like to argue that it can. Continue reading “Bot or Not?”
When I was younger, I always wanted a set of magnet poetry so I could write something cute (but most likely just silly) on the fridge. For some reason or another, I never thought about asking for it. No one in my family writes poetry and none of them read it. The fridge is a shared space and although my report cards and little kid artwork went up on the fridge, asking for magnet poetry was unfathomable. Then I went to college and my roommate had a fun set of “college-themed” ones. We used it on our white board outside of our rooms and we would always come back to something new.
I’ve been trying to visualize poetry, specifically writing poetry, in order to make it accessible for non-poets or those who are afraid of poetry. What is the right (or at least a decent) metaphor that is simple but contains enough complexity and nuance to explain the genre? I want my family and friends to be able to enjoy poetry without feeling intimidated. My solution is Legos. Continue reading “Is Poetry a Puzzle? (Or is it Legos?)”