Its true that you’ll find what you’re looking for once you stop searching. I had some realizations about poetry in my education class today. Even though my T/TR block is an education course, it’s an English class too. We learn how to teach English. That course is my happy place, combining two elements I love, and aspire to learn about persistently, throughout both my life and career.
We examined 3 poems/creative NF pieces, which are high-school age appropriate, but range in meaning and style. One poem by Seamus Heaney relayed the death of Heaney’s younger brother and how Heaney returned home from college in order to deal with the loss. Another poem “Things I Lost” by Brian Arundel is a busy, creative NF piece in which Arundel narrates a list of all of the things he has lost, and their significance or lack thereof. One of the more funnier lines reads, “My virginity: in 1980, a couple weeks short of 16, in a ritual so brief, awkward and forgettable that I have, in fact, forgotten it. ” This piece reminds me of how we can use snapshots of places and time periods to garner familiarity, association, and in order to serve as settings. In addition, Arundel’s piece reaches out to so many readers, despite dedicating its contents to specific things that Arundel misplaced. For example, he says, “My shit, figuratively, that same summer when Bob Weir sang “Looks Like Rain” just as my acid trip was peaking at a two-night Dead stand in Roanoke, Va”, which made me jump and say “MOM!” because I know full-well that my parents were there, probably.
After sifting through these works, my prof had us pull out “objects” that drove the story. For Arundel’s work, there was an object or item in every single sentence. For Heaney’s I drew an integral object from the line, “A four-foot box, a foot for every year” which despairingly indicates how young Heaney’s brother was when he died. Whether it’s Arundel’s virginity or “shit” or the coffin in Heaney’s family home, these objects are utilized by the writer to incite recognition in the readers. You may be saying “duh, that’s why writers select metaphor and symbolism and every other literary device to enhance their work”. Despite my understanding of how and why we write in order to convey meaning, it never occurred to me that almost all of my poems, as well as so many poems I’ve come across, build themselves upon a single object. Often we include several objects, feelings, scenes etc in our works, but do we realize that our inspiration usually appears when our eye catches something and our mind shouts, “BINGO!”? I know for me, this is constantly the case.
Tomorrow I’m handing in a poem that I’m really excited about, and I think the piece exemplifies how my writing initiates on a single matter. For my boy friend’s birthday, I blew up a big shiny dollar store balloon with my own breath, because I didn’t have Helium. Even though the balloon looked like the real deal, it would sink to the floor unless it was taped to the wall. Revisiting pictures of the party reminded me of this balloon, and I reflected on the pathetic existence of the balloon: it made itself appear like a real balloon, but without any reinforcement, it couldn’t fly on its own. Thus sprang my latest poem.
I think my post comes at a pretty appropriate time, considering how Lytton has us working on writing about ideas and specifically things, although he’s challenged us to write in a discreet manner. Feel free to share any of your other objects here, that you think could invite some writing. As a bonus question, I’d also like to know about some of your favorite symbols outside of texts, and what they mean for you in/outside of writing. For me, I will always love the roses in American Beauty. After Inception came out, I had one friend become obsessed with spinning tops. Tell me yours!