So Many Ants, So Little Time

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FINAL PORTFOLIO PART 1:

This is only the beginning…

I was hesitant to write any sort of background information, but it might be helpful for some. These two videos tell about a mans journey through depression. There are three “characters”–the depressed man, his thoughts in the form of poems, and his friend– that come into play. The first video is more about the heart of depression, if there is one, while the second video is him venturing too far deep into depression that it evokes madness. The second video seems all over the place, because that is how I was hoping to capture how his mind was working.

Enjoy

Montevidayo

As I was scrolling through the Montevidayo blog page, I came across the post “Japanese Gurlesque Molly Bendall on Kazuko Shiraishi,” by Jahannes. Automatically, I was pulled in by the picture of the horse and The Gurlesque. She was not afraid to be different. Soon, I came to realize that my judgement had not been far off at all, and throughout the 60’s and 70’s she was producing “risqué, outlandish poems”. 

Kazuko Shiraishi, just from this post, has this witty, sex symbol persona that allows her to break down the walls of taboo and allow her readers to experience another perspective. Her poems are amazingly descriptive and creates vivid images while you read, and also recites her poetry with a jazz band in the background. All of these qualities separate her from the norm. She is wild and seems to be a powerful woman figure. Though, from reading the few poems added in this post, they have depth and complexity, that has left me baffled by the meanings but also in awe as she writes these interesting topics so distinctly personal. 

 

 

Literary Reading Review on David Shapiro

On October 24, I was about to experience a poetry reading by David Shapiro. This was the first time that I was in person listening to a poet recite his poems, and it felt anticlimactic. Throughout this session, he read from his newest book, New and selected Poems and from another older book that he had published. Not only did we experience him reading, but we also learned about his life as an exceptional violinist, as a father, and as a poem critic. He told us about his struggle between his two passions: writing poetry and playing the violin, and expressed the difficulties of trying to “do everything”. David emphasized that it cannot be done. One of the two will always get cut short.

 

Another interesting comment that he made was about his sons poetry. He told us that his son had started writing poetry around an extremely young age, possibly around the age of 4, and that those were the best poems that his son has ever written. This was extremely pertinent to David’s writing, because he believes that his best writing is when he tries to recreate the thoughts of a young child. The simplicity that children have is hard to grasp as the years go on, and it allows the poems to hold grand significance. Lastly, he talked about what it is like to produce bad poetry. And this part of the session stuck with me, because I truly believed that there was no such thing as bad poetry. I was under the impression that each poem held a certain weight of significance, and that poems were hard to compare to any scale. Though, he was adamant about how some poets have gone back and rewritten works of art and come out with worse poetry.

 

Now, even though the actual comments David made were quite interesting, his actually reading could not hold my interest. I felt like it would have really helped if I could see the poems as he was reading them, because he sometimes could not be heard and other times he went too fast. Also, I have heard a lot about how the poems can come to life when read, and I just did not feel that with his reading. Though, his poems were quite interesting and seemed indirectly connected.

 

After the event, I looked up some other poems by David, and found “Princess Summer Fall Winter Spring”. From what I can tell, David has a wild range of topics for his poems, and this one fits right into that broad range. This poem tells of a contestant in this beauty pageant, and expresses the sadness of the situation. She has sacrificed a lot to get to where she is now, yet she is completely alone. Though, I like how it is so curt and yet, I feel as if he has put himself into the shoes of this miss universe character instead of the outsiders view of this type of activity. I believe there might be another hidden message inside of this poem, which is also intriguing. It seems simple, but most of his poems have deeper meanings.

 

Overall, David Shapiro’s reading has allowed me to take away wholesome lessons about pursing anything deeply and that writing is critiqued and should be to allow writers to not move backwards, and instead improve their writing. Even though the reading itself distanced myself from the actual text, his writings were informative and personal. This experience has definitely encouraged me to check out other writers performing.

 

 

 

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My Interaction with “Strings” by Dan Waber

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As I perused the different Electronic Literature Collection, I came across a plethora of amazing works of art. Though, Strings, the Flash project by Dan Waber caught my attention. The concept of incorporating movement and handwriting into emotion stunned me. Even though I feel like I do this naturally while I write myself, creating this on the computer opened up a whole new world.

At first, the squiggly lines seemed like just that. I felt detached and distant from this piece, because at first glance, they all looked the same. Though, the second time I interacted with Strings, the words came to life. It was as if they were dancing on the screen, and as intended, portraying a certain emotion.

The first action displayed an argument. The plain words “yes” and “no” jolted from left to right. I felt like I was a bystander, and a couple was bantering about if pizza seemed like a good dinner choice. Though, apposed to the next argument, it was clear that this situation was simple in its form and in the situation about dinner. The lines had limited movement and there seemed little room for gray areas. Interacting with argument 2 proved to be more complex. It was as if the couple had decided on dinner, at the pizzeria, but was on the edge of deciding to go to the movies after. Finally, after “yessing” and “noing”, someone gave in and offered a “maybe”. Also, instead the lines having limited expression, these words jumped all around the screen, and at some points the single words hesitated in the middle as if they were battling each other.

Though, out of all the different actions given, flirt (cntd) became my favorite. The lines transformed into words in such a fluid way. They switched shapes so delicately. Each time “yes” came across the screen, I could feel the progression of how it is to flirt. It starts off uneasy and nervous, just as the “yes” would do when it would sneak onto the screen from the corners, and then it intensifies and engrosses you, which can be experienced when the “yes” swirls in and out of the middle of the screen. This one snippet of the piece really demonstrated the fluidity of how flirting could potentially be. Comparing the first flirt to the second, the lines are rigid and slow. I believe it could be demonstrating the awkward and not mutual interaction. Even as the lines crossed the screen, they never fully produced a word, kind of how this flirting experience has a negative feel to it, as if it were never going to turn into anything at all.

Overall, the piece allowed you to put stories behind the word formation and emotion. Not only do you find out that all the separate activities have their own style, but also display different scenarios. It is hard to imagine words without emotion in the first place, so including movement in the lines just seemed to complete word itself.

Subway

The rails have a way of only clattering in the distance

It is the rustling of the T-straps, the placing of the briefcases

Cramped, crowded

Yet beautifully lit

Reflecting the day to reach gloom and hunger

For something fresh, transitory

It speeds up, conversations grow

and yet he sits there, with that head ever so low

It is him who is removed, the rest amalgamated “subwayers”

Four more stops and his destination will near

Only to flump into bed and recite the dreadful three week prayer

He has lost another job, but music is his passion

And the noise of life is his fear

Lily Furedi, Subway, 1934

Lily Furedi, Subway, 1934