Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘poetry

Turning a new leaf at 16: The boy was too quick?

Do you think it is feasible to turn a new leaf in your life, unless your deficient body forces upon you an alternative world view?

Is it possible to turn a new leaf without much effort and a change in a life style?

Do we turn a new leaf before we come to grip that life is not forever?

Maggie Mae posted this poem:

“Oh young, on the day she turns over a new leaf, sun-damaged veins, shriveled death

six-feet to go, to sleep, to walk in to her dreams, flat-lined sex, drawn out of virgin delirium

strawberry fields in fast decay, on the day she turns, sixteen nights after the drunken man is fast asleep

on the edge, on metal terror pumping through her veins

this is the one, the hidden light, night fury flies past her eyes

everything is tight blood crushes blood, through life-less young eye lids she cries, he’s too fast,

a shrivelled raisin on black top oh young, that night, and what it means, the night takes, the air rips

open, stealing her lungs on the day she turns.

About Maggie Mae

“I write because I must”.  I am a poet of dark imagery.

I write what I feel and how I see the world at given moments. I love connecting with other writers and seeing life through their eyes, (in words).

If you like what you find here, please check out my chapbook, Some Things Ache In The Dark.

It is available @ http://writingknightspress.blogspot.com/2013/05/some-things-ache-in-dark-by-maggie-mae.html.

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Why Teaching Poetry Is So Important

This oft-neglected literary form can help students learn in ways that prose can’t.

Poetry is far more than Dead Poets Society . Touchstone Pictures 
16 years after enjoying a high school literary education rich in poetry, I am a literature teacher who barely teaches it.
So far this year, my 12th grade literature students have read nearly 200,000 words for my class. Poems have accounted for no more than 100.This is a shame—not just because poetry is important to teach, but also because poetry is important for the teaching of writing and reading.

High school poetry suffers from an image problem.

Think of Dead Poet’s Society‘s scenes of red-cheeked lads standing on desks and reciting verse, or of dowdy Dickinson imitators mooning on park benches, filling up journals with noxious chapbook fodder.

There’s also the tired lessons about iambic pentameter and teachers wringing interpretations from cryptic stanzas, their students bewildered and chuckling.

(Like this image of ) Reading poetry is impractical, even frivolous. High school poets are antisocial and effete.

I have always rejected these clichéd mischaracterizations born of ignorance, bad movies, and uninspired teaching.

Yet I haven’t been stirred to fill my lessons with Pound and Eliot as my 11th grade teacher did.

I loved poetry in high school. I wrote it. I read it. Today, I slip scripture into an analysis of The Day of the Locust. A Nikki Giovanni piece appears in The Bluest Eye unit. Poetry has become an afterthought, a supplement, not something to study on its own.

In an education landscape that dramatically deemphasizes creative expression in favor of expository writing and prioritizes the analysis of non-literary texts, high school literature teachers have to negotiate between their preferences and the way the wind is blowing.
That sometimes means sacrifice, and poetry is often the first head to roll.Yet poetry enables teachers to teach their students how to write, read, and understand any text.

Poetry can give students a healthy outlet for surging emotions.

Reading original poetry aloud in class can foster trust and empathy in the classroom community, while also emphasizing speaking and listening skills that are often neglected in high school literature classes.

Students who don’t like writing essays may like poetry, with its dearth of fixed rules and its kinship with rap.

For these students, poetry can become a gateway to other forms of writing. It can help teach skills that come in handy with other kinds of writing—like precise, economical diction, for example.

When Carl Sandburg writes, “The fog comes/on little cat feet,” in just six words, he endows a natural phenomenon with character, a pace, and a spirit. All forms of writing benefits from the powerful and concise phrases found in poems.

I have used cut-up poetry (a variation on the sort “popularized” by William Burroughs and Brion Gysin) to teach 9th grade students, most of whom learned English as a second language, about grammar and literary devices.

They made collages after slicing up dozens of “sources,” identifying the adjectives and adverbs, utilizing parallel structure, alliteration, assonance, and other figures of speech.

Short poems make a complete textual analysis more manageable for English language learners. When teaching students to read and evaluate every single word of a text, it makes sense to demonstrate the practice with a brief poem—like Gwendolyn Brooks’s “We Real Cool.”

Students can learn how to utilize grammar in their own writing by studying how poets do—and do not—abide by traditional writing rules in their work.

Poetry can teach writing and grammar conventions by showing what happens when poets strip them away or pervert them for effect.

Dickinson often capitalizes common nouns and uses dashes instead of commas to note sudden shifts in focus.

Agee uses colons to create dramatic, speech-like pauses.

Cummings of course rebels completely. He usually eschews capitalization in his proto-text message poetry, wrapping frequent asides in parentheses and leaving last lines dangling on their pages, period-less.

In “next to of course god america i,” Cummings strings together, in the first 13 lines, a cavalcade of jingoistic catch-phrases a politician might utter, and the lack of punctuation slowing down and organizing the assault accentuates their unintelligibility and banality and heightens the satire.

The abuse of conventions helps make the point.

In class, it can help a teacher explain the exhausting effect of run-on sentences—or illustrate how clichés weaken an argument.

Despite all of the benefits poetry brings to the classroom, I have been hesitant to use poems as a mere tool for teaching grammar conventions.
Even the in-class disembowelment of a poem’s meaning can diminish the personal, even transcendent, experience of reading a poem.
Billy Collins characterizes the latter as a “deadening” act that obscures the poem beneath the puffed-up importance of its interpretation. In his poem “Introduction to Poetry,” he writes:  “all they want to do is tie the poem to a chair with rope/and torture a confession out of it./They begin beating it with a hose/to find out what it really means.”The point of reading a poem is not to try to “solve” it.

Still, that quantifiable process of demystification is precisely what teachers are encouraged to teach students, often in lieu of curating a powerful experience through literature.

The literature itself becomes secondary, boiled down to its Cliff’s Notes demi-glace. I haven’t wanted to risk that with the poems that enchanted me in my youth.

Teachers should produce literature lovers as well as keen critics, striking a balance between teaching writing, grammar, and analytical strategies and then also helping students to see that literature should be mystifying.

It should resist easy interpretation and beg for return visits.

Poetry serves this purpose perfectly. I am confident my 12th graders know how to write essays. I know they can mine a text for subtle messages.

But I worry sometimes if they’ve learned this lesson.

In May, a month before they graduate, I may read some poetry with my seniors—to drive home that and nothing more.

Andrew Simmons is a writer, teacher, and musician based in California. He has written for The New York TimesSlate, and The Believer.

Auf wiedersehen, Goodbye Humanity?

Humanity? Just An Exhibition in the prison

It’s time to say goodbye to Humanity.
The party’s over.
As the laughter dies, an angel cries Humanity, it’s au revoir to your insanity.

Photo

 

You sold your soul to feed your vanity

Your fantasies and lies to prosper

You’re a drop in the rain

Just a number, a code, a class, barely a name

And you don’t see it

You don’t believe it

At the end of the day. You’re a needle in the hay

You signed and sealed it

And now you gotta deal with it Humanity,

Radio ÉVEIL (Awakening). A child pissing on wars and soldiers
Radio ÉVEIL pisse sur la guerre.<br /><br /><br />
 Peace & Love

Humanity Goodbye, goodbye

Be on your way, adios amigo

There’s a price to pay for all the egotistic games you played

The world you made is gone and You’re a drop in the rain

 Read more: THE SCORPIONS – HUMANITY LYRICS

He lived in fear. He died in Fear...

Is feeling Cold, an idea first?

Before we shiver

Before we feel our bones brittle

Before we feel our inside going to mush

Is feeling scared, an idea first?

Before our palms drip sweat

Before our deafening pounding heart drive us crazy

Before our lungs aches for holding breath…

Is mental turmoil, an idea first?

Before our dreams turn an unending nightmare

Before our days rush amid hallucinating monsters

Before we scream in horror …

Is physical pain, also an idea first?

Another one of the string of illusions?

Hardly

Hardly, hardly, hardly

Pain is more powerful than death

And empathy is irrelevant in this case

Only active remedies to alleviate pain count

And bring back Death

To the forefront…

They gave us powdered milk…and took away our childhood…(Mohamad Maghout)
They gave us watches and robbed us of the Time
They handed us shoes and exploited the Roads
They offered us rings and perfume and hided from us Love
They brought us the swings and prevented us from Celebrating
They lavished on us chemical fertilizers and stole the Springs
They initiated us with Parliaments and denied us Freedom
They extended to us guards and locks and robbed us of Security
They gave us powdered milk and took away our Childhood
They infiltrated insurgents for us and wasted our Revolution…
Note 1: You may read another translated poem of Maghout of “Story-of-eagle-and-storm” https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/time-says-my-story-of-eagle-and-storm/
Note 2: The original Arabic version

The skipper-type.  Jennifer? Jo-Ann? Not Linda…Though very appropriate

It has been terribly cold these past two weeks,

Lebanon standard of cold.

We do enjoy central heating systems…

I cannot afford the fuel.

It is 2 am, and I am not sleepy, but cold is creeping in my bones.

I got inside my “warmer” bed, and could not sleep.

Memories flooding in, dispersing haphazardly, converging, diverging,

Refocusing on a beautiful face, a beautiful face I met 37 years ago.

It was winter of 1976.

A Friday, and about 8:30 pm.  Alone, I am to watch a foreign movie,

Shown by the University Film Club at the Microbiology department.

She showed up with her girlfriend. She is blonde, blue/green eyed, not tall, not skinny.

For my candid eyes, just the perfect beauty.

I cowered. I should have made haste, join her, and say: “Fair lady, have a good look at my face.

I need you to remember my face.

I need you to recollect that this face once told you

“You are the most beautiful girl around…”

The microbiology department, a stupid two flat floors, a couple of microscopes, and an auditorium.

The second “complex” by the Main Library, looking south,

The South long lawn, ideal for mass student demonstrations,

I used to demonstrate around it twice a week,  with a couple hundred of Iranian students,

Scanding: “Down with the Shah of Iran”, “Down with US imperialism“, Down with the Savak”…

Three years later, the Shah fled to exile.

Only Sadat of Egypt dared give him shelter.

No, I didn’t chicken out: I terribly lack conversational skills, and still do.

No, I didn’t chicken out: I had never carried out a conversation with a beautiful girl,

I didn’t understand girls, or human interconnection…

And time never came to the rescue in any important skills: It aches,

And the aches are exacerbated with time.

A couple of months later, I met her in my apartment.

I was returning at midnight from the library.

It was a cold night, and I must have biked or walked, no other alternatives.  And I had to piss badly and profusely.

I stepped out and this beauty had vanished like a mirage.

“Where is she?” I asked my room-mate Fouad.  “You know, the one I once told you was the most beautiful girl around that I met?”

Fouad looked me up in total surprise. “You mean Jennifer?”…

That’s another story: She was taking a pharmacy class with him…

Twelve years later, I met her at Zanzibar, a night club in the town of Norman.

She was sitting alone, at the bar, waiting for her new beau serving drinks,

She didn’t change a bit.

Twelve years later, and another round of “higher education” stint,

A stint that grew me old:

My Ph.D advisor told me: “At your age, I had married my three kids…”

And he didn’t look that old.

Some people mature fast and very soon.

Maturity? I am waiting for this phase to take a peek at me.

I am  the skipper-type:

From everlasting naive kid to rotten wise.

I sat by her and whispered her name: I could still recall her name.

I introduced myself and simply reminded her of the name of Fouad, my former room-mate.

She “recognized” me instantly.

Fouad must have told her about the devastating impression she made on me…

Count on a girl to retrieve a guy’s face, formed in a split-second,

Many years later, a face attached to “You are the most beautiful girl around…”

We had no conversation: She didn’t contribute.

She was selling pharmaceutical products…

I could have said: “Has one of the two bartenders invited you tonight? Are you intending to invite a particular bartender…?”

Any small talk, the most outrageous talk would have been swell…

This cavernous silence.  She didn’t change a bit

I bet, if I meet her again, another 37 years later, this girl will still be the same girl,

Unchanged, not a bit:

The eyes register the first impression,

And it was good.

My eyes: setting on the most beautiful girl around.

My eyes, refusing to sleep a wink tonight.

Adonis on How to Read ‘Real’ Arab Poetry

I am disseminating this article posted by mlynxqualey on July 17, 2011. I erased the commentary. I will add a few comments.

Poetry that reaches all the people is essentially superficial.

Real poetry requires effort:  it requires the reader to become, like the poet, a creator. Reading is not reception.”

Replying to one translator-poet Khaled Mattawa’s students who said that poetry was an insufficiently popular form, Poet Adonis s added, “I suggest you change your relationship to poetry and art in general.”

Elliott Colla translated Adonis’  “Ambiguity” in the new journal Asymptote.

Adonis writes (via Colla):

“Ambiguous is how a reader describes a text that he cannot grasp, or that he cannot master in a way that turns it into a part of what he knows…

Since Islam, Arab society has lived in a world of complete certainty…

In this manner, poetry, the verbal weapon of the Bedouins, was transformed into an instrument serving the mind, not unlike how a spoon serves the mouth.

The value of a tool-instrument lies in our trust and ability to rely upon it. It lies in the confidence we place in it: We lift the spoon to our mouth everyday without thought or effort. We wear shoes everyday without thought or effort. So too are we supposed to read and understand a poem: without thought or effort.

So poetry becomes a form that we can consume, like a Popsicle or pop song, without thought or effort. But why clarity?

Because clarity is a necessary function of the oral arts.  Oration is a form of articulation that imposes on the speaker a distinctive rhythm, a directness, simple words and clear ideas.

And the need for clarity was further solidified by Arabic poetry’s status as a “science”.

Arabic poetry began, like every science, to describe reality in terms of minute detail and what is adequate, and its primary value became tied to its use and benefit.

In this way, poetry began to move within an intellectual-rational framework, that is, it became a kind of reiteration, a mold, a subject to study and apply, something concerned with presenting “the truth” more than something concerned with innovation and invention.

Those were the “old” poets.  What is “real” poetry?

…The poet is a poet only on one condition: only insofar as he sees what others do not and that he discover and push forward.

And who is reading poetry?

…the reader who proceeds from memory, custom and received tradition, far from the spirit of constant advance and discovery, carries on in his thinking when faced with a poem as his body carries on when faced with a substance to consume: he does not consider himself the owner of the thing until he has consumed it. This kind of reader is good for everything but poetry.

The difference between reader and poet is a form of complementarity that compels the reader to become another creative genius, another poet. (End of quote)

What did I understand?  Even this short exposure, general in nature and needing many detailed example for proper comprehension, was good enough at the third reading for me to comment.

Most of us, start our hand at writing “poems”.  We believe that holding a diary to expressing our confused ignorance about our feelings, life and the universe, is a dangerous enterprise, it reveals our weaknesses, though life is ours and we are the stronger in hope and plans…

As we try to emulate the poems of our favorite poets, the feelings are gone, the diary is gone, our perseverance is gone, our emotions are hidden even deeper, and we missed the train.

What would have happened if Rimbaud failed to publish his work at this young age? Passed this great opportunity, Rimbaud lived in obscurity, nothing of value resurfaced.

A Poem is an excellent means to describing the confused emotions and feeling, describing the confusion, and not making sense of why we are confused. There are many different other expression forms to explain “what make sense”: Poetry is not one of them.

The good poems of pre-Islamic period were beautiful:  They were frank, bold, individualistic, and described accurately the environment and the customs.  They told stories and were downright slutty, as direct as folk songs.

The pre-islamic tribes didn’t enjoy a steady and timely communication with urban civilization, and the only innovation was displayed in more dramatic description of emotions…

After Islam, poems were inclined to becoming lyrical, general, sticking to the new culture of One God, and the sharia or the religious laws.  It became very difficult to be inventive since individuality was a dangerous tendency that was proscribed.

Poets needed the support of princes and emirs to survive in this most valued and appreciated job: memorizing poems was still a great tradition among people, and reciting poems was the best means to being recognized.  Poetry became an industry, with consensus standards, and becoming inventive and innovative in poetry style and topics was not profitable.

Even the most “revolutionary” poets had first to prove that they mastered the traditional style and language before they ventured into their own style. The content of poems didn’t vary much.  The urban poets mocked the life-style of the nomadic tribes, but could not resist boasting of belonging to a tribe, even a faked tribe of his own invention, though they have not linked with the tribe for decades and forgot entirely how to survive in a nomadic environment. For example, Abu Nawas.

You could read in a single poem many topics, and get confused what is the purpose of the poem, if not for targeting my doors, hopefully one of the topics will strike a chord in a rich provider.

For example, Abu Tammam, a 10th century poet, could be considered a modern poet: He focused on satisfying the wants of society, particularly, the caliph and princes who expected decent poems that won’t antagonize the perception of a divine authority.

So how modern poets, after Islam, could circumvent the restrictions if not taking refuge in sciences, and borrowing new terms that didn’t exist, and trying to explain the terms in poetical forms?

In translating poems, it is vital that the context be explained extensively in a note, unless it is a poem written by a youth, expressing the confusion in his emotions and feelings.


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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