Friday, March 15, 2013

In the Shadow of the Persona

Cover of "And Still I Rise"
Cover of And Still I Rise


Very few situations are quite as absorbing as trying to push a poem in a voice not exactly your own.

It is not so much a question of losing touch with your creation, as it is a moment of transmutation; stepping outside your consciousness into the mind of the other. Leaving behind all you are and have been and striving to define the essence of the individual, unique and quite different from you.

The very first time I read Maya Angelou’s Still I Rise–I was in high school at the time and barely knew the poet–I was emotionally charged up by the boldness of the poet and the audacity of the words she picked for her poetry. Several years later, I discovered online a collection of poems written by Maya Angelou. The mentioned poem was a part of the collection. The opportunity of knowing Maya and her style of poetry better was a genuine pleasure. Poems spawn out of the bitter experiences from years of slavery and inner turmoil and the sweeter days of hope fulfilled.

Maya Angelou’s situation is unique and so is her style of poetry. She writes about stuff she experienced on first-hand basis. On the other hand, let’s take a look at Coleridge’s Ancient Mariner;” a reader who takes this poem literally as Coleridge’s personal experience would have himself in a terrible fix. Probably, end up beat up by the magnitude of the mystery it evokes. Although, he wrote it in first person POV, nonetheless Coleridge wasn’t bound in chains and shipped off to the tank for writing his masterpiece.

So must a poet not shirk the responsibility which calls him out of himself and all he stands for to take possession of the voice and feelings and beliefs of the other. And thereby, craft a material which is exclusively detached from anything he believes in.

The interpretation of a poem may hinge on a poet’s personal experiences or it may not. Poets must not restrict themselves by writing poems that ain’t offensive. Many “hate-poems” are misidentified by individuals who classify these poems because they confuse the voice of the poet persona for the voice of the poet. Take for example a horror-themed poem written in the POV of a psycho. You expect such a verse to be hate-filled.

Apparently, what the poet/reader both need is a little education; the poet can view his world through the eyes of whichever character he is pleased to view it. Remember this every time you write or read a poem. It would be way easier to embrace the message whatever it might be.

Remember, NaPoWriMo 2013 comes up in April from 1 through 3o. It’s 30 poems in 30 days, baby!
This is possibly my last post for the month of March. I need to set myself up for the poetic odyssey come April. See you at NaPoWriMo!

Keep your poem bleeding!



Akpan







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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Observation: Fodder For Poetry



It takes a lot of energy to write a poem–a good poem–and to go on through the seemingly complicated set of words, which becomes the draft to the revisions.

When you write a poem, take a moment to reflect. Take some time to call up the ordinary things you observe every day of your life. The common uninteresting things you choose to notice and stow away in your memory room have a knack for beating their paths to the edge of your consciousness just when you need them. This statement is especially true if you are fond of digging into your recollection for treasures every time you write. Pigs grow fat where lambs would starve.

Very few details are expendable in themselves. That said, I am not of the opinion that you have to short-circuit and peter out by overloading your internal RAM. That would be a very unpleasant tragedy.

“And the only thing more dangerous than not noticing is convincing yourself that everything you notice is interesting just because you noticed it.”
– Robert Wallace,
Writing Poems

Not the official NaPoWriMo 2013 Image
You don’t have to indulge in exotic adventures like ride a dolphin or make a trip to the sunken churches of Ethiopia to discover imagery to make your poems interesting. (Sometimes, you might have to. Wordsworth and Coleridge are noted for their travels and walks.) Many times, you don’t just have the time and energy to live it up in such unbridled escapade. Look around you might sound clich├ęd but it’s still open sesame when it comes down to the particulars of writing beautiful poetry.

“Assuming that things too close to your nose can’t be interesting is a kind of blindness hard to escape. Look at things.
– Robert Wallace,
Writing Poems

As NaPoWriMo 2013 (National Poetry Writing Month) comes knocking at your doors it’s difficult to ignore this indispensable tip. You will be amazed what you see.

Look at things!

Keep your pen bleeding!



Akpan






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Friday, March 1, 2013

The Coming of 'Doctor Sleep'

Photo Courtesy: StephenKing.Com

Scribner has revealed the hardcover edition artwork for Doctor Sleep. View it here.
Official Release Date: September 24th 2013

Stephen King explained the sequel to his third novel The Shining as "a return to balls-to-the-wall, keep-the-lights-on horror."
After thirty-six (that's 36) years, Stephen King decides to revisit the world of the 'talented' kid Danny Torrance.

In an EW interview, the writer opens up on what inspired him to write the sequel to one of his most loved stories;
"Probably five years ago, I saw this piece on one of those morning news shows about a pet cat at a hospice, and according to this story the cat knew before anybody else when somebody was going to die. The cat would go into the room, curl up on the bed, and the people never seemed to mind. Then those people died. I thought to myself: ‘I want to write a story about that.’ And then I made the connection with Danny Torrance as an adult, working in a hospice. I thought: ‘That’s it. I’m gonna write this book.’"

Dan who is now a middle-aged man turns Doctor Sleep with the aid of a cat that can foresee the future. In the book, Dan who has been a drifter much of his young life decides to settle down in a New Hampshire town where he uses his shining to provide comfort to the dying. He meets a 12-year-old girl, Abra Stone whose shining is the brightest of all. Dan has a fight on his hands when a tribe of almost immortal travelers called The True Knot hit town.

King had this to say about this tribe;
"they don't like dogs and dogs don't like them … You might say dogs see through them – to the sharp and watchful eyes behind the cut-rate sunglasses, to the strong and long muscled hunters' legs beneath the polyester slacks from Wal-Mart, to the sharp teeth beneath the dentures waiting to come out. They don't like dogs, but they like sick children. Yes, they like sick children very much." - For more see The Guardian

These tribe of crazy quasi-immortals feed off the 'steam' of children who possess the gift of the shining produced when these kids are slowly tortured to death. Dan must win an epic war between good and evil if he must save the life of 12-year-old Abra Stone.



Akpan