Sunday, December 21, 2008

Internal Structure

Sonrisas by Pat Mora - p926

In Sonrisas by Pat Mora the stanzas mirror each other. The first stanza describes these "beige" women in one room who "quick beige smiles/ that seldom sneak into their eyes" (lines 7-8). The second stanza discusses the Mexican women in the other room who "trap smiles/in their dark, Mexican eyes" (lines 16-17). Both stanzas start addressing the narrator "I live" (line 1) "I peek" (line 9). Then they address the rooms. The next lines in each stanza serve to compare and contrast the two groups of women. The first stanza discusses these women with their clicking high heels and coffee which creates a more cold and distant feeling. The women in the other room drink milk coffee and "laughter whirls" these images create a far more welcoming and comfortable feeling. The last lines of each stanza discuss the smiles of these women. In the first room the women have "quick beige smiles/ that seldom sneak into their eyes" (lines 7-8). In the other room the women "trap smiles/in their dark, Mexican eyes" (lines 16-17). This shows that the beige women are not truly happy because there are rarely smiling in their eyes. This contrasts with the Mexican women who trap smiles in their eyes; they are the ones who are truly happy.

The Victims by Sharon Olds - p1006

The internal structure of "The Victims" has two parts with two distinctly different tones. At the beginning the narrator is happy about the divorce. The reference to Nixon even suggests that there was good reason for the divorce. However, as the poem goes on the focus turns more toward resentment of the narrator's mother. “She had taught us to take it, to hate you and take it” (line 15). The narrator starts to see that maybe she was manipulated to feel this way toward her father. Then the narrator finally comes to sympathy for her father when she sees homeless people and wonders “who took it.” The narrator comes to the realization that she had some part in taking everything from her father and resents her mother for putting her and her siblings into that role.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Sex without Love -Sharon Olds

The language in “Sex without Love” is telling of the author’s feelings toward this subject. At first the syntax is controlled. The poem begins with a question “How do they do it, make love/ without love?” (line 1-2). In the line 2-3, the language portrays this beautiful imagery of two ice skaters. The tone changes with the word “hooked” which is abrupt. Then she begins to compare them to mixing of images of steak and wine in line 6. After that the syntax degenerates and she brings up God which shows that she is torn between the subjects of God and sex. She is obviously conflicted with the subject of religion. Then she reforms her syntax in the following lines and comes to the conclusion that maybe sex may exist without love and may actually be more moralistic. Her disjointed combinations lead the reader to question her actual views on sex without love.

A LIGHT IN THE MOON –Gertrude Stein
A light in the moon the only light is on Sunday. What was the sensible decision. The sensible decision was that notwithstanding many declarations and more music, not even notwithstanding the choice and a torch and a collection, notwithstanding the celebrating hat and a vacation and even more noise than cutting, notwithstanding Europe and Asia and being overbearing, not even notwithstanding an elephant and a strict occasion, not even withstanding more cultivation and some seasoning, not even with drowning and with the ocean being encircling, not even with more likeness and any cloud, not even with terrific sacrifice of pedestrianism and a special resolution, not even more likely to be pleasing. The care with which the rain is wrong and the green is wrong and the white is wrong, the care with which there is a chair and plenty of breathing. The care with which there is incredible justice and likeness, all this makes a magnificent asparagus, and also a fountain.

Gertrude Stein is famous for playing with and manipulating language. She doesn’t use correct punctuation which gives the poem more of a monotone “What was the sensible decision.” She repeats the combination of words “notwithstanding” this emphasizes that all of the subjects of this poem will not last forever. She also repeats the word “wrong.” Honestly, I don’t completely understand this poem, nor have I ever completely understood anything I’ve ever read by Gerty. However, I think that this poem dipicts the clash between nature and humans. She says the “rain is wrong and the green is wrong” but then “the care with which there is a chair and plenty of breathing.” Nature is wrong but people made this chair with “plenty of breathing” and therefore it is not wrong.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Setting/ Situation

“Singapore” by Mary Oliver
In “Singapore” the setting is not as important as the situation. The situation is watching a woman clean a toilet in the Singapore airport. In this moment when “a darkness was ripped from my eyes” she feels empathy for this woman. She realizes that though her job is “dull enough” this woman is methodic and steady like a river. The author goes on to discuss the beauty of this woman though her job is embarrassing. However, “Everybody needs a job” and though the woman is embarrassed by her occupation she is still beautiful. The situation juxtaposes the unappealing image of cleaning a toilet with the beauty of the woman and the beauty of nature. This is the author’s way of saying that even unpleasant things can be beautiful if you look at the beauty of life. I think that the fact that the setting isn’t important is actually symbolic because it suggests that beauty can exist anywhere, even in an airport bathroom, but, not limited to that location.

“Morning Song” by Silvia Plath (my favorite poet)
The situation/ setting of “Morning Song” is key to the poem because it is the birth of a baby. The birth corresponds to the morning in that symbolically the morning represents a new start and youth. The morning corresponds to the beginning of life. It is also the beginning of a new life for the narrator, life as a mother. Birth, the beginning of life, is very important in many works of literature and in poetry.

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I, Too, Sing America by Langston Hughes

I, too, sing America.

I am the darker brother.

They send me to eat in the kitchen

When company comes,

But I laugh,

And eat well,

And grow strong.


I'll be at the table

When company comes.

Nobody'll dare

Say to me,

"Eat in the kitchen,"



They'll see how beautiful I am

And be ashamed--

I, too, am America.

The speaker of this poem is integral to the meaning of it. The speaker is a black man, “I am the darker brother,” he is commenting on the racial inequality and segregation in America. The company doesn’t treat him equally because of his race; they make him eat in the kitchen. The poem is also hopeful. He says that in the future this racial inequality will not exist, “Nobody’ll dare/ Say to me,/ “Eat in the kitchen”.” He goes on to say, “They’ll see how beautiful I am.” “I, Too, Sing America” is written in the voice of a black man to express the inequalities of our country. Also it was written in the 20s which was a time when black people’s voices were muted.

The second poem I chose was Sudden Journey by Tess Gallagher. This poem is in the Norton on page 868. The speaker of this poem is a child. This is evident through the uncomplicated diction and the short syntax. The poem reflects a child’s perspective in the way that the poem is almost completely based off of observations of the rain. The poem shows the simplistically beautiful point of view of a child watching the rain. It reminds the reader to not take the simple things for granted and enjoy the world around them as a child would.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


The first poem I read was "Leaving the Motel" from the Norton. The tone of the poem is detatched and secretive. As it mentions in the the Norton, the contrasts with the "normal" view of love which is all romantic and roses. Generally, love poems have a romantic or passionate tone. "Leaving the Motel," simply describe the encounter of the lovers at a motel and then they leave. The tone shows that the poem is more about sex and an affair than actual love. They are being secretive because they are having an affair; they must be "out of sight" (line 4). The poem also refers to how the subject can take nothing and leave nothing. "...take nothing of one anothers/and leave behind" (lines 15-16). They also have to keep their identities secret. "We would no doubt have other rooms then,/Or other names" (lines 27-28).