Archive for March, 2013

Supplementary Poem: Winter Love by H.D

Tuesday, March 19th, 2013

The long poem Winter Love which is found in Hermetic Definition is a sequence of lyrical poems about Helen of Troy and the lovers she faces as well as the difficulties of her life.  There are 28 poems in the sequence that vary from Antistrophe and Strophe. Those are titles through out the poems, and were meant to frame music. A “strophe” is the first part of an Ode and is sung from east to west. A “antistrophe” is the portion of an ode sung by the chorus in responce to the strophe, sung from west to east. Having these labels in the poems is the first clue that aside from the long poem being about Helen, it is also an Ode to someone special. From previous research in my critical article, H.D was known to put herself into characters to relive what they felt to keep memories alive. In Winter Love the lyrics are said by Helen but the voice is clearly H.D. And as we go through the poems, the ode is about Ezra Pound who is represented by Odysseus.

There are many themes through out the poems including mythology, love, loss, and fate. It begins with the explanation of time gone by, ten years to be exact. Achilles is the first lover mentioned followed by Odysseus who the speaker has not thought of in more than ten years. The speaker then goes into the feelings of love and reminising over the past with the lines

Now there is a winter-love, a winter-lover [3]

This is the beginning of an indication of her (Helen/H.D) love for one man over the other, and who she prefered. To me it seems more of a compassion for the man, a longing for him. Not in a sexual sense but more of a companionship.  It is in the 5th poem where an important theme is started with the lines

Helen, Helen, come home; there was a Helen before there was a War, but who remembers her? [5]

Here is a reoccuring question that appears again later on in the 20s which is talking about who really remembers Helen before she was known for her beauty and destruction. From this I gather that with everyone H.D has ever been with, who really rememberd her from before she was well known and that is explored with Odysseus (Pound) being the first who rememberd her. A symbol used for Helen is oleanders which are poisonous. In poem 6, Helen is concieved under oldeanders and then is described as the one who wrecked citadels. In this long poem as a whole, fate is very important in the early stages. With the business of her being born under poisonous flowers, then described as the immaculate one her fate is sealed. There is an obvious seperation between H.D and Helen as women. Helen is described historically and the actions are of relatively true events, and H.D did not participate in the creating of the Trojan War. Yet she is placing herself in the struggles of Helen, making it clear her feelings for Pound and how she felt during the middle stages of her life.

The form and structure of Antistrophe and Strophe almost seem like voices going back and forth in H.D’s head. It is like she’s giving herself room for definitions and explanations of her own reality and the chorus is fighting back with what is actually true. The use of this form goes well with the story line of Helen and her lovers because it defines her struggles and gives reasoning behind them in a more understood sense. Many of the passages carry heavy alliteration and emphasis with repetition. Usually H.D will repeat a sentence in the same line with only slight differences. In poem [7] the word “heavy” is repeated over and over again in a Chorus Strophe which is what is sung while a movement is executed. This specific poem is describing the fate of Troy and it’s heavy hands, heavy chains, and heavy weight of destiny. In almost every poem there is a repetition of words that are meaningful to the essence of the poem.

Near the end of the long poem, the question of who remembers Helen is asked again. Starting at [22] the statement that there was a Helen before the war is made, and again at the end of [23].  H.D writes of Menelaus remembering her we aswell as Odysseus, and Achillies. All the while the golden apple is referenced several times and when asked who remembers her, an answer of does Paris remember her is given. In [26] it is said that Helen must forget Odysseus and be Sparta’s queen, that she must leave Pound behind. This long poem is very similar to other works by H.D such as the Trilogy and also what we are currently reading, Omeros.

Similar in the sense of referencing Helen as an island, as well as using an abundance of greek mythology in the poetry. There is a sense of lost identity in Omeros and the same for Winter Love of who she really is. This is most evident in the questioning of who remembers Helen before the war. Who remembers the island of St.Lucia before colonization, and who remembers H.D before she became H.D?

 

Supplementary Poem: Collateral By: Ellen Hopkins!

Monday, March 18th, 2013

“Collateral,” by Ellen Hopkins, is a story of young love trialed by war. The controversial topic of the definition of a long poem is brought up in her poetic form and novel like story of characters whose stories are to be told. Ellen Hopkins tests the structure of the long poem by completely changing the poetic form and scope, expressing individual stories, and creating a public statement of war through a love story.
In her novel, Hopkins does not strain to include more elements than she can handle and does not risk losing the sight of her story like most long poems do. She flows and is very coherent in the main point of her story. She holds the long poem to be similar to a novel by having a main plot and side plots that branch out from underneath. As learned in class, Friedman believed that long poems are rooted in epic tradition and that the twentieth century ‘long poem’ is an over determined discourse. The size, scope, and authority of these poems can help define history, metaphysics, religion, and aesthetics. These poems still erect walls that keep women outside (Friedman 11). She does not initiate a wall to keep women outside the whole novel because the main character Ashley is given a choice and treated well in the private aspect of the novel. However, she does leave the connection that women are always expected to clean, cook, and specifically make beds by saying, “Noticed that Cole had made the bed. ‘What’s up with all the domesticity?’ I wondered out loud. ‘The way to a girl’s heart?’ Just saying it gave the fractured cliché some weight”(Hopkins 83). This clarifies that female domesticity is a cliché and showing Ashley’s lover, Cole, to be portrayed as domestic. Cole is also the author of the poems that show up sporadically throughout the novel. They usually take place in context with what is happening in the story. His poetry also tests the idea of masculinity in the long poem by showing his “sensitive” side in the novel. In between Cole’s poems, Hopkins carries on the story by having the poet narrate the story through the form of poetry and then titles as the first line of the next sentence on the page. It definitely is Narrative poetry because of the way it shows pros and cons of life and how she narrates the whole story.
In the novel, “Collateral” Hopkins uses a sequence of long poems to narrate an epic of young love in a ‘personal’ narration and is the ‘publics’ story of the effects of war. Although the personal side to the story of Ashley and Cole portrays less of the masculinity that most long poems are believe to have held. The ‘public’ aspect of war and its affects on soldiers and the families they leave behind brings back the idea of masculine discourse. Women like Ellen Hopkins writing in this tradition often engage in self-authorizing strategies that feminize the genre in one form or another so that the big questions that women ask can be set to the “big” format of the “long” poem (Friedman 21). Friedman claims that the four self-authorizing strategies are the ironist, historicist, re-visionist, and the experimentalist and that they all create female space for the genre that has been claimed to not include them. I would argue that the main point of Ellen’s novel is to capture the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and provide understanding for those who could not even begin to imagine the realities of war. The love story Hopkins includes is more for the self-authorizing strategies Friedman claims all women of the long poem classification need to use in order to feminize the genre.
Hopkins expresses the individual stories of two girls named Ashley and Darian who are best friends and meet chiseled military men at a bar one night. She tells the story of how Darian (Dar) is in love with a military man, and then cheats with another man while her love Spencer is away in battle. This connects with the hearts of many men who have been left by their wife in their time of need and war. It also shows the thoughts of those wives left behind and how they need a sense of love and a warm body to sleep with at night. Dar cheats on Spencer with an older man named Kennedy and falls into the stereotype of a woman cheating while her man is deployed. Ashley falls in love with a professor who shares her views on poetry and life but then decides to stay with Cole, who ends up suffering from severe posttraumatic stress disorder.
In the novel, Hopkins shows how war can change anyone. She insinuates that relationships are hard and often never work. She portrays how anger can get ahold of men in battle by Cole saying, “I’m not taking orders from you, motherfucker! He’s screaming now. You either, you goddamn whore. I knew you were fucking around!” (Hopkins 488). He picks a fight with a man named Jonah and truly shows how the war has affected his personal life by actually fighting him and screaming at Ashley. In forms of expansion by Keller, she argues that long poems attract a certain type of person and the long poems attempt to gain cultural importance. She says, “a great variety of poets are attempting to make poetry more responsive to current understandings of the relation of self to language and to contemporary cultural and social realities (Keller 4). Hopkins’ long poem touches on Keller’s argument and tries to be very responsive to the understandings of the realities of war. She describes war scenes, heartbreaks, loss, and funerals of men in the book. Hopkins describes mainly Ashley’s vision of a funeral and having the flagged wrapped around it perfectly with her whole life being buried into the ground.

Works Cited

Friedman, Susan. When a “Long” Poem is a “Big” Poem: Self-Authorizing Strategies in Women’s Twentieth- Century “Long Poems.” Gordon and Breach Science Publishers S.A. Vol. 2 pp. 9-25, 1990.

Hopkins, Ellen. “Collateral” A division of Simon & Schuster, Inc. New York, NY. Nov. 2012.

Keller, Lynn. Forms of Expansion: Recent Long Poems by Women. Chicago: The University of Chicago P, 1997.

p.s. I sware I did hanging lines but it is not showing up now I hope it does when i post it!

:)))

Supplementary Reading Report on “The Book of Nightmares” by Galway Kinnell

Monday, March 18th, 2013

         The Book of Nightmares is a long poem that is filled with images as chilling as its title implies. Through a dichotomy of a few joyous events against abundant descriptions of the terrors of death and the risks involved with love, Kinnell presents a warning against violence in an already fragile state of being. Although this long poem is presented in ten separate sections of seven smaller poems each, all of them are woven together with repeated images and themes to create a coherent projection of the realities present within Kinnell’s dream world of nightmares.

Kinnell dedicated The Book of Nightmares to his children and makes reference to them throughout the work. Maud, his daughter, is present in the title of the first section of the poem, “Under the Maud Moon.” In this section, songs and singing are a common and repeating occurrence. Although Kinnell associates singing as a method of comforting a child who has awoken from a nightmare, he also pairs songs with language such as “she sucks air, screams her first song” (6), and “one of the songs I used to croak” (4). This is the first example of the constant dichotomy present throughout The Book of Nightmares. While Kinnell recognizes the beauty and joy of life, and wants his children to as well, he also makes sure not to romanticize the reality of inevitable death. This is why he places negative and positive language next to each other so frequently. This is demonstrated again in the final stanza of the poem when Kinnell addresses his son saying,

 

“Sancho Fergus! Don’t cry!

 

Or else, cry.

 

On the body,

on the blued flesh, when it is

laid out, see if you can find

the one flea which is laughing” (75).

 

Even though Kinnell mentions the “blued flesh” and the desire to cry over the loss of a loved one, he hopes that his son can find laughter and joy in what is left behind in life.

Overall, I believe that being able to find joy in the face of imminent loss and death is the overarching theme of the poem. Kinnell shows how difficult this can be through all the images of the nightmare world he has created, acknowledging that while there are terrors involved with life it is worth it to try and get past them. In order to achieve this, Kinnell has put repeating nightmares throughout his work, but he has placed them alongside some repeated images of joy and hope. For example, some of the most common symbols that are constantly appearing are those of blood, fire, birth and wings- a dichotomy of destruction and hope.

The raging fires and blood seem to represent the violence that is constant in the world, which is why I believe Kinnell uses the images so repeatedly. Kinnell urges readers to see how destructive fire and violence is but he also recognizes that conflicts such as war are inevitable in the world we live in. Considering that The Book of Nightmares was published in 1971, it is inevitable that the Vietnam War must have influenced Kinnell’s writing. This idea of consistency is presented eloquently when Kinnell writes, “the chameleon longing to be changed would remain the color of blood,” (13) in one of many references to blood. One reference to fire comes directly from a battlefield when a soldier cries out, “This corpse will not stop burning” (41). This is found in the sixth section of the poem, and also references the bloodthirsty nature of the Christian man that has been present throughout history (42-44). These images of war and death are combated with talk of wings and birth. As I mentioned before, Kinnell makes sure to include the joy his children bring him in the poem. He also includes images such as “the dead wings creaked open as she soared” (14). This image is particularly hopeful because it suggests that even after death there is beauty to be found and that death should not be feared.

I noticed the idea of palimpsest present once again within this long poem. The first reference I found was in in the “Maud Moon” section when Kinnell writes,

 

“The raindrops trying

to put the fire out

fall into it and are

changed: the oath broken,

the oath sworn between earth and water, flesh and spirit, broken,

to be sworn again,

over and over, in the clouds, and to be broken again,

over and over, on earth” (4).

 

I noticed it again in the third section of the poem, “The Shoes of Wandering,” in which Kinnell describes the sensation of buying a pair of used shoes at a thrift store and walking “on the steppingstones of someone else’s wandering” (19).

The theme continues in images of hens that are also found throughout the work. The first reference to a hen comes in the second section of the poem when Kinnell writes, “ready or not the next egg, bobbling its globe of golden earth, skids forth, ridding her even of the life to come” (12). They basically represent the idea that even though the hens will die, they leave behind eggs that will hatch into hens that will later leave more eggs. It is very much the idea of the circle of life, and that although there is death, there is also life. The section that this excerpt is found in is titled “The Hen Flower,” and is also the start of many references to blooming and flowers. The seeds that flowers leave behind, even after their death, once again evoke the cyclical nature of life.

In terms of the long poems we have been studying this semester, I found the most similarities between The Book of Nightmares and Elliot’s The Waste Land. Both men present a harsh world, covered in ash, and presented through smaller sections that weave together in one large, haunting picture. Both of the author’s had seen the effects of war and death on individuals and the crises death can create within people. As Kinnell puts it, “Living brings you to death, there is no other road” (73). In The Book of Nightmares, Kinnell gives readers the challenge to approach death as joyously as possible, since it is the only possible destination in the end anyways.

Sarah’s Supplementary Long Poem — John Milton’s Paradise Lost

Monday, March 18th, 2013

John Milton’s arguably epic poem Paradise Lost navigates the murky waters of religion, politics, and agency by re-telling the Biblical story of the fall of Satan and the eventual fall of Adam and Eve. Superficially, the poem is a theodicy. A theodicy is a type of literature that attempts to justify the actions or decisions of a divine figure in order to assuage the doubts of the followers and potential converts of the religion associated with that divine figure. Any given theodicy, superficial or not, is problematic not only because most religions require faith, or believing in something that cannot be physically sensed or logically proven, but also because any author attempting to rationalize the ways of divinity must, in order to be taken seriously, claim to be influenced by said divinity. This brings into question the neutrality of the author. Of course had the theodicy of the poem been Milton’s only objective his possible lack of religious neutrality might be more problematic. Realistically Paradise Lost is both a critique and a consideration of the nature of religion, the politics of Parliament and the monarchy, and the role of the individual in consideration of the whole. Book I, just like any other classical epic, begins in medias res (literally “in the middle of things”) with Satan and the other Fallen rousing after the battle in Heaven. Milton wastes no time and begins subversively challenging religion, politics, and the role of man all the while applying classically epic vehicles, vehicles often used to tell the stories of Greek and Roman myth or other stories in conflict with Christianity, to re-tell the story “of man’s first disobedience” (1).

By the time Milton was writing Paradise Lost he was reported to have mellowed considerably with age and to have become thoroughly invested in his religion. As a Protestant, Milton would have still harbored deep suspicions of Catholicism and any other religion that was not his own. This is evident in Paradise Lost, of course, but Milton complicates the issue. In Book I Milton invokes the Holy Spirit as his muse: a slight subversion of the muse invocation of classical epics but a use of it all the same. Further Milton claims to be writing “things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme” (16) when clearly this story has already been told in the Bible. Not only has the story been written already the mechanisms which he uses (starting in medias res, invoking the muse, the later catalogue of the Fallen, etc.) are all well used classically to tell stories not of the Christian milieu. Milton makes it clear in Book I that he intends to out-do Homer and Virgil in their own genre which could explain the use of classically epic mechanisms. Of course, close examination of  Milton’s work (not just Paradise Lost) reveals that Milton was not only attempting to achieve whatever goals he made explicit, in this case to “justify the ways of God to men” (26), but also to force his readers to question his goals and their own.

Even more subversive than the religious undertones in Paradise Lost are Milton’s jabs at the state of politics. Paradise Lost was first published in 1667 when Milton was about 59 years old. The political climate in England during Milton’s lifetime was nothing short of tumultuous and in his younger days Milton was quite the republican activist. Despite the fact that Milton had piped down in his later years Paradise Lost is chock full political considerations and critiques. In Book I Satan makes a speech to his fellow Fallen where he sounds suspiciously like a political revolutionary touting freedom from a “sov’reign” (246) who “force hath made supreme/ Above his equals” (248-249). Milton does not take the opportunity here or elsewhere, as one might assume he might, to overly demonize Satan nor is it ever perfectly clear with whom (or what) the reader should associate Satan. There are times when Satan is portrayed rather favorably. In fact later in Book I it is established that he “had not yet lost/ All [his] original brightness” (591-592) indicating that whatever spark that had made Satan an angel in the first place was not necessarily gone allowing the possibility perhaps for redemption. Ostensibly, especially in later books, the reader is to cast Satan as the villain but in Book I Milton’s characterizations of Satan as both “monstrous” (197) and “glory obscured” (594) complicates the matter of his role in the eventual fall of Adam and Eve.

Perhaps the largest question in Paradise Lost is who was ultimately responsible for the fall of Adam and Eve. To say this question is left unanswered is an understatement. In Book I Milton explicitly pins Satan as the culprit saying that “Th’ infernal Serpent[…]deceived/ The mother of mankind” (34-36). Of course in later books there is indication that Eve is responsible because she is somehow less capable of resisting due to having been made second and from only a piece of Adam. Then again Adam blames himself for not looking after her. There is not a lot of overt discussion in Book I about the matter of agency but like everywhere else in Milton’s writing there are indeed undertones. The same issues that complicate Milton’s representation of this Biblical story and his consideration of politics reflect his argument about the role of man in relation to some larger organization. Milton hints in places throughout the poem that if Eve, or Adam for that matter, was not sufficient to stand against the temptation Satan offered than God himself must harbor some of the blame as he created them both. At the end of the poem the critical reader, especially the modern one, is left trying to reconcile Milton’s words with his intentions – a monumental, if not impossible, task.

The long poem genre seems to be the most self-explanatory and inclusive of all the genres of literature. However, it seems to suffer from the same malady that readers of Paradise Lost do: what is to be considered, what is to be dismissed, and how to even begin to determine such a thing. Epic poems, Paradise Lost included, are certainly long poems – if only because they are lengthy. Like other long poems Paradise Lost does not conform to certain poetical traditions but clings rather desperately to others. Milton discusses this in his note on “The Verse” at the beginning of the poem in which he openly disparages the idea that rhyme is necessary to poetry. This seems to be the mantra of the long poem genre as it also seems to disparage the idea of any particular classification (excepting length) as a qualification of inclusion in the genre. Paradise Lost also completely ignores any preconceptions about the necessity of ending lines with sentence ends or even punctuation. (This was more of a convention of Milton’s time rather than modernity which makes his exclusion of it more significant.) Whatever conventions Milton did include in Paradise Lost seem to function way beyond their explicit applications. Milton did not invoke the Holy Spirit as his muse because he felt he needed the inspiration but because he knew his readers would recognize the convention and hopefully understand his attempts to turn the convention on its head. The same is true for nearly every convention Milton deigns to include in the poem. Like proponents of the all-inclusive class of the long poem genre Milton was challenging what it meant to not only write poetry but also to claim religion, to participate in politics, and to be a member of humanity.

 

Works Cited

Greenblatt, Stephen, George Logan, Barbara Lewalski, Katherine Maus, M Abrams, et al. The Norton Anthology Of English Literature: The Sixteenth Century / The Early Seventeenth Century. 8th edition. B. New York, NY: W W Norton , 2006. 1830-2055. Print.

 

(I also used class notes from previous classes where we studied Paradise Lost)

Malekghassemi – SupLongPoem – Four Quartets

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Isun Malekghassemi

ENGL 458 – ALP

Dr. Mara Scanlon

March 18, 2013

T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets and the Genre of the Long Poem

T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets (1943) are misnamed, fantastically structured, and deeply thematic. An easier read than his The Waste Land (1922), Four Quartets portrays a shift towards positivity in Eliot’s life – five or so years after he wrote The Waste Land, Eliot joined the Anglican Church and religion transformed him and his writing (“T.S.”). It amazes me that the same man could write these two separate long poems because of how different they are atmospherically, and because of how well they each maintain value to the discussion of genre that is so important to the existence of long poems.

The title of Four Quartets, first off, is a misnomer. There are four separate “quartets”, yes; however, the “quartets” are really “quintets”. Each quartet has five distinct sections marked by roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, V) which are each approximately equal in length and substance to their peer sections. For example, each I section serves a similar purpose in each poem: to give an over-arching theme that will surely be of importance.  To continue, as a discussion on structure, each II section (except for in “Quartet No. 3”) begins with a structured form of lyric, be it multiple stanzas or a single longer one, that has a rhyme scheme and more-or-less a similar line length until there is a clear shift in style to a freer, lengthier structure. The III sections essentially do the exact opposite – they begin with longer, freer verses, and then they gain structure within their last stanza or so. Each IV section is a two or three stanza blurb (except for “Quartet No. 2” which has five stanzas) of strictly adhered to rhyme scheme and metre. The V sections are reminiscent of the I sections – again, over-arching themes with profound thoughts that both conclude and introduce subjects that, respectfully, have been mentioned and will be mentioned.

One of Eliot’s themes is that time exists concurrently. According to his biography at nobelprize.org, “for Eliot, tradition is a living organism comprising past and present in constant mutual interaction.” In his Four Quartets, the reader can recognize this idea of “time past and time future / What might have been and what has been / Point[ing] to one end, which is always present” (46-8 “Quartet No. 1”). This thought is a variation on one of two quotes, both by Heraclitus (fl. c. 500) that Eliot shares on the first page of his long poem: “The way upward and the way downward are the same.” Eliot argues, mostly in “Quartet No. 1”, that this configuration of time is a liberating one. “Time past and time future / Allow but a little consciousness” (84-5 “Quartet No. 1”). He continues,

“To be conscious is not to be in time

But only in time can the moment in the rose-garden,

The moment in the arbour where the rain beat,

The moment in the draughty church at smokefall

Be remembered; involved with past and future.

Only through time time is conquered.”

(86-91 “Quartet No. 1”)

Time as an artificial construction is a limiting factor of man that man can “conquer” if only man combines the two of “time future” and “time past” into the present. On the subject of time, he begins section V of “Quartet No. 1” with “Words move, music moves / Only in time; but that which is only living / Can only die,” and he continues to another major theme in his poem: the meaning of existence (1-2).

This is where Eliot begins to discuss words through palimpsestical thinking, something which the genre of “Long Poems” tends to do quite a lot. Eliot says in lines 151 to 155 in his first quartet:

“… Words strain,

Crack and sometimes break, under the burden,

Under the tension, slip, slide, perish,

Decay with imprecision, will not stay in place,

Will not stay still.”

Words get meanings layered on top of them, constantly, whether they are actively being used or their resonance is still in the air. Their usage and the silence that follows have a “co-existence” in which “the end precedes the beginning, / And the end and the beginning were always there / Before the beginning and after the end. / And all is always now” (147-51, “Quartet No 1.”). The meaning of a single word, always changing because it has been used in the past, but also always existing in the present being used, and also when it will be used next – all of these possibilities in one word.

Eliot brings up this theme of slippery words that “will not stay still” in section II of “Quartet No. 2” also. He has a structured lyric with metre and rhyme scheme, but then turns right around and criticizes what he just wrote in his next stanza. “That was a way of putting it – ” he begins in line 69, “not very satisfactory: / A periphrastic study in a worn-out poetical fashion, / Leaving one still with the intolerable wrestle / With words and meanings. The poetry does not matter.” I don’t know what could be a more clear demonstration of rebellion against the lyric form than outright calling it old-fashioned. He does not want poetry to be a way to show off your metaphorical prowess, but rather a true form of communication in which there is no “intolerable wrestle / With words and meanings.” Eliot is criticizing the reasons why poetry is written. He says that there is

“… only a limited value

In the knowledge derived from experience.

The knowledge imposes a pattern, and falsifies,

For the pattern is new in every moment

And every moment is a new and shocking

Valuation of all we have been” (82-88)

and because of this poetry cannot be written as prescriptive, ever – but that is how poetry has been used in the past. “The only wisdom we can hope to acquire,” Eliot states in lines 98-9, “Is the wisdom of humility: humility is endless.” And that is the only lesson we can learn from the past or from poetry written to an audience.

Eliot’s writing in this long poem considers a number of major themes that we have spoken about in class, and reveals a more personal Eliot as opposed to the cruder poet we were introduced to in The Wasteland. Four Quartets proves to be representative of “the long poem” in Eliot’s regard of word meaning, attention to poetic structure, and palimpsestical relationships.

Graham, Daniel W., “Heraclitus”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Summer 2011 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/sum2011/entries/heraclitus/>.

“T.S. Eliot – Biography”. Nobelprize.org. 18 Mar 2013 http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1948/eliot-bio.html

This is the site I actually got the poem from: https://www2.bc.edu/john-g-boylan/files/fourquartets.pdf but because I can’t find out how to cite it, I’m going to cite another version of the poem:

Eliot, T. S. Four Quartets. New York: Harcourt, Brace and, 1943. Print.

Katie’s Supplementary Long Poem – Anne Sexton’s “The Fury” Sequence

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Sexton is often hailed as the mother of confessional poetry; as she trail blazed the way for women to openly write about women’s issues taboo for the time period. Sexton uses her body and surroundings as the vehicle in which she deconstructs the male canon of the time and gains her self-agency by doing so. What makes the confessional female poet so intriguing is not only the intersection of her physical/emotional body and the physical world around her, but the collision of the two within that intersected world, providing insights of the raw pain and beauty of being a woman. Sexton’s authority on women’s issues, and most importantly, her own issues, allow readers a never-before-seen glimpse into the honest and raw life of a woman of the time period. Sexton writes poetry in the time of the focus on the nuclear family, when the continued stereotype was that of the good housewife, doting mother, dutiful Christian; something she made clear within her poetry that she could clearly never be.
The confessions of confessional poetry come from the usage of “I,” allowing Sexton the freedom to consciously transform herself before herself and her readers. Sexton’s standard themes include God, depression, suicide, rage, drug addiction, homosexuality, and loneliness. Her work is ultimately the experience of being a woman, and it includes many key sub issues important to women such as sex, menstruation, abortion, infidelity, and masturbation, as well as amazing symbolism of earth, understanding of death, and God.
The “Fury” sequence is comprised of 15 raw and powerful poems that were published in a later collection in 1974 titled, “The Death Notebooks” in which readers questioned a decline in the quality of her poetry. This was the first collection of poetry published after her divorce from her husband, as well as the last publication before her suicide. Her mental decline can be felt while flipping through every page, as an unapologetic experience of what she was enduring.
Sexton uses the power and experimentation of self to explore the experience of what it is to be an American woman. Although the reader understands her femininity, quarrels with religion and male entitlement, as well as her struggle with simply being a woman alive in the times, the collection is impossibly personal in nature and the poems read complex and elusive. The metaphors and extreme symbolism confirm that Sexton is the ultimate high priestess of the confessional poetry genre, but ultimately leaves readers searching for answers and hidden meanings. Specifically in her “Fury” sequence, she interweaves many themes and symbols, most notably (and reoccurring) are her search for God ( [The Fury of] “Beautiful Bones,” “Hating Eyes,” “Guitars and Sopranos,” “Earth,” “Cook,” “Cocks,” “Abandonment,” “Overshoes,” “Flowers and Worms,” “God’s Goodbye,” “Sundays,” “Sunsets,” and “Sunrises,”) the supreme power of woman/women’s sexuality/fertility and earth (“Guitars and Sopranos,” “Earth,” “Jewels and Coal,” “Cocks,” Rainstorms,” “Flowers and Worms,” “Sundays,” “Sunsets,” and “Sunrises.”)
Sexton arduously struggles with her understandings of God as the creator and Jesus as the son, questioning continuously for answers, as well as leading readers to wonder their beliefs. At the time of Sexton’s writing of the poems, religion was something still rather imposed on women. Sexton blatantly questions it and pays her odd respects to it, as well as pushes the envelope of appropriateness with her usage of sexuality and religion together within the confines of her poetry. Within the 15 poem sequence, “God” is directly used 17 times. There are also many other religious metaphors (day of fire, Gethsemane, male privilege/position of power, etc.)
Expression of sexuality is incredibly prevalent within all of Sexton’s poetry, and is specifically confronted in “The Fury of Guitars and Sopranos” and “The Fury of Sundays.” In guitars, she refers to a “dream-mother nursing a guitar” and introduction of a “flute” is immediately providing the reader with enough information to understand the yonic and phallic symbolism of the instruments. The introduction and description of the “beautiful woman” is overtly sexual, as Sexton describes her sensually, referring to her feminine features (sand with her fingertips/her eyes were brown like small birds) and becomes Sapphic in context. She relates her sexual relationship with the woman lover to that of Jesus in the sense of her providing and drawing food (figs) and drink (wine) from her “breasts/mound” which is evidence of a woman being capable of providing/assuming the Jesus role. She then relates her experience to a morning glory which is symbolic of the fleeting nature of love. In “Sundays” she brilliantly uses sexually connoted language such as “heat,” “moist,” “throb” in her description of a hot July day shared between herself, another female and a male companion.
Sexton’s use of God throughout her poetry signifies an understanding of the connection between life and death, and the parallels between God the creator versus woman as the creator. The main imagery she uses is death imagery, earth imagery, or God imagery, all of which are similar and easily connected. The reader observes death imagery in eight poems within this sequence, earth imagery in eleven poems, and God imagery in fourteen poems.
The best and most important example of the mashing of religion and sexuality is displayed in “The Fury of Cocks”. The poem combines religious experience with sexual encounters, Sexton writes lines like “When they fuck they are God/all the cocks of the world are God/blooming, blooming, blooming, into the sweet blood of woman” providing the reader with the understanding that although God creates, so does woman. This combination of controversial ideas allows Sexton to explore her boundary pushing in a way that opens reader’s minds to wonder who the (more important) creator really is.
Sexton’s work is very relatable to that of Walt Whitman’s in the sense of the focus on body imagery and divine power and influence. Whitman famously discussed the connection of the spiritual and physical being saying, “I am the poet of the body / and I am the poet of the soul” (85) and Sexton acknowledges that she is focused on this as well, openly interested, “I wonder about this lifetime with myself, this dream I’m living” (372). Whereas Whitman writes “Song of Myself,” Sexton pens the songs of women, allowing for the similarities to be seen and connection to be made between them.
Sexton’s poetry somewhat contradicts my idea of what a typical long poem truly is (what we’ve read and learned in class has solely been the mainstay for my understanding of the genre thus far.) I chose her because her writing is perfect to me; metaphors readily available upon the surface combined with expertly hidden, deep symbolism. Sexton really makes the reader do the research to further understand the depths of her genius, and it’s incredibly rewarding. This sequence is different than anything we have explored so far this semester because it is broken into fifteen shorter poems that when put together, constitute a technical long poem. Whereas H.D. or Walcott have long poems separated into different sections or books, Sexton has a collection. Sexton’s formation of her poetry is something I am unfamiliar with at this point in my academic poetry career. The one thing that really speaks to me about Sexton is that she’s so relatable, yet so untouchable. She discusses what a common yet unique experience being a woman is, allowing the reader to assimilate with the universal experience. She was a visionary, which ultimately lead to her early death by her own hand.

Citations:

Sexton, Anne. The Death Notebooks. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1974. Print.

Whitman, Walt. Song of Myself. New York: Dover Publications, 2001. Print.

Reading Report on Supplementary Long Poem, Ovid’s Metamorphoses– Gwendolyn Corkill

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Gwendolyn Corkill
March 18, 2013
Reading Report

P. Ovidius Naso’s Metamorphoses, Book 1

 

Major themes in Ovid’s Metamorphoses involve creation, love, and destruction. Metamorphoses begins at the beginning.  One literary phenomenon Ovid invokes the tradition of creation stories.  Another ancient style is introduced—stories to explain phenomena. The meaning being that this long poem is reflective of many literary traditions, not just epic.  Though the work might follow similar rhyme scheme patterns or employ traditional epic devices it also does not reflect certain themes like protagonist or journey.  The significance is that Ovid’s Metamorphoses is a collection of stories that do not equal an epic, but that in itself does not make this a long poem.  We have struggled with genre so much in out class and at first I struggled with the genre of this work as well.  Is it an anthology of myths?  Is it an epic?  Is it a narrative, does it hold narrative fiction prose structure?  Ultimately I was lead to my conclusion because of what we’ve talked about in class.  Devices like palimpsest, subjects like sexuality and chaos, and the fundamental literary traditional themes like creation stories and myth as explanation of phenomena are all at work in Ovid’s Metamorphoses and are all aspects of what I think we have determined to be fundamental attributes to the long poem genre.

 

Book I opens with a traditional creation story.  Creation stories are essential to culture groups.  Throughout history cultures have developed spoken and written traditions that focus on giving an explanation for the creation of our world.  Ovid opens Metamorphoses with the mythic creation story.  Lines 5-12 of Book I read,

 

“Before the ocean and the earth appeared—

before the skies had overspread them all—

the face of Nature in a vast expanse

was naught but Chaos uniformly waste.

It was a rude and undeveloped mass,

that nothing made except a ponderous weight;

and all discordant elements confused,

were there congested in a shapeless heap.”

 

Ovid continues and ties in another critical aspect of ancient literary traditions—explanation of phenomena.  Here Ovid uses the distinction of warm and cool climates and gives a mythical, even folkloric explanation in lines 44-49

 

“…God

mark off the compassed weight, and thus the earth

received as many climes.—Such heat consumes

the middle zone that none may dwell therein;

and two extremes are covered with deep snow;

and two are placed betwixt the hot and cold,

which mixed together give a temperate clime;”

This is a good example of Ovid employing the ancient tradition of using myth to explain phenomena.

Ovid also calls on religious tradition as well in his work Metamorphoses.  Here Ovid invokes the biblical ideal that man was made in God’s image lines 78-84

“Did the Unknown God

designing then a better world make man

of seed divine? or did Prometheus

take the new soil of earth (that still contained

some godly element of Heaven’s Life)

and use it to create the race of man;

first mingling it with water of new streams;

so that his new creation, upright man,

was made in image of commanding Gods?”

 

Ovid evokes another Biblical image when introducing the Python in lines 436-440,

 

“Unwilling she

created thus enormous Python.—Thou

unheard of serpent spread so far athwart

the side of a vast mountain, didst fill with fear

the race of new created man.”

The snake motif is well known in Western culture to represent cunning, untrustworthiness, and poison.  Its presence in Ovid’s work makes me think two things: first about common symbols throughout cultures and second about the influence of the Bible on Ovid’s text.  I believe the Biblical impact for me as a reader in 21st Century America is different than for that of reader’s in the Golden Age.  I’m not sure whether to attribute these references to biblical invocations or cultural commonalities.

The formal presence of Ovid’s work is stunning.  Metamorphoses is written in dactylic hexameter to reflect influence by those of the ancient tradition like Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey and Vrigil’s Aeneid.  Ovid also pays homage to epic by opening with the ritual “invocation of the muse”,

“My soul is wrought to sing of forms transformed

to bodies new and strange! Immortal Gods

inspire my heart, for ye have changed yourselves

and all things you have changed! Oh lead my song

in smooth and measured strains, from olden days

when earth began to this completed time!”

Lines 1-6 offer the traditional invocation to the muse— something considered indicative of epic poems.  In these ways Metamorphoses works with the traditional epic considering things like the invocation and meter are both tropes of epic poems.

Ovid’s Metamorphoses feels less like epic and more like a collection of short stories.  The Roman’s fifteen books unfold a narrative poem that creates a comprehensive collection of the most well-known myths of the ancient world combined with a taste of the author’s own work.  Ovid’s Metamorphoses remind me of our work in class with Walcott as it makes us ask the question what defines and epic and does this work fit the definition?  I think Ovid’s work is closer to a long poem than an epic.  Though it invokes the memory of traditional epic it also manipulates the subject matter using the format as a platform for paying homage to all literary traditions.

Supplementary Long Poem: Allen Ginsberg Howl

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Allen Ginsberg is considered one of the most famous poets within the generation of the Beat writers post World War II American culture. Born in 1926 in Newark, New Jersey, Ginsberg was the son of an English professor and a Russian expatriate. Ginsberg had many problems within his childhood. His mother suffered from psychological issues concerning numerous nervous breakdowns. He studied at Colombia University and befriended William Burroughs and Jack Kerouae, whom, along with Ginsberg, establish themselves as primary figures in the Beat Movement. However, while staying in Colombia, Ginsberg along with Burroughs and Kerouac became involved with experimenting drugs. Ginsberg was also charged with possession of stolen goods, where he pleads to insanity and was staying in mental institution. Long after his release from the insane asylum, Ginsberg wrote several poems and published his most famous work Howl in 1956.

Howl, the poem I chose to analyze, became famous through a series of critics that deemed the poem as obscene or crude and even a California police department was outraged at the explicit sexual images of the poem. So outraged in fact that the San Francisco Police Department arrested the publisher, but the state released him after a ruling by Judge Clayton W. Horn saying Howl was not graphic in nature. After reading the publicity of the poem itself, I was highly interested in why the poem was publicized in this fashion.

Allen Ginsberg’s Howl has a structure or form that I have never really seen before in our class of American Long Poems. Written in parataxis, stream of consciousness, Howl is separated into three parts, each part has its own purpose in showing the overall meaning of the poem. The poem is composed of a fixed base word that is repeated so that separate ideas can start anew. Ginsberg chose the word “who”, in the first part, as this fixed base because it is conducive to the audience that he wants to hear this poem. The second part of the poem has a fixed base of “Moloch”. This is used with the same concept in mind as the first part of the poem, but with a different meaning or idea within the section. The finally part has more than just a fixed word, but instead has a fixed phrase, “I’m with you in Rockland”. Apart from the fixed base in each part, the poem as a whole is long lined and somewhat pyramidal form, where the broader themes or allusions shrink into a centralized theme: resistance.

In part one of Howl, there are many images to tackle, which was hard for me to get started. However, Allen Ginsberg starts Howl with making clear who he is talking about in the poem, “the best minds”. These “best minds” are described in various ways much of which images of traveling are coupled with taking drugs. Ginsberg shows us the different places and the different exploits they, “the best minds”, go to and take. One example of this is “who got busted in their public beards returning through Laredo with a belt of marijuana for New York.” Ginsberg recalls these images to show that “the best minds” need to travel to expand their minds The images of travel and drugs are not the only thing that Ginsberg wants these “best minds” show. The resistance of domesticity is show in the first part of the poem rather extensively. The line, “who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Battery to holy Bronx/ on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down/ shuddering mouth-wracked and battered bleak of brain all drained of brilliance/ in the drear light of Zoo,” creates a sense of resistance to domesticity. Within the line, “on benzedrine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down” shows that Ginsberg believes that domesticity makes “the best minds” takes drugs to resist from it. There is also another resistance shown in this part and throughout the poem itself, the resistance to authority specifically the American government.

Part one through part three there are images of resistance to the American government. In part one, there are many images of this, but the most impactful images are coupled with personal images of suicides and home displacement. As Ginsberg continues with his stream of consciousness, he develops those images of suicides and displacement as a consequence of allowing a capitalist government. Because these “best minds” have “burned cigarette holes in their arms protesting the narcotic tobacco haze of Capitalism” and being trapped in the domesticity with losing “their loveboys to the three old shrews” they has no other course than having “created great suicidal dramas” and eating “cooked rotten animals lung heart feet tail borsht & tortillas dreaming of the/ pure vegetable kingdom”. These images show “the best minds” being trapped with their unwanted urges and thinking of only one course of action, death. In part two, the resistance to the American government is more powerful. There are multiple images of these resistances surrounded by the word “Moloch”. One example would be: “Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows!” This images shows Ginsberg’s great dislike of the government. However, Ginsberg says that leaving the government might drive you into insanity: “Mad generation! down on the rocks of Time!” However, there is a savior within the poem, Carl Solomon, who is Ginsberg’s friend within the insane asylum:

“who threw potato salad at CCNY lecturers on Dadaism and subsequently presented/ themselves on the granite steps of the madhouse with shaven heads and / harlequin speech of suicide,…” (Ginsberg)

Carl Solomon is dedicated within the last part of the poem and is often seen as a Christ figure from insanity with the images of “pilgrimage to a cross in the void” and “where you accuse your doctors of insanity and plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the fascist national Golgotha”, this line being the reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion. By idolizing Solomon, Ginsberg gives the audience a sense of hope if these events are to be true. I say this because at the very end of the poem, Ginsberg ends with an image of him dreaming these images throughout the poem, which gives me a sense of whether it was a dream or reality.

Sources

Allen Ginsberg, “Howl” from Collected Poems, 1947-1980. Copyright © 1984 by Allen Ginsberg. Used with the permission of HarperCollins Publishers.

Davis, Lane. Chazelle, Damien ed. “Allen Ginsberg’s Poetry Study Guide : Summary and Analysis of “Howl,” Part 1-3″. GradeSaver, 31 December 2009 Web. 26 March 2013.

Jen’s Supplementary Long Poem Report: Wallace Stevens’ “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction”

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Like many of the other modernist poets of his day, Wallace Stevens wrote during a period in American history marked by war, chaos, and religious disillusionment. Published in 1942 during the midst of the Second World War, Stevens’ poem “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” claims its place in the lineage of modernist poems that have strived to create a “poem equivalent to the idea of God” (Carroll). When considering the title of the poem, close attention to Stevens’ word choices is important. According to critic Keith Booker, the poem is a collection of “notes” because the idea is still undeveloped and “toward” a supreme fiction because the goal is ultimately unattainable (1). Thus, although Wallace Stevens strives to offer a criterion for what the “supreme fiction” must be, his “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” does not claim to recognize this fiction. While Stevens shares the modernist fascination with finding definitive answers, he also realizes that the “supreme fiction” can never be attained due to the limitations of personal perception. It seems that in the process of trying to define the “supreme fiction,” Stevens discovers that the long poem, as a genre, cannot provide an ultimate “set of beliefs” or “model for living” for all humanity; instead, the genre must attempt to present the multiplicity of “fictions” that readers perceive (Miller13).

Stevens shares in many of the forms typical of modernist poetry, and it is this form that reinforces the fragmentation and multiplicity of our imagined or fictitious realities. Like Eliot’s “fragments” and Pound’s “Cantos,” “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” is structured as a series of lyrics that Stevens calls mere “notes.” The work is composed of a prologue, thirty lyrics divided into three distinct sections, and a final epilogue. Furthermore, each lyric is composed of seven stanzas of three verses in a meter resembling iambic pentameter. Despite this seemingly regular meter and form, the structure of events is not linear and multiple voices are present. While the primary voice in the poem is that of the master poet addressing the “ephebe,” or lyricist-to-be, other characters like MacCullough and Canon Aspirin drive the narration as well. The narrative streams intersect and have no clear beginning and end. In addition, a shifting “you” throughout the poem allows the speakers’ audience to take on many identities, often making it unclear whether the ephebe, a group of poets, or the reader is being addressed. This emphasis on heteroglosia and shifting identities, consistent with works like “The Wasteland” and Montage of a Dream Deferred, reinforces the realization that the “Supreme Fiction”—the master narrative of reality—is ultimately unattainable.

While form and structure are important to “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction,” Stevens’ ideas about the power of language and the limitations of personal perception are the poem’s defining elements, as well as the thematic threads that run throughout modernist poetry. In fact, critic James Miller considers Stevens’ poem “a focal point for the discussion of the theory of an American long poem,” for the “supreme fiction” that Stevens strives to define is the very thing that other modernist poets like Whitman and Eliot had tried to create with their poetry (21). Thus, in a very metafiction-like way, “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction” is a poem about writing poetry—a poem that prescribes that the “supreme fiction” “Be abstract,” “Change,” and “Give Pleasure.” In the first section of the poem, the master poet challenges the ephebe to “[perceive] the idea/ Of this invention, this invented world” (3). Immediately, Stevens reminds us about the fiction of our reality—that reality, as we perceive it, is something the human imagination has invented. This notion of invention is reminiscent of the themes of rewriting and revision that we encountered in H.D.’s Trilogy. Similarly, another moment of parallel comes as the master poet expresses the same hesitations that H.D’s speaker has about naming, saying, “But Phoebus was/ A name for something that never could be named” (16-17). In these lines, in particular, we can see that Stevens was heavily influenced by philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. In “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense,” Nietzsche deconstructs language, asking, “What is a word…[but] the copy in sound of a nerve stimulus?” (2). Thus, if Stevens agrees that a word cannot adequately describe the essence of the concept it conveys, then he also comes to realize that a group of words, or even a group of lyrics, can not adequately present a single “truth” about the essence of reality.

Stevens builds upon these ideas in his second and third criteria for “the supreme fiction.” In the section titled “It must change,” the master poet again struggles with the elusive nature of reality. He contemplates how he is to reveal “the uncertain light of a single, certain truth,” and comes to realize the impossibility of the task (2). When reflecting on the inexorable connection between personal perception and reality, the speaker acknowledges, “These external regions, what do we fill them with/ Except reflections” (30). Here, Stevens concedes that poetry, literature, or anything that tries to define reality is limited by individual experience. Like many other modernist poets, Stevens grapples with the role of poet as a “potential configurer of public consciousness” (Schlosser 78). In the final epilogue or coda, he addresses a soldier—symbolically, the ephebe at war with the poetic task at hand—and effectively fuses the public notion of war with the very private and personal process of poetic expression. Thus, although he acknowledges the poet’s power, Stevens also acknowledges the poet’s limitations in using personal perceptions to represent the “supreme” and shared public reality of their time.

Although Steven’s poem abounds with dense philosophical imagery, dissecting some of his themes can help to create a lens through which we can read other modernist works. His form and central arguments reveal that the long poem is a genre obsessed with the dream of providing America with a “Supreme Fiction.” Perhaps the reality is that the “Supreme Fiction” is merely unattainable. This analysis only scratches the surface of all that could be said about Steven’s “Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction.” Although Stevens seems to raise more questions than he answers, his poem can help us to determine both the functions and limitations of the long poem as a genre.

Works Cited

Carroll, Joseph. Wallace Stevens’ Supreme Fiction: A New Romanticism. Baton Rouge, Louisiana State Univ., 1987. Print.

M. Keith Booker. “Notes Toward a Lacanian Reading of Wallace Stevens.” Journal of Modern Literature. JSTOR. 16 March 2013. Web.

Miller, James E, Jr. The American Quest for a Supreme Fiction: Whitman’s Legacy in the Personnal Epic. Chicago: U. of Chicago, 1979. Print.

Nietzsche, Friedrich. “On Truth and Lies in a Nonmoral Sense.” Interactive Media Research Library. Utah State University. 16 March 2013. Web.

Stevens, Wallace. Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction. Online Resources. Howard University. 12 March 2013. Web.

Playlist for Omeros

Friday, March 15th, 2013
Playlist for Omeros, Derek Walcott – feat. St. Lucian folk music!
Beginning with….
 
Sons and Daughters of Saint Lucia (St. Lucian National Anthem)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xSkqiOZGGHA (Adopted in 1967, words by Charles Jesse, composed by Leton Felix Thomas. Also, here: www.stlucia.gov.lc/)
Sons and daughters of Saint Lucia,love the land that gave us birth,land of beaches, hills and valleys,fairest isle of all the earth.Wheresoever you may roam,love, oh, love our island home.
Gone the times when nations battledfor this ‘Helen of the West’,gone the days when strife and discordDimmed her children’s toil and rest.Dawns at last a brighter day,stretches out a glad new way.
May the good Lord bless our island,guard her sons from woe and harm!May our people live united,strong in soul and strong in arm!Justice, Truth and Charity,our ideal for ever be!
 
Ronald “Boo” Hinkson, “Dance The Hall”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YorL_S-jG44 (This is St. Lucia’s leading guitar man when it comes to rhythm and blues, jazz, some calypso, etc. St. Lucia today is well-known for it’s internationally acclaimed, annual Jazz Festival. Props to a friend for the knowledge! Helen would probably like this groove, don’t you think?)
 
Herb Black, “Calypso Jail”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoL5KG5khPk (Herb Black! St. Lucia’s triple crown Calypso Monarch – the nearby islands of Trinidad and Tobago have a competition annually called, the Calypso Monarch (Wikipedia told me this). For those of you that don’t know, Calypso is a style of music that originated in TnT from French and African influences.)
 
Soca Remix by DJ Extreme (oh my god)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fLsGrtNBhsI (Soca is a style of music that also originated in Trinidad and Tobago – and now to Wikipedia because that’s all I know. AH, okay: Calypso lilt, with some French Antilles heavy-on-the-cadences, with Indian musical instruments. Woah. So, check out this remix! It isn’t super obnoxious, it’s just super long, but just click to a random place until you like a melody and hang out around there and take a listen. It’s definitely fun and energetic!)
 
Folk Music, in the style of Jwé
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nl2eVYFy3uY (This style of music is associated with parties, wakes, any social gathering, really. Wikipedia says that it indicates a social mood – people should talk to each other, be friendly.)
 
Top Things Saint Lucians Say Video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2NUV_x19bc (This is just amusing :P)
If I find anything else, I’ll try and add it on! I’m jamming to some Soca right now… and reading for this class. Haha 🙂