Remember, the going rate for complaints of “I don’t get poetry” is two for one, two bits of analysis for each complaint.
Here’s the Charles Bukowski poem I mention down thread,
as part of our discussion, The Unofficial Poet Laureates of Los Angeles
Our other two discussions this week are:
Writing Papers Redux
Lions and Tigers and Poems.
1.The Unofficial Poet Laureates of Los Angeles
Wanda Coleman has been called the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Charles Bukowski, most famously known as the Poet Laureate of Skid Row, has also been called the Poet Laureate of Los Angeles. Bukowski died in 1994 but lives on in his reputation and writing as the same cantankerous old dude he was when alive. We lost Coleman in 2013. How is it that these two, racially disparate as they are, in a town where, as we have learned, racial differences matter a great deal, how is it that these two share the crown of Poet Laureate of the city of Nuestra Senora Reina de Los Angeles? They’ve found a common ground, or at least their audience has. What are they doing right? What do they do that might set an example to those who have failed to unite Los Angeles?
To help us “hear” these artists, I’ve included a Bukowski poem, above, and I encourage you to find and share links to Coleman reading her work online (there are many instances of her work available via MP3 sites, and rather than choose for you, I thought I’d give you a chance to see, or hear, what you like, please share a link to what you found). The Bukowski poem is not L.A.-related on its surface but it offers powerful insights into the personality of its creator. How does hearing their voices flesh out your understanding of our unofficial laureates and the city itself?
2.Lions and Tigers and Poems
Use this space to reflect on the poetry we have read and heard and particularly the poems about Los Angeles. I particularly invite you to share your own selections. If you want to share a poem about Los Angeles, be sure to introduce the discussion of it and include a link or the poem itself in the body of your post.
Jump in with whatever feels important to you to say about any of the poems and poets we have read, but don’t limit yourself to likes and dislikes. Share what you like or don’t, if you must, and then move on to share some analytical thought about the works. Consider form, language, and metaphor. Consider author perspective.
Some starter thoughts: Reznikoff and Brecht, like William Faulkner and many writers of their time, came to Los Angeles as exiles in one form or another. Reznikoff’s exile, like Faulkner’s, is self-imposed, we might say, or we might think of these artists as economic refugees seeking the freedom that money can bring. Both came to work in the film industry. Brecht also worked in the industry but his exile is political. How do these factors inform their work?
Finally, please don’t be intimidated. You do not need an MFA to discuss poetry, as a reader, you are the expert of your experience.
3.Writing Papers Redux
The basis of most of the world’s troubles are matters of grammar. – Miguel de Montaigne
Almost two papers down, leaving only two to go. What are you learning? Remembering? Are hoping to forget? The lessons learned on composing critical essays here will serve you well throughout the rest of your college career. In most of your future classes, literature especially, your teachers will know your work by the quality of your papers alone. What are you struggling with? What comes easy to you? What new tools have you found? What new questions do you have?
Let’s discuss the final paper topics here as well. Please take a good look at the final paper prompt and share what you are going to write about here as well as respond to the topics proposed by others. This is the place to share your ideas and expertise on foundations for papers and next week we’ll hammer out thesis statements from the topics introduced.
As in all of our threads, please answer each others’ posts and offer your thoughts and encouragement.