Just Some Poetry

Today I was looking over which pieces I want to read for a Senior reading tomorrow. I was debating between two stories I wrote last year (that I might post eventually) but since I couldn’t decide which one I wanted to read, I am going to post some poetry instead.

Ars Poetica

I missed the sun today,

the way it moved

across the open sky; it dappled leaves

and squinted pupils up to nothingness.

And yet I have no urge to talk of suns,

and how time inevitably goes by.

These worries are safely kept

for those who write of love and death –

from spring and leaves to snow.

I much prefer to think, not talk of such ideas.

No, I would rather sit by an open window,

preferably one with a breeze that cools my skin,

and watch these statements of grandeur

quickly become wrinkled with old age.

Sestina for Sean

“Hey kid, what’s up?”

is how you greeted me before you told me that Sean died.

But the last time I saw you I was ten

and you were on stage singing

“Maria” from West Side Story.

I remember because that day I had a cold.

“Yup kid, life is cold.”

you had told me back then, but I couldn’t tell if you were making it up

for dramatic effect in the story –

reciting your lines before the characters died.

But there sure was a lot of singing

Back when I was ten.

“Kid, I can only talk for ten

minutes or so.” you told me. You said there was a breeze and you were cold,

and you didn’t want to get sick before you continued on with your singing

career, although I thought you wanted to leave to go shoot up

after realizing Sean had died.

As drugs rushed through your veins you saw yourself as invincible – the perfect superhero story.

“So kid, tell me a story”

you said. “After all, I haven’t seen you since you were ten,

and I need a distraction from death.”

So I told you how it was cold

today in Massachusetts, but I was hoping it would warm up

again. That’s all I could think of other than to say I had to go to rehearsal soon because I was singing.

“That’s awesome kid, singing

is awesome.” you told me. “Really tells a story

ya know? Really gets across what’s up

in people’s minds, and fast – in less than ten

beats per measure. It doesn’t have to be all cold

either. You don’t have to sing just because someone died.”

I told you you weren’t supposed to be thinking about the fact that Sean had died

But you had already started singing.

Your tune was mournful, cold,

I couldn’t detect a real story.

And even though I already knew, all I could think to say was “so what’s up?

What’s happened since I was ten?”

You stopped singing and told me it was a cold

world. The story ends with someone dead.

And that’s what’s been up since I was ten.

That one was kind of dark – I’m usually not that depressing I swear. Also the form had a lot to do with it. Here is a the wikipedia article for what a sestina is – it has a very specific format to it hence all the weird repetition.

Thoughts About Book Challenges

I have noticed through my wanderings on WordPress that,

1) there are a lot of book blogs and

2) there are a lot of reading challenges out there.

I love book people! I love talking about great books, good books, bad books, good reading spots, any of it, really. At the same time I am not a fan of book challenges. The “read 150 books in a year type thing (or insert your own number here). To those of you who can do them, all the more power to you. That just isn’t how I work. I have spent my entire educational career reading books for a certain deadline and splitting up readings into somewhat manageable segments so I don’t overwhelm myself. (Telling myself that I could read 50 pages of dense Russian Literature before bed my Junior year in highschool didn’t always go as planned).

The thought of graduating terrifies me (ahhhh!) but one thing that I realized I am looking forward to is reading what I want when I want (to a certain extent, I expect). I can never read for fun during the school year because I always have so much reading for homework that I tend to not want to read as a break on top of that. But that will change. And I feel like if I try one of those read 365 books in a year things I would hate it. I would stress myself out about it and make it feel like homework and that i had to do it or else I would be a terrible person/English major/reader or something. I am expecting to read a lot in the future/coming year/summer etc. But the fact that it is on my own free time is what excites me. Whatever I want whenever I want. Maybe down the road I will try some sort of book challenge, but for right now I’m just going to curl up with a good book and read for fun.

Thoughts?

On Writing

I might not be able to post for a while because my life and school are pretty crazy right now. In the mean time here is a little piece that I did not write, but found on the internet via Tumblr that I think is pretty nifty. I especially like the second half (I hope I am not as flighty as the first part although I like the way it’s written.) Enjoy.

What happens if you fall in love with a writer?
Lots of things might happen. That’s the thing about writers. They’re unpredictable. They might bring you eggs in bed for breakfast, or they might all but ignore you for days. They might bring you eggs in bed at three in the morning. Or they might sleep right through the alarm and forget to get you up for work. Or call you home from work to kill a spider. Or refuse to speak to you after finding out you’ve never seen To Kill A Mockingbird. Or spend the last of the rent money on five kinds of soap. Or sell your textbooks for cash halfway through the semester. Or leave you love notes in your pockets. Or wash you pants with Post-It notes in the pockets so your laundry comes out covered in bits of wet paper. They might cry if the Post-It notes are unread all over your pants. It’s an unpredictable life.

But what happens if a writer falls in love with you?
This is a little more predictable. You will find your hemp necklace with the glass mushroom pendant around the neck of someone at a bus stop in a short story. Your favorite shoes will mysteriously disappear, and show up in a poem. The watch you always wear, the watch you own but never wear, the fact that you’ve never worn a watch: they suddenly belong to characters you’ve never known. And yet they’re you. They’re not you; they’re someone else entirely, but they toss their hair like you. They use the same colloquialisms as you. They scratch their nose when they lie like you. Sometimes they will be narrators; sometimes protagonists, sometimes villains. Sometimes they will be nobodies, an unimportant, static prop. This might amuse you at first. Or confuse you. You might be bewildered when books turn into mirrors. You might try to see yourself how your beloved writer sees you when you read a poem about someone who has your middle name or prose about someone who has never seen To Kill A Mockingbird. These poems and novels and short stories, they will scatter into the wind. You will wonder if you’re wandering through the pages of some story you’ve never even read. There’s no way to know. And no way to erase it. Even if you leave, a part of you will always be left behind.

If a writer falls in love with you, you can never die.

Not Your Average YA Read – The Hunger Games

I know it’s everywhere right now but I really enjoyed this book and wanted to give it a review.

Suzanne Collins is not afraid to rethink the Young Adult novel in her latest series The Hunger Games. The first book of the trilogy, for which the series takes its name, features sixteen-year old Katniss Everdeen who finds herself in the annual seventy-fourth Hunger Games, where she is expected to fight her fellow teammates, all between the ages of twelve and eighteen to the death in front of their home nation of a futuristic North America, now called Panem.

When many of the books in the YA section of a bookstore that feature a female protagonist have the same overarching plot of, girl has problem, girl meets boy, boy helps solve problem, boy and girl live happily ever after, Suzanne Collins does not find the need to follow such an outline. Katnis, who narrates the novel, is never afraid to voice her strong opinions, whether it is the hatred that she has for her family’s cat or her spontaneous act of love and bravery where she volunteers to participate in The Hunger Games in place of her twelve-year old sister Prim. Ever since a mining accident killed Katnis’s father, and shattered her mother’s nerves, Katnis has found herself the leader of her family, which has greatly strengthened her character and her independence over the years. It has also made her an excellent archer and hunter, which are skills that ultimately prepare her for The Games. Every problem that Katnis she herself has solved without the help of others. During The Hunger Games however, Katnis wrestles with the point at which she should care for others versus the point at which she should care for only herself. It is this internal battle and development of character that makes The Hunger Games a coming of age novel.

As well as having strong characterization, The Hunger Games satisfies a broad audience beyond its young adult readership, from college-aged readers to adults. This is in part due to its wide range of subjects, as well as its parallels to the modern world. In terms of the former, The Hunger Games is a post apocalyptic novel, a survival novel, a political novel, and a romance novel. Katnis struggles with her role within the Hunger Games in relation to herself as a character, the fellow contestant from her home district; Peeta Mellark, the other twenty-two contestants, the overbearing and overly elaborate government called The Capitol who is the initiator of the Games, and her own survival. Meanwhile the entirety of The Hunger Games is being filmed for Panem’s viewing pleasure. Despite the futuristic nature of the novel, many of its issues and themes are relevant today. Readers will be able to walk away with a variety of ideas concerning the role of government in society, interpersonal relationships, materialism versus poverty, and the portrayals of life that television offers the world.

It is ultimately the novel’s fast paced adventurous plot that drives the story, making The Hunger Games a quick yet enjoyable read. Suzanne Collins has a strong control over her blunt prose, and knows when to steer the novel towards adventure or romance, versus when to steer it towards brutality. The fast paced nature, control of prose, and universality of subject widens the intended audience of The Hunger Gamesbeyond the young adult reader. Katnis’s struggle throughout the novel to find herself in her twisted society is one that is relatable to all. Before The Games officially begin, Katnis’s fellow tribute Peeta presents the issue that both he and Katniss work through in the novel; “When the time comes I’m sure that I will kill just like everyone else. I can’t go down without a fight. Only I keep wishing I could think of a way to…to show the Capitol they don’t own me. That I’m more than just a piece in their Games”.