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Monthly Archive for October, 2018

“My full and cool hair would work if I were interviewing to be a backup singer in a jazz band, but I need to look professional for this interview, and professional means straight is best but if it’s going to be curly then it has to be the white kind of curly, loose curls or, […]

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While re-reading Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s Americanah, I was reminded of a quote from an essay written by Zora Neale Hurston, found in The Best American Essays of the Century by Joyce Carol Oates. In her essay titled “How It Feels to Be Colored Me”, Hurston writes about her first encounters with the idea of race, […]

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Some Thoughts on “Americanah”

Chimamanda Adichie’s Americanah is a work of fiction which tackles many of the issues immigrants in America face. There are many themes which are brought up throughout the text, including racism present in current society, love and relationships in a romantic context, and most importantly personal identity. While all of these topics are relevant and […]

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The poems “Character” and “Border” are both about the patriarchy and how they hold the female speakers back in life. In the poem “Character,” the speaker has to take the first steps from her sheltered home, but if she does there will be men who are harassing her every step of the way, while in […]

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Our sweet soldiers wanted nothing for themselves. All they ever asked was to come home safe. In this poem, Dahlia Ravikovitch expresses a spontaneous reaction to a political and military event. Her poems are engaged, and just by being an Israeli writer, she is de facto politically engaged and apprehended with prejudices, good or bad […]

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A Study of Birds in the Collection

Dahilia Ravilovitch, “The Sound of Birds at Noon” “The Sound of Birds at Noon” is a very different poem than the others in Ravilovitch’s collection. The lines “They sing without giving us a thought,” “Some are rare, some are common,/but every wing is grace,” “This chirp is entirely free of malice” employ an entirely different voice […]

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While there are some aspects of Taslima Nasrin’s poems that specifically relate to life in Bangladesh, the feminist themes are very relevant in America – and across the world – today. Her poem “Character” begins with a message that is drilled into women’s heads from the start: “You’re a girl/ and you’d better not forget” […]

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Courage and Conviction in “Border”

Taslima Nasrin’s poem “Border” is told from the point of view of a woman fantasizing about leaving her family for a life of freedom.  Interestingly, she intends on returning, which is different from many stories with this theme.  The narrator is Hindi, and from the limited research I did on the roles of women in […]

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“Character” and Inequality

“Character” might be one of the shorter poems in the set we read for class, but it has one of the clearest voices.  “You’re a girl/ and you’d better not forget…” Nasrin writes in the opening lines, sounding both accusatory and commanding at the same time.  As the poem continues, though, we learn that she […]

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“At the Back of Progress…” raises an interesting question: is true equality ever guaranteed? It’s been almost 54 years since the Civil Rights Act was passed, and yet we are still fighting racism on a daily basis in this country; women are still fighting for equal pay and reproductive rights, though it’s been decades since […]

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“Try to Praise the Mutilated World” is a poem which not only tells a story but has fantastic rhythm. Zagajewski is free in his prose, which is a characteristic of the poem allowing for its success. “You watched the stylish yachts and ships; one of them had a long trip ahead of it, while salty […]

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The End and The Beginning

This poem stuck with me the most after reading and re-reading Szymborsa’s poems, because it felt the most relevant to today’s current events. This particular poem was all about how whenever there is a war, or a tragedy, there are always people who have to stay behind and clean up the messes made. With everything […]

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After every war someone has to tidy up. Things won’t pick themselves up, after all. In reading the selected poems by Wislaw Szymborska, I found that her work entitled “The End and The Beginning” stood out to me the most. In researching her life, I found that her work was often inspired by her experience […]

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In this poem, Szymborska writes about the destruction war can cause and the time and healing the effects of the war have, but with that comes the beginning of a new life. The overall choice of words by the implies the serious narrative to this poem, thus pulling the reader visualize and feel the effects […]

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In this compilation of Wislawa Szymborska’s poems, the poem I found the most interesting and relatable was “Unexpected Meeting.” the reason I liked this poem over all the others is that you can tell how tense this meeting is without her saying it. “Our tigers drink milk./ Our hawks walk on the ground./ Our sharks […]

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In “The End and the Beginning”, Wislawa Szymborska writes about the war, and more precisely, the after war. What is interesting is her way to write a poem about this subject. We could expect something tragic, or with a lot of pathos. But her choice is to tell the story through a poem of what […]

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Peter Paul Rubens was a Flemish painter during the seventeenth-century Baroque movement who excelled in portraits, particularly nudes. In “The Women of Rubens”, Wislawa Szymborska describes many of the common characteristics that can be found in Rubens’ nude portraits. The poem begins, “Giantesses, female fauna, / naked as the rumbling of barrels. / They sprawl […]

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Interpreting “Theater Impressions”

As someone who admittedly does not read a lot of poetry, I was somewhat confused upon first reading Wislawa Szymborska’s collection. Even upon reading them a second time, there was still a bit of confusion there. Despite that, I was particularly intrigued by “Theater Impressions” from the beginning. When you ask most people what their […]

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Wislaw Symborska admits herself that her poetry focuses on the “particulars.” She is interested in the minute details of the world. She sees the larger image but she isn’t focused on that but instead the small things that would normally go unnoticed. Her poem “Unexpected Meeting” is about the reunion of two people but the […]

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I agree with the introductory line that Wislaw Szymborska creates a “detached sympathy with her subjects.” This is important when dealing with poetry because it has a bad reputation for getting too sappy and cheesy. I firmly blame this on the overabundance of love poems in our culture. By providing the readers with a bit of […]

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Try to Praise the Mutilated World by Adam Zagajewski Try to praise the mutilated world. Remember June’s long days, and wild strawberries, drops of rosé wine. The nettles that methodically overgrow the abandoned homesteads of exiles. You must praise the mutilated world. You watched the stylish yachts and ships; one of them had a long […]

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Pietá

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Szymborska writes in a pointed, direct style that is lyrical at the same time.  Some of her poems, like “Reality Demands” and “The End and the Beginning,” discuss events from World War II.  Out of all the poems in these selected works, “Under a Certain Little Star” is my favorite.  The whole poem speaks to […]

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