Tuesday, May 15, 2012

in retrospect (dana fucich)

As an extremely absent-minded and forgetful person, the use of a blog to do work has been hard.  I had a habit of forgetting, even if I would check the main teaching page.  I feel like I'm more inclined to do homework or reading when I know I have a class on a certain day.  Also, there's something quite intimidating about knowing that other students can see my posts.  I probably spent more time making my post sound intelligent than necessary.  Which was probably more time spent on the actually assignment than necessary.  This is probably just me, but I didn't particularly like using the blog.  I like attending a class, the online stuff is a little strange to me.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

guthrie and whitman (dana fucich)

There is definitely a relationship between art and politics and I think that relationship is one of awareness.  Art is an engaging medium when it comes to questioning political agendas, it can be a powerful way of opening up the public's eyes.  Their correlation isn't harmonious, but politics propels a lot of artists and ideas, in turn, propelling action against injustices and the misuse of power.  Politics inspires art: art informs us of political corruptness.
In regards to this relationship, Whitman and Guthrie have similar themes while having noticeable dissimilarities in their approaches.  They both focus on the subject of America, the working class and address the idea of equality amongst all men.  And, yet, at the same time their use of political subject matter is handled differently.  Whitman raises questions; he addresses the reader and forces them to understand their own political standing.  He also juxtaposes the class differences in an attempt to equalize them:
   "Here the profound lesson of reception, nor preference nor denial,
    The black with his woolly head, the felon, the diseas’d, the illiterate person, are not denied;
    The birth, the hasting after the physician, the beggar’s tramp, the drunkard’s stagger, the laughing party of mechanics,
    The escaped youth, the rich person’s carriage, the fop, the eloping couple,"
The road is a shared space that does not discriminate, and does not acknowledge the differences of its travelers.
Guthrie, on the other hand, is forceful with his political themes.  There aren't too many questions or implications, the delivery of these themes are more forward and direct.  His political standing is evident; he is informing his listener rather than asking them to consider their own stance and what that means to them.
   "Every state in the Union us migrants have been 
We'll work in this fight and we'll fight till we win"
   "In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people, 
By the relief office I seen my people; 
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking 
Is this land made for you and me?"
Guthrie visualizes his retaliation, and, his desire for equality is comprehensible, but he understands that it isn't a reality.  Both Whitman and Guthrie try to break the barriers of social status, but only Guthrie uses inequality as a means of translating the rights of men to be equals.
As for their mediums, Guthrie's is, by far, more accessible than Whitman's.  Both have the ability to effectively use the unique nature of art to take a stand against or call attention to American politics and social structures.  But the opportunity each one has to reach an audience do not match.  The poetry audience is more limited, while music has a greater compass.  But even if that is the case, neither Whitman nor Guthrie can unify the country if the country isn't listening.  As ideal as it would be for their ideas to bring America closer, they are progressively becoming less influential as artists.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

the book of the dead (dana fucich)

Both Whitman and Rukeyser's poems are of mourning.  Their scales may differ: Whitman is more confined to his subject, while Rukeyser's subject is less restricted to an individual.  Both poets are remembering an event, and more specifically, the people tied to that event.  The "you" in "The Book of the Dead" has a more ambiguous nature to it.  On the other hand, Whitman's "you" is concentrated, it is a singular subject, the object of his elegy.
Both poems end with an extension of love, they both give the reader and idea of their endurance for what has been lost.  Rukeyser and Whitman allude to the notion of giving love to strangers, a sort of compassion for all life.  Whether it be grand or mundane, together, these poems are indirectly channeling eternal love for victims. 
"The Book of The Dead" and "When Lilacs Last..." are reminding readers to commemorate those passed.  Both poets are inviting the reader to remember with them.  They are fine tuning the readers' empathy for human life, asking them to be as compassionate towards the deceased they may not have known with equal vigor as they would with a loved one.  These poems are mourning historical tragedies which emphasizes the importance of reminiscence and retention.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

project (dana fucich)

I've decided on furthering my review of Whitman's peers.  I intend to convey my "evidence of learning" by the use of a replacement poem.  I will either use "Song of Myself" or "Song for Occupations" and replace nouns/verbs with those of a peer.  Instead of using my own I plan on finding a poem by Longfellow or Aldrich (etc.) that has a similar narrative as one of the aforementioned poems.  Then I will weave that narrative into Whitman's to hopefully create a new poem that still has trace evidence of the original version.

Monday, March 12, 2012

O Captain! My Captain! (dana fucich)

First thing I think of when I read, "Walt Whitman’s presence within American mass (or popular) culture," is:

"Oh captain, my captain, you've been drinking, what happened?"
And even if my musical tastes have changed since high school, I still respect Keith Buckley (he would be the "lyricist/vocalist") for referencing literature in his lyrics and being his own kind of poet (he used to be an English teacher and has a BA) and, specifically, for taking one man's creativity and giving it relevance to his own.  

The other times I've seen "O Captain, My Captain," referred to in a contemporary setting is always in a matter that is mocking Dead Poet's Society.  Family Guy and How I Met Your Mother both use the quote in this way, to imitate the DPS scene for humor, kind of separating the purpose of these shows from the author.  Whitman may be detached from the initial understanding of these moments in both shows, but to those of us who get the "joke" it isn't much of one...

The Family Guy clip can be viewed here, I couldn't find the How I Met Your Mother clip.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

and shall put into the fire (dana fucich)

A formal assessment or examination of something.

Examine or assess (something) with the possibility or intention of instituting change if necessary.

The anonymous review of “Leaves of Grass” printed in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Newspaper is deserving of a “lol.”
I’m considerably outraged by the allowance of the attack of transcendentalists due to small-mindedness and an obvious unintelligible nature, this person probably has an affinity for lackluster love poems.  Our reviewer is likely a romantic, Victorian idealist and, in other words, a bore.  Just the fact that the “reviewer” has to assault an author devastates their credibility as far as I’m concerned, assuming Whitman is a “morbid sensualist” (as if there’s anything wrong with that) and suggesting “the author should be sent to a lunatic asylum” only stresses this person’s close-mindedness.  Unfortunately the tendency towards actualizing personal vendettas in a review doesn’t necessarily make someone less reputable.  The fact that this review in no way addresses poetic stylization or Whitman’s use of language or his intent as a poet, it is in no way “a formal assessment or examination of something,” but instead singles out a group of individuals and tires to demoralize them is as hilarious as it is infuriating.  This should never have been printed, but apparently the 19th century reviewers cared less about observing content and more about singling out an author who has offended them with their “pseudo-philosophy” and progressive thought process.  Then again the Victorian era was one of subdual appropriation to define “morals.”
Whether or not a reviewer likes Whitman is of no concern to me.  “Different strokes…” but this anonymous “reviewer” could have taken a lesson from the anonymous examinations in The Literary Examiner and The Critic, both of which are full-bodied, contextually lush assessments.  Not to mention that they are actual reviews as the word is defined.  The allowance of the publications in Frank Leslie’s… and Punch Magazine are pathetic.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Fanny Wright (dana fucich)

Taken from Wikipedia because I'm a lazy shit and don't want to paraphrase:
"Frances Wright (September 6,1795 – December 13, 1852) also widely known as Fanny Wright, was a Scottish-born lecturer, writer, freethinker, feminist, abolitionist, and socialreformer, who becamea U. S. citizen in 1825. That year she founded the NashobaCommune in Tennesseeas a utopian community to prepare slaves for emancipation,intending to create an egalitarian place, but it lasted only three years. Her Viewsof Society and Manners in America (1821) brought her the most attention asa critique of the new nation."

Obviously, Whitman and Wright shared similar views on slavery, although Whitman didn't necessarily agree with abolitionism.  They both believed in freedom for slaves, Frances spent a lot of time in the states creating a community to educate slaves in order to prepare them for freedom.  Although an abolitionist, her activism caused an objective separation between herself and leading abolitionists.  But she continued to be an advocate for women and slaves.
Though her methods were more direct, both Whitman and Wright challenged America's social constructs through their writing.
Whitman said of Wright, "we all loved her: fell down before her: her very appearance seemed to enthrall us." and went on to say she was, "sweeter, nobler, grander--multiplied by twenty--than all who traduced her," pronouncing his admiration for Wright later in his life (Fanny Wright: Rebel in America, Morris, 3).