My friend Kaylee, an English Lit major at UCLA, has an Esty.com shop in which she sells t-shirts, notebooks, and, of course, thongs that are, as I like to call it, nerd culture and book themed because, why not? Her stuff is cute and she gets a ton of sales around Christmas. We’ve talked about good gifts for writers before, and I think these are fun gifts to get a significant other who loves books or hell, even for someone to get themselves if they are a big enough fan. Below are some items from her shop I adore.
You read the title right. Today I’m exploring the use of poetry as seductive tool. So anyone who has had a British Lit class or has taken a Poetry course of some sort will be familiar with The Flea by John Donne.
Mark but this flea, and mark in this,
How little that which thou deniest me is;
It sucked me first, and now sucks thee,
And in this flea our two bloods mingled be;
Thou know’st that this cannot be said
A sin, nor shame, nor loss of maidenhead,
Yet this enjoys before it woo,
And pampered swells with one blood made of two,
And this, alas, is more than we would do.
Oh stay, three lives in one flea spare,
Where we almost, nay more than married are.
This flea is you and I, and this
Our mariage bed, and marriage temple is;
Though parents grudge, and you, w’are met,
And cloistered in these living walls of jet.
Though use make you apt to kill me,
Let not to that, self-murder added be,
And sacrilege, three sins in killing three.
Cruel and sudden, hast thou since
Purpled thy nail, in blood of innocence?
Wherein could this flea guilty be,
Except in that drop which it sucked from thee?
Yet thou triumph’st, and say’st that thou
Find’st not thy self, nor me the weaker now;
’Tis true; then learn how false, fears be:
Just so much honor, when thou yield’st to me,
Will waste, as this flea’s death took life from thee.
Interview by: Melanie Figueroa
Amanda is a student at Cal Poly Pomona, a tutor, and an editor at The Poetics Project. While Amanda’s goal is to become a teacher, she also writes poems and short stories. On April 26th, one of Amanda’s poems will be published in the Pomona Valley Review Literary Journal. For more information about the journal, visit their website www.pomonavalleyreview.com. Below is an interview I was fortunate enough to be have with Amanda about what it’s like to be published, her writing process, and, of course, poetry.
The Poetics Project: Amanda, you wrote this poem in response to a workshop for The Poetics Project. Can you please tell us a little about that assignment and how your piece was influenced by it?
Amanda: Before the website was launched, we had a small Facebook group in which we critiqued each other’s writing and had creative writing projects with a deadline for the work to be shared. The assignment my poem was in response to had two requirements – one, that it be about childhood and two, that it fit with Russian formalist critic Victor Shklovsky’s view of art in that it takes a look at the mundane and transforms the familiar by describing it in unfamiliar terms so that the reader takes a look at the mundane subject and sees a new thing in it they hadn’t recognized before. My response to that prompt was to take the opposite view of childhood that society generally holds – that it is not something precious, unique, and priceless and, in fact, is something that everyone has, good, bad, or in-between.
Lo and behold, I said in my biography that I like tattoos, and here I have a post about my latest tattoo and first Shakespeare tattoo.
I guess the question is where did this quote come from? It’s from Othello, my favorite Shakespeare tragedy. The specific speaker of these lines is Iago, one of the most sinister and clever villains written by Shakespeare. The thing about Iago is that, by all appearances, he is a trustworthy man who has fought by Othello’s side in battles and has saved Othello’s life on multiple occasions. Everyone has reason to trust Iago, the lower class man who has risen as far as he can within the ranks of his society and is angry that, while he is stuck at his station, Othello, an outsider, can advance and marry well above Iago’s station. Iago’s sharp mind, golden tongue, and honest appearance bring down ruin on the others of the play.
Profanity is supposed to be offensive, I get that, but there are times when the word shit just works so perfectly that a PG substitution won’t quite do.
You know when you stub your toe on something? Shit! Shit just works so beautifully to express the pain, surprise, and anger all balled into one, four letter word. Saying shoot just doesn’t have the same impact, not in real life and not in a poem. Shit conveys a very real emotion that cannot be replaced by one word alone.
I’m a somewhat frantic writer. I never find a quiet space to write, but honestly, when silence occurs, I do find that my writing comes easier.
I’m too busy to look for that quiet spot, though, so I write on the go. I always carry a notebook with me and I jot down ideas. I always write down little lines or funny things I hear that I might think I can transform into a poem or short story later.
I buy those 99 cent composition notebooks and I doodle in them. I have two or three in my backpack at a time because I use them for different subjects – academic paper ideas, poetry ideas, and short story ideas.
Do you like Shakespeare?
Do you like me?
Do you like going places and hearing people, specifically me, talk about Shakespeare?
Even if you said no to any of those (which you wouldn’t, because you are awesome, right?) you can still check out this link to the Shakespeare Conference I am presenting at on April 27th, 2013 held at the University of La Verne.
My presentation title is Portia on a Pedestal – An Exploration of the Modern Media’s Portrayal of Women and my abstract is as follows:
The modern media portrays the perfect woman as a female that embodies desirable feminine traits alongside positive male traits. The way the media, such as film and television, portrays the perfect sexual object isn’t a new one, for Portia from Merchant of Venice embodies the same characteristics of desirable feminine qualities while also displaying positive masculine qualities which she dons when she changes into male clothing that are also present at other points within the play. The idea that a desirable woman is flawless in both her feminine charms and within the masculine charms she possess transcends Shakespeare’s time and penetrates modern western society as well. This paper shall analyze Portia’s display of feminine traits while in feminine clothing and masculine traits exhibited by cross-dressing and compare them to modern film’s heroines and display of both feminine and masculine traits and what this says, overall, about an unchanged idea of the media’s perfect woman.
For more information, visit the University of La Verne’s Shakespeare Conference webpage or contact the Director of the event, Jeffrey Kahan. Jeffrey Kahan has a Ph.D. is Shakespeare Studies from the Shakespeare Institute in Stratford-upon-Avon. He is the author of Reforging Shakespeare, The Cult of Kean, Bettymania and the Birth of Celebrity Culture, and Shakespiritualism. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to see you all there!
Published Poet Profile: Dan Hogan
Interview by: Amanda Riggle
Dan Hogan is a part-time English teacher at Cal State Fullerton, Irvine Valley College, and Norco College. In addition to being an amazing teacher, Dan has recently had his work published in Cal State Fullerton’s literary journal DASH – due out in May of 2013. His original haiku was about a double-parking incident and will be available for everyone to read once DASH releases their current issue. For more info on DASH, visit their website WWW.DashLiteraryJournal.Com. We had the pleasure to interview Dan via-email and below is what he had to say. He’s a smart man, talented man, so you should totally read this and be inspired.
The Poetics Project: Dan, what inspired you to write this piece? Did someone double park next to you and block you in?
Dan: I live at an apartment complex with two really narrow spots right next to the dumpster. I work so late that often those are the two spaces that are open. Most of the time, people with their gargantuan sport utility vehicles can’t fit in the spots, and it’s kind of an art to squeeze in there. But sometimes people just give up and park across both spots. Or worse, they park with one tire into the other spot making it impossible to park there. Such a pain. The nearest spot from there is about two hundred yards away, and at 1 am after grading all night at a coffee shop, it’s a real pain. So I wrote it one night because I always feel like writing notes and leaving them on the windshield, but this time I didn’t.
Below are some of our favorite writers and their very first poems ever written. What do you think? Which are your favorite? Can you see where their style started from? Do these poems inspire you? Let us know in the comments below!
“Untitled” (1582) (1 year before he had a poem published)
Those lips that Love’s own hand did make
Breath’d forth the sound that said I hate
To me that languish’d for her sake:
But when she saw my woeful state,
Straight in her heart did mercy come.
Chiding that tongue, that ever sweet
Was used in giving gentle doom:
And taught it thus anew to greet:
‘I hate’ she alter’d with an end
That follow’d it as gentle day
Doth follow night, who like a fiend
From heaven to hell is flown away.
‘I hate’ from hate away she threw,
And sav’d my life, saying ‘not you’
Tamara Trujillo is offering, for the second time ever in Fullerton College’s history, a Creative Writing course over the summer session. What makes her qualified to teach such a course? Not only is she a professor at Fullerton College, but she is also a published author. Much of Tamara’s poetry has been published and we are lucky enough to have one of her unpublished poems to share with you today.
Most nights, the sewing machine whirred from my parents’ room next door, mother obsessed with perfection. It was a tedious process: pairing our hopes in the shape of a pattern, selecting fabric for the thin paper frame, lining up seams, rethreading the machine, hours of holding still under the delicate prick of the needle. In the sleepy evening, I would stand in front of her long mirror as she pinned the flimsy outline around my form, tracing my body with her long, natural nails. She would sit with her tanned, slim legs tucked under her as she hemmed pant cuffs that flared at the end, or ankle-length dresses with bibbed fronts. If I looked down at her as she worked, I could lose myself in the crown of her expertly-coiffed beehive, swirls of brown floating me closer towards something like love but never reaching anything that ever actually fit.