Showing posts from October, 2013

Grad School Diary: Writing Manifestos

Let's pretend I haven't been gone for a week. Now that is taken care of, let's get back to the present. School is getting into November which means the serious work is here or just a smell away. I'm crawling around the beginning of a research paper for my Manifesto class. It is going to have to do with Alain LeRoy Locke. This is mostly because I find the main concepts for  The New Negro fascinating.

Up until two weeks ago, I knew only of W.E.B Du Bois as a poet. Now I'm not only aware of his role in the Niagara Movement, but I've had to write a manifesto in his stead and also for Booker T. Washington. Though writing a manifesto through the point of view of Du Bois was a challenge, it was easier in the sense that I agreed with his stance. Writing for Washington felt both challenging and wrong. It did, however, push me to see how he might have reason, and how he might have used this reasoning to convince others to do things the way he thought  fit.
Enjoy your las…

Poets & Writers Reading at McNally Jackson

Namra told me about a poetry reading he thought I might want to go to. It turned out to be a reading for the winners of Poets & Writers' Maureen Egen Writers Exchange Award.

 I was told about Jill Osier by Namra, whom though isn't a big fan of poetry, thought her an awesome person; he had met her. So I looked up Osier and found her poem "Dear" which was what  convinced me to rush downtown to the McNally Jackson book store to listen to what else she had written.

Her poems are beautiful, and she read them beautifully.  She told a little back story to one of them: a girl had stuck a stick into the snow and declared that location the North Pole, and when her brother had disagreed with her, she had declared that anywhere could be the North Pole. I really liked that story.

There was a winner for fiction too. My prose and poetry listening skills being still rather weak, it is hard to follow readings without a physical copy to follow along. A good reading is hence very …

Grad School Diary: Reading Austerlitz

When you watch the sun come up and go down. When you feel the bitter cold of winter with or without your warmest jacket. When you listen to the music you love and it makes you weep in joy and cry for reasons're happy but sad at the same time. These are feelings we are never able to express in words, we can only point them out with images. I feel these things when I read W.G. Sebald's Austerlitz. I'm not done reading and I hope to review it when I am done. However it touches so lightly on that which causes great pain and magnifies simple beauty as if it is that which is most important to focus on. And yet in doing so, the pain hurts more. It sinks into the subconscience like smoke seeps into clothing. So you see the ugliness that we human beings create and you expect that there will be more on that, but no. You see the ugliness that nature creates, and unlike ours it's always beautiful. Even when it is harming us, like wiping out a village of people. He sh…

Meet Lisa of Satsumabug Blog

A little about yourself  I'mLisa Hsia, often known online as Satsumabug. I was born and raised in California and lived there my whole life until 2012, when my husband Erik and I put our belongings into storage and set out to travel the world. It's been more than a year now and though we've stopped back in California a few times, we're still pretty nomadic. I'm writing this now from Boston, where we'll be for most of the rest of 2013. 

What is your blog’s story?

It's a chronicle of my journey as an individual, a writer, an artist, and a traveler. It's also a community, with real conversations in the comments. I've always called my blog "my home on the web" but that's even more true now that we've left our physical home behind. I don't think I could have traveled so comfortably without this virtual home as my touchstone. 
What inspires you

I love new things and unexpected juxtapositions. One of my favorite visual artists (possibly my …

Opinion: Before Columbus

What was this continent called before Columbus chanced upon it and termed it the New World (as if it didn't exist before he blessed it with his presence) and helped a race become extinct.  There were people here on these lands. We know that. I hope we remember that. The natives of the land with their cultures and dreams.

Why is it that some of us feel the need to rise up above our own kind and say, those people serve foolish gods and must be forced to accept our god, killed if they refuse; or those people are too wild to deserve what they have; or that those people look more like monkeys and should be used like donkeys; or those people's noses are too big and their hair is not that perfect shade of wheat, gold, sunshine, whatever, hence they ought to be hunted down, kept locked in a place, harassed and murdered on a whim; or those people just got to go...we'll figure out why after they are gone.

So I come back to this question often: when we claim that we're intellige…

Grad School Diary: Back and Now

In high school, I was part of everything. My name that is. I registered for many, many clubs: just never showed up. In college, I didn't only join a ton of clubs, I also showed up a lot. Even when I was so uncomfortable and didn't want to be there. For instance, the first thing I joined was the school newspaper. I wanted to be like Elizabeth Wakefield from Sweet Valley High.  Don't ask. I soon realized that my mates at the newspaper typed like crazy, and they like knew stuff that I hadn't even smelled. While it took me a minute to search for letters on the keyboard to write a word, they would be on their third paragraph or so. Man. I was so shy and so embarrassed. I didn't know how to use Photoshop or inDesign back then, I was always on the verge of tears since I was a 'Layout Designer.' When I couldn't torture myself anymore I disappeared. I did stay for two semesters, though. The literary club I tried to join in Grad school brought back memories of my…

Opinion: Photography

On Saturday, I found myself on a high-rise admiring the changing colors of the trees below. It felt beautiful and serene. I had Karma (my camera) in my bag but I felt no need to reach for her and capture the magic below. I wanted and, in a sense, needed to feel the scenery live and die in my eyes. In my meeting it and finding it beautiful, then in taking delight in its beauty, and then in looking away and leaving it uncaptured and unprotected in the stream of my memory. Later, I met with a friend because I had agreed to go on a shooting hangout. I haven't done one of those since college. "Hey, won't you take out your camera?" He asked as he looked around for something else to shoot. He had already gotten a few frames. I had been talking too much and laughing too much, and his words reminded me why I was there. I brought out Karma, which for a while now has only captured images for Mawusi, and started looking for textures that would inspire the creation of an abstrac…

Grad School Diary: Why English

Talking to another about the difficulties in getting a job with an English degree brought me back to why I chose to pursue it in grad school. I'm useless in maths. I have no head for hard technical business; I'm no good around people who make it all about the money. History is nice but it doesn't scratch my back. Now philosophy is refreshing: I've an eye on her. I've always enjoyed lit. It's always been the one class where I can shine a little. where I'm more than pleased to welcome the challenge to think. Apart from teaching, editing, writing, and such, there doesn't  seem to be much out there for the English lit major...but then I never wanted to be a journalist, and though I tried to find jobs as an editor, I was not confident. My blog is a witness of my bad usage of grammar and punctuation. I'm going to teach. I'll very much love it. I had a tiny experience teaching in college and it felt like a great blend of fun and work. There is more to…

Broadway Play Review: Romeo and Juliet

Since I saw Romeo and Juliet at the Richard Rodgers Theatre, I kept diving into memory, trying to remember if I have actually ever read this famous play. I was most curious to see Condola Rashad as Juliet because she was very convincing as Thelma in The Trip to Bountiful.  She did not disappoint. It was fun watching her hop about the stage. Well, she might not have hopped at all, but there was this energy about her that made it seem like she was. She acts thirteen. And I wonder if David Leveaux, the director, did not interpret Juliet's age too literally. The Victorian period, after all, did consider a girl at that age to be woman enough to marry.

Orlando Bloom was all right in the first act; all right as in A for effort. Of course, I do not know anything about theater, so there's no reason why you ought to mind what I thought of his performance. The good thing about Broadway is that it is live, hence it is likely that he has been performing much better since I last saw him on…