Showing posts from January, 2014

Grad School Diary: The MA

On Monday, a classmate asked if I were an MFA student. I get this a lot. I didn't tell her about how I applied to Brooklyn College's MFA program and got into the MA program instead. However, waiting for the train back to my missed stop on Tuesday, (I was reading on the train and missed my stop so I had to double back) I found myself thinking that it was incredible that I got into an MA program. I wouldn't have thought I stood a chance because I am better at creative writing than I am at research papers.

It didn't take very long, after my enrollment, for the realization that I didn't enjoy writing research papers to find me. But I have gotten much better at writing papers. My discipline in doing so has immensely improved. I really enjoyed the last research paper I wrote on Alain LeRoy Locke's The New Negro. I felt very proud that I didn't force poetic language into a paper which did not want any——no drama. I stuck to the point——as best as I could——and didn&…

Poetry: Reciprocity by Wistawa Szymborska

I found this poem in the current edition of the New Yorker (February 3, 2014 edition) and I liked it a lot on my first read. After a second read, I felt the urge to memorize it. I'm not one to try to memorize poetry; as I am very bad at it. I'm trying very hard to not say why I like the poems I share——no, I don't share poems that I don't care for. I'm not that sophisticated. I like for a good poem to speak for itself.
Reciprocity by Wistawa Szymborska

There are catalogues of catalogues. There are poems about poems. There are plays about actors played by actors. Letters due to letters. Words used to clarify words. Brains occupied with studying brains. There are griefs as infectious as laughter. Papers emerging from waste papers. Seen glances. Conditions conditioned by the conditional. Large rivers with major contributions from small ones. Forests grown over and above by forests. Machines designed to make machines. Dreams that wake us suddenly from dreams. Health ne…

Opinion: Competing With One's Self

A while back I read on HONY, a man's statement that the best way to be happy is to not be competitive because it meant that there is only one road to success and it can belong to a few. Those are not his words exactly but a paraphrase and my understanding of what he said. I agreed immediately because this is how I see competition with others, too. To compete with others often seems to suggest the need to out do others, as if to say that one is better than another and thus to prove one's superiority. The thing is, I don't believe I am better than anyone, nor do I believe anyone is better than me. I believe we are equal in our diverseness.

This is why it seems to me that it is more beneficial to compete with one's self than with others. To compete with oneself is to challenge the self; to improve it by fighting one's weaknesses and improve one's strengths. It means to get to know one's self, to understand what make us happy and know how to go after that happ…

Grad School Diary: Spring Semester

School starts on Monday. Unless what I feel––that the 27th can't be this Monday––is accurate, then school starts in a future that is not this Monday. January just got here, I am not even done with celebrating the New Year and it's almost gone.  What I really want to talk about, no, complain about, non-stop, is the ridiculous cost of books, but I won't do that.
The spring semesters are always my favorite. I feel as though they are shorter, perhaps it is because summer is around the corner; but it is certainly because it runs through my favorite season. I'm completely into spring. There is just something in the air around that time of the year that feels rejuvenating. Shouldn't hurt one to be learning during a refreshing season.
Sending beautiful wishes your way, Jane

Poetry: I Keep to Myself Such Measures by Robert Creeley

I Keep to Myself Such Measures  by Robert Creeley
I keep to myself such measures as I care for, daily the rocks  accumulate position.
There is nothing but what thinking makes it less tangible. The mind, fast as it goes, loses
pace, puts in place of it like rocks simple markers, for a way only to hopefully come back to
where it cannot. All forgets. My mind sinks.  I hold in both hands such weight it is my only description.

Opinion: On Competing with One's Self

I've been trying very hard to put together my opinion on why I feel that it's better to compete with one's self than another. Only the words keep failing me. So I'll sit on it for a while or process it for a little longer and try again on Monday.
May your today be beautiful. -Jane
P.S. Every time I use the phrase "one's self" I think of Walt Whitman's One's-Self I Sing.

Poetry: Legacy by Amiri Baraka

by Amiri Baraka
(For Blues People)

In the south, sleeping against  the drugstore, growling under the trucks and stoves, stumbling through and over the cluttered eyes of early mysterious night. Frowning drunk waving moving a hand or lash. Dancing kneeling reaching out, letting a hand rest in shadows. Squatting to drink or pee.  Stretching to climb pulling themselves onto horses near where there was sea (the old songs  lead you to believe). Riding out  from town, to another, where it is also black. Down a road where people are asleep. Towards the moon or the shadows of houses. Towards the songs' pretended sea.


Opinion: Reality

To keep my diary private I created my own symbols for recording in my journal when I was in elementary school. At its success, I created another and taught it to my friends. We used to pass notes in class in these symbols. We even tried to create a new language (we used a repeating word before and after every word, example, to say "let's hang out after school." we would say something like "ishletish ishusis ishhangish ishoutish ishafterish ishschoolish." —It is very likely that I got this idea from one of the books I used to read back then. —So, the rest of our friends will only hear a lot of "ish"). If my brothers ever opened my journal in those days, they would not have understood what I had written, nor would anyone but  me.  Just like my teachers would not have understood the notes my friends and I shared in class. Perhaps the reality for my brothers, teachers, and class mates who did not understand my symbols would be  alphabets. Perhaps reality…

Grad School Diary: Junctions

Two more semesters to go. I'm not really counting, just noting. I'm afraid. Two more semesters then what? I should be looking into PhDs now. I haven't started doing so. Sometimes it feels as though I am standing still and everything is moving around me and I am just watching, not waiting, not interested, not uninterested, just observing. I feel removed from everyone and everything. This happens only an instant then I am toss back into things again. The fall semester was good. My grade for my 20th Century Novel class was above perfect and almost perfect in my Manifestos class; I did learn a lot from two professors who though opposite in their teaching approach, were both amazing. It fascinate me how things keep moving. How right now it feels as though it were only two seconds ago when I was stressing about my final papers; when I was eager to find out what my grades were, and now, here I am looking forward to the spring semester, my penultimate semester; curious as to what …

Poetry: The New Age by Stevie Smith

The New Age
by Stevie Smith

Shall I tell you the signs of a New Age coming?
It is a sound of drubbing and sobbing
Of people crying, We are old, we are old
And the sun is going down and becoming cold
Oh sinful and sad and the last of our kind
If we turn to God now do you think He will mind?
Then they fall on their knees and begin to whine
That the state of Art itself presages decline
As if Art has anything or ever had
To do with civilization whether good or bad.
Art is wild as a cat and quite separate from civilization
But that is another matter that is not now under consideration.
Oh these people are fools with their sighing and sinning
Why should Man be at an end? he is hardly beginning.
This New Age will slip in under cover of their cries
And be upon them before they have opened their eyes.
Well, say geological time is a one-foot rule
Then Man's only been here about half an inch to play the fool
Or be wise if he likes, as he has often been
Oh heavens how these crying people spoil …

Mind Vacation

You might enjoy going on "Mind Vacations." They are fun and the most inexpensive vacations you'll ever be on; all they take is a bit of imagination. It is when one travels somewhere through one's mind utilizing one's senses. There are several nice things about this, like not packing or going to the airport. You must pick a place and through pictures (unless you've been there before or an entirely imaginary place) visualize the place, what do you see? touch things with your fingers, smell the city or country, listen to what's going on around you, create encounters and make new friends or find solitude. If you get really into it, and decide to go away for a whole day instead of a few minutes you can try to associate the things you do and see in your own environment to where you are visiting in your head. Just do come back home sometime ;) -J