Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Poems, cartoons and a graphic story

As there are quite a number of poems in the book, I decided that instead of commenting on all of them, I will rather point out one or two that have especially caught my interest:

I liked Lucille Clifton's poem "wishes for sons"quite a lot. Most men tend to take a mother's love for granted. In fact, that's probably what most children do or at least start out doing. However, most sons usually do that with an unconciuous arrogance because they cannot and will never have to understand what a sacrifice it is on a woman's part to be pregnant, to give birth. Just how much, embaressment, pain and emotions are involved. Daughters - as future moms - tend to develop a kind of closer understanding of the matter. I like the poem because it displays the toughts many mothers have at least once in their life when confronted with their sons' blind arrogance of their sacrifice - be it a stupid joke about PMS or just the simple question "What's for dinner today?"

Allison Joseph has made me laugh and made me love her for her poem "In Praise of the Penis". Although a guy, I think this poem is amazing in the way how it describes women's opinion about our little lovestick . How we men often try to draw attention to the little thing, how we make it sound so much more than it really is, how we are so insecure about it sometimes and, however, last but not least, also how women find this ridiculous but love it at the same time. Furthermore, the rhythm is kind of catchy, the words sometimes similar making the reading smooth and fast, sometimes (when describing the penis for example or in the last line) hard, accented and different, slowing down the reading, accentuating parts.

When I first read Tim Seibles' "Natasha in a Mellow Mood" and "Boris by Candlelight", I did not know who these characters were. However, the structure of the poems struck me as very interesting - this statement and reply theme. So I looked up who they are and the lines fell into place. I found it very interesting how the author takes cartoon characters and gives them more of a personality than they usually have. After all, that is what most children do when they watch cartoons. They envision what the heroes do after the episode, where they live, come up with their own stories about them and play in the garden with an invisible Superman. When we grow older, our parents have usually told us a thousand times that that's just TV and so we stop imagining these things. The interesting twist in Seibles' poems was for me that he takes this kind of childish game but uses an adult background of feelings and experience when he lets the characters come to life.

The cartoons and the graphic story:
It was nice skimming through the cartoons. Probably the one that struck me most was the one with the white publisher telling the black writer that his book about black anger won't sell not realising that he himself is probably the very reason for that.
I take the graphic story as a satire on the notion of some women that they can stop pollution by using recycable self-made tampons taking these women's behaviour a little to the extreme. The reason why I think it is a satire and not an appreciation of that movement is that the poem displays a few hidden criticisms. For example, the woman in the story says she "was proud as I [she] rinsed them in public sinks, jamming my [her] foot against the bathroom door". Well, if she was so very proud of it, then there would be no need to hide it. In fact, you would want to show people, to let them know. Also, the resignation on the last page in my opinion holds the message, that in this world, that approach to environmentalism is unrealistic. It to some extent ridicules the practise, making fun of the "tampon boykott cash".

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