November 5, 2012

On Monday in Seminar, we started our poetry recitations. We each had to give the class a brief background on the poet, read our poem, and share our own interpretation and thoughts. I volunteered to go first. While I have previous experience in public speaking, the one thing that always gets me is speaking in front of my peers and friends.

The name of my poem was To Brooklyn Bridge by Hart Crane. The poem, in brief, detailed the various aspects of Manhattan near the Brooklyn Bridge. This included the mobs of people on the ferry, the businessmen on the streets, the exchange down on Wall Street, and finally the Brooklyn Bridge itself. Crane was a big Walt Whitman fan and, from the text and imagery that he uses, it can be discerned that he was trying to pay tribute to Whitman’s style.

Of all of the readings on Monday, the poem that stood out the most to me was Amber’s interpretation of February Evening in New York. Amber went up to the front of the room with her Mac and played a track of street sounds in New York City from YouTube. This greatly contributed to her recital’s ambiance. Her reading was absolutely fantastic!! The attitude and emotion that Amber added to the piece made the words jump off the page. Since Amber is so soft spoken, to hear her perform like that was amazing! Great job Amber!

The final poem and probably, by far, the most controversial of the day was Ariana’s reading of Love and Marilyn Monroe (after Spillane) by Delmore Schwartz. The poem describes Marilyn Monroe and her supposed “promiscuity” and “sexuality.” As Professor Kahan explained, Monroe’s public reputation was attributed to Zeitgeist, the culture of the time period. Back in the time when Monroe was an actress, women were not allowed to be open about sexuality. They were expected to be “family” oriented. If a lady was open to discussing these taboo topics, she was automatically labeled a “slut” or “promiscuous.” Today, however, that stereotype has faded away. A perfect example is the big stink that was made several months ago over the Fifty Shades of Grey series. In Monroe’s time, the author of the series would have most definitely been labeled a “whore” for her writing, regardless of her actual behavior. After doing some personal background reading on Monroe, there is no evidence to suggest that she was “promiscuous” or anything of the sort. Instead, she was open about her sexuality.