November 7, 2012

On Wednesday, we continued our poetry recitals. The first up to read her poem was Jackie. The name of her poem was Harbor Dawn, by Hart Crane. Jackie’s poem described a person living on the harbor in New York City and the sounds that he heard while he was dreaming. He speaks of the horns of the boats coming into his dreams. This has happened to me on several occasions when the music I set as an alarm became integrated into my dreams and did not wake me up. If we go a little deeper though, we can see that he is trying to make a connection between all of the people who have lived and slept in the same spot over the past 400 years that Manhattan has been inhabited. Something unusual about the poem was that there were notations in the margins that weren’t just definitions, but a separate piece of the poem criticizing and commenting about the piece. It is almost as if Crane is being his own critic.

Another poem that got my attention was Christian’s reading of The Cab Drivers Smile by Denise Levertov. The poem described the driving of a cab from three different points of views– the cabbie, the rider and an outside observer on the street. We have all ridden in a cab at one time or another as New Yorkers. Most of the time, people get in the cab, tell the driver where they need to go, and don’t speak to him again until they have arrived at their destination. In this poem, however, there is something that draws the poet to cabbie. They exchange friendly conversation, but the author describes a “spun steel” wall that the cabbie has developed to keep him from making connections with the patrons and risk getting ripped off.

Finally, Naomi did an incredible job of reading the three poems Resume, Observation, and Love Song, by Dorothy Parker. From the text of the poems, you can tell that the author had some anger issues. Observation has to be the simplest, yet most powerful of all three poems. It essentially states all of the things that she should do in life, such as getting a good night sleep and abstaining from “fun” to be a “good woman”. The author ends the poem with the lines, “But I shall stay the way I am, / Because I do not give a damn.” These poems were written when women had a set role in society and were forced to stay within those confines. The final two lines show how she rebels to stay true to herself.