This Monday’s class was the end of our poetry recitations. The last couple of poems that were read all stood out to me with some unique imagery. Swathi’s poem Broadway created the image of a perfect night along lovers, and showed great detail to the environment of the poem. With the lines about the woman carrying bags and a lonely man walking by, I felt like I could be walking down the same street as these people and see the couple walk by. It is strange to be transported to the setting and emotional wavelength of a poem. I think it is easier to relate to most of the poems we’ve heard in class because they have been centered on New York.
Corinna’s poem In The Village was also a good one. I really liked the authors use of imagery. He describes a mountain range that gets coated in snow outside of Milan, and speaks of a great grey river, which is most likely the Hudson. I interpreted the poem as being about an internal struggle within the author, who without a typewriter, cannot write poems. He feels his emotions bottle up and overflow, and then reaches a state of acceptance for many internal problems. The last poem performed was The New Colossus. It made for a satisfying ending to many New York themed poems. This poem captured the essence of freedom in America and portrays it as the bright horizon that it has been for many people. I thought Stephanie’s interpretation and relation to the poem was very intelligent, heartfelt, and sincere. Her story is the perfect representation of the ideals in the poem.
Monday’s seminar concluded our section of poetry for seminar. At the end, I was actually sad, and I found myself wishing that there could be more. It was pretty interesting listening to my classmates talk about New York City, and how the poetry all tied in together. I was also thoroughly fascinated to learn that each poem was assigned based on our personalities. With that in mind, Dr. Kahan’s advice, and the classes feedback just became more meaningful. We all got a better understanding of not only poetry, but also our classmates.
Each poem eventually tied back to New York City, they basically all represented how poets saw New York from their own perspectives. They depicted the city as a cluster of diverse cultures that came together to form a new lifestyle.
One of my favorites was Stephanie’s performance of “The New Colossus”. Stephanie read the poem with so much emotion, and she made the message stand out just by the way that she performed. It was the perfect ending to the poetry segment of seminar. The poem represented what America meant to us all. It was a symbol of freedom and a mixture of different people from all around the world. The poem represented how America is basically made up of immigrants and how we all have a story of where we came from, and the struggles that we underwent to get here.
Monday in class we finished the final poetry recitals. One of my favorite poems that I heard was Swathi’s second poem “Broadway” by Sara Teasdale. I appreciate how this poem perfectly captures the magical experience of attending a broadway show. She talks about the stars and the charms of the night, and it makes me remember all of the broadway shows that I have gone to and the excitement that I felt. However, the thing that strikes me most about this poem is that it doesn’t only have to be about going to a broadway show. The idea that magic is fleeting and that you should enjoy it while you can can be applied to any number of experiences. When Teasdale writes “We live a little ere the charm is spent” I am reminded of Robert Frost’s poem, “Nothing Gold can Stay”. In this poem Frost talks about how fleeting life is, and how nothing lasts forever (Which reminds me of a cute saying I saw on Facebook the other day. It said, “Lets be nothing, I hear it lasts forever.” but I digress). Live in the moment, and fully immerse yourself in the magic of life, because there is so little magic in the world. I think it’s a good motto. Personally I think we all care too much, and waste too much time getting upset over stupid things…myself included. However I think that after hearing this poem I’ll try to live a little more…”ere the charm is spent”.
In addition to “Broadway”, I enjoyed Corinna’s poem, the third part of “In the Village” by Derek Walcott. The speaker in this poem talks about this woman that he is in love with. Without her he can’t write poetry without her and he feels as though the music of his life is just outside his window, but he can’t reach it. I liked this poem because it reminded me of the song “Agony” from Stephen Sondheim’s musical “Into the Woods”. In this song the princes sing about the women that elude them. One of the lines of the song is “…Agony, Misery, Woe, Though it’s different for each, Always ten feet behind, always ten feet below, and she’s just out of reach…”
In Monday’s Seminar class, we finished up our poetry presentations. The final poem, The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus, was recited by Stephanie. It was an excellent end to the poetry recitations, as it ignites patriotism and pride in being an American. The poem signifies a new beginning for anyone coming to America and looking to start a free life for themselves. The poem describes the Statue of Liberty as welcoming the foreigners with open arms, unlike the conquering giant of Greek fame. She is opposed to the ancient lands and ways of thinking that are not free; rather, she says, “give me your tired, your poor.” She accepts everyone with open arms and does not try to oppress them, but helps them escape from their oppression.
After the poetry recitations were over, we spent the remainder of class speaking about movies, and everything that goes into making a film. Mise-en-scene, or putting on stage, is every aspect of the film. Set design can make us believe the actors are in a specific place, even a different country. Lighting affects how we see everything on the screen. For example, in Washington Square, even though we were indoors, we were made to believe that the time of day was changing periodically. The costume design, such as in Turandot, can be very colorful and vibrant to keep your eyes on the characters the entire time. I am excited to go further into talking about movies.
On Monday evening, we finally finished the poetry presentations with Stephanie’s poem, The New Colossus. This poem was the perfect ending to the New York poetry unit, because it represents American freedom and pride. The statue on which this poem is inscribed is the symbol of America and its open gates. America is a country of immigrants, and everyone has a story about why they came and how it felt to finally be free. My grandfather was a survivor of the Holocaust and after losing his whole family in the war, he set out to America in order to start a new life. After being on a boat for fourteen days, he finally reached New York. In the poem, the statue is personified and tells the other countries to “give [her their] tired, [their] poor, [their] huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. My grandfather was one of those “homeless, tempest-tost” people, and was welcomed by the statue with open arms. As the poem suggests, all refugees are invited to America, and are welcomed sincerely by the ‘Mother of Exiles’.
While poetry reading was fun, I am excited to begin watching, and comparing, New York movies in class. I do not watch a lot of movies at home, and so it is refreshing and interesting to be doing this in class.
Monday was the last day of poetry presentations, and more specifically, the day that I presented. After hearing almost every one of my fellow classmates present, I was a bit worried considering how high they had set the bar. Reciting and dissecting poetry is something I’d consider to be one of the least suitable things for me. This is due to the fact that I was never really into anything involving depth or emotion. I actually was very surprised and impressed with how Professor Kahan picked up on this. In fact, when I first read the poem that I was assigned, I was trying to figure out why I was given this specific piece. I probably would have never figured it out on my own, but now that I know, I realize Professor Kahan did a good job with assigning me a poem. I thought for sure that I would have to repeat my poem over and over due to lack of emotion, but to my surprise, I had improved enough in just an addition read. I really appreciated Professor Kahan’s tip of just emphasizing the word in each line that I thought was most important, and without this tip I probably would have never succeeded in making this poem as dramatic as it needed to be. Overall, I feel as though the experience I received from this presentation will benefit me in the future, and I’m therefore glad to have been forced to do it.
With the little time left after presentations, we watched a clip from the movie All About Eve. I was really excited when I found out that we were going to start watching films in class. However, I never would have guessed how different the experience would be when having to focus on things such as how the camera functions, the framing of the scenes, and the role that the music plays.
Monday’s class was the last day in which my classmates presented their poem recitations. Since I already presented my poem, I knew how nervous they were. Even if people seem to be able to speak well publicly, they will still feel somewhat nervous. However, I felt that the poems presented on monday were a great finale for this topic of study.
One poem that I particulary liked was Stephanie’s poem. She read The New Colossus by Emma Lazarus. This poem was about how great of a country America is. It discusses the joy of immigrants as they come to America and see the Statue of Liberty for the first time and how lucky they feel to be in such a beautiful country. I love the fact that this poem is on display at the State of Liberty because it represents the feeling of all immigrants coming to America. Many of us can relate to this poem because we may have relatives who were immigrants coming to live a better life in this country. My grandparents were immigrants from Italy and when Stephanie read this poem it greatly reminded me of them and how proud they are to be Americans.
After the poems, we discussed topics of cinema and how the rest of our classes are going to be based off of different films. To give the class a taste of the cinema world, Professor Kahan showed us a clip from the movie All About Eve. We discussed how the camera plays an important role in the film and how long the different clips of the scene lasted. This was the first time I watched a movie and actually analyzed the movie. It was definitely a different experience from just watching the movie.
I look forward to watching more movies in class and discovering how they are thought of and put together to make a great form of entertainment.
Today we finished the poetry presentations. Our final presentation was Stephanie’s performance of “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus. Although I’ve heard the poem before, I only remember the last six stanzas from elementary school. I was wondering why Professor Kahan wanted Stephanie to go last and during the beginning of the poem, I was asking myself, “What is so important about this poem?” however once Stephanie said, “Give me your tired…” I completely realized why this poem was so important. It is the epitome of New York(ers) and on a larger scale, America(ns).
I think it’s important to mention that this poem is an Italian sonnet. Most of the sonnets I’ve read have been about the feelings of the poet, mostly about love. Sonnets aren’t restricted to only be about love but I think the style of the poem is something that is important. Perhaps the poet loved New York and America and felt using a sonnet would do a better job than any other poetic form. This poem makes me feel proud to be a New Yorker.
I’m pretty excited to start learning about movies. I know so many people who love movies and I haven’t watched many in my lifetime so, watching classic films that take place in New York excites me. I’m also pretty interested in learning about the different things that go into a movie and how they all get put together. I think learning about the things that go into making a film will help me appreciate films more.
Today was the finale of our poetry presentations, which had a great ending. Everyone did a great job on the last day, and we finished with a summary of what we had to do during this project. We talked about how all of us had to take a step out of our comfort zones, for five minutes, and do our best to become somebody else. It is a true challenge to stand up in front of a crowd and convey the meaning of a poem in the way that the poet wanted.
Stephanie ended our presentations on a great note with her poem The New Colossus. I really enjoyed this poem because of its strong sense of patriotism. It was a poem that truly showed what it means to be an American, and it remind me of how proud I to be an American. Stephanie did a great job in performing the poem. She was very emotional, and I really got a great sense of patriotism in the way that she presented it.
Before class was over, we briefly discussed our next segment of the course, movies. I am really excited and relieved about this; because poetry has never been my strong suit and I would much rather analyze movies than poetry. There are a lot of different aspects that go into a movie besides the storyline and the actors or actresses. For me, it is going to be very interesting to see a lot of great movies, and look into them deeply, and especially some older ones, because I have not seen a lot of them.
Wednesday was the last of the poem recitations and I was the first to go. I was quite nervous but the experience was helpful because I learned something new about my poem. I was initially reading it almost like it was a song but then I learned that if I use pauses in appropriate places, I can properly portray the meaning of the poem. I enjoyed my poems because they’re such a contrast to each other and New York was integrated well into the poems. The toughest part for me was actually going up. But I realized that after you actually go up, you just recite the poem and get into character and the presentation goes back much faster.
My favorite poem recitation of Wednesday was Stephanie’s because she brought life to her poem. Her physical behavior was very patriotic which is appropriate to the poem. I learned a lot from this experience because I always used to read poems all in one way. But now I realized that different poems must be read in different ways to properly project the meaning of the poem.
I also realized just how good of an inspiration New York since so many different poems were based off of the culture in New York. It makes sense since New York is so diverse and it’s a great melting of different emotions. Overall, I enjoyed this entire experience.