~Architecture 11/12/12~Naomi~

Monday in Seminar, Professor Powers come to our class to discuss architecture, and the various ways in which it has reflected the values of society.  I found it interesting that he described architecture as trying to provide a context for the life that will go on in and around the structure.  I can relate this lecture to my high school.  I went to Curtis High School which is the oldest public high school on Staten Island.  Built in 1904, the building was constructed in a Neo Gothic style with gargoyles and pointed arcs throughout the structure.  In my Theory of Knowledge course in high school we took tours of the building and examined the various architectural features which were present and what their purpose was when the building was first constructed. An example of this would be the blank scrolls which the gargoyles hold on the top of the building.  These slates were said to represent the blank minds which students will fill with the knowledge they acquire at school.  Another interesting feature of my high school is the double staircases.  Apparently in 1904 boys and girls were not allowed to walk in the same staircases, so the builders constructed a male and female staircase.  In recent years these wrapping staircases serve a different purpose.  Due to overpopulation, these staircases help ease the traffic between classes.

I enjoyed going to a high school with so much history in its architecture.  My grandparents attended Curtis in the 1940s and I truly felt as if I was walking through history when I walked the halls of my alma mater.  When I made the decision to attend CSI I mourned the arched passageways and stone engravings which I had become accustomed to during my  high school years.  Nevertheless, Monday’s seminar class allowed me to realize the beauty in the architecture of CSI.

I look forward to studying more architecture and observing the various features present in the buildings of NYC.



Monday 11/5

On Monday in seminar class we began our poetry recitations. I was interested to see how the whole event would turn out. To my pleasant surprise, I enjoyed it a lot. Austin began with To Brooklyn Bridge. I easily relate to most of the poems recited because of their connection to New York City, which we are all a specific part of. This poem by Hart Crane was full of vivid imagery of the city and its inhabitants. I liked the author’s style, although it was slightly difficult to interpret at times.

I especially enjoyed Amber’s poem and performance February Evening in New York. Her performance was astounding with the combined effects of the sounds of the city audio background, and her devotion to read the poem with passion in the way she interpreted it. I respected her devotion to her performance and it gave me some inspiration to later read my own poem.

The last poem that really had me thinking was Ariana’s poem about Marilyn Monroe. The poem instantly stood out among the other poems I was hearing as something more explicit and sensual. The author revered Marilyn Monroe instead of bashing her like many people during her time. I found the mixed opinions and impressions of her among classmates interesting. It showed how we can all perceive media and history differently.

11/5 – Shumaila Irshad

On Monday, we started our poetry recitations. It was different, because all semester we watched different performances, but we were never asked to be thee performers. It was my first time performing in front of a college audience, and I must say, it was quite the overwhelming experience. Everyone else’s performances were great, and so I felt compelled to deliver an exceptional performance as well.

Although I’ve discussed numerous poems in high school, I was never asked to recite a poem with so much emotion. Everyone’s poem covered a certain aspect of New York City, something that we could all relate to. I felt that everyone’s poem recitation somehow revealed their actual personality, and that’s how the performance came to life. We all had to tap into the emotion the poet might have been feeling when he/she wrote it. Everyone poem was unique, but this time I enjoyed it, unlike high school.

Ariana’s poem was definitely a memorable experience. I loved how we discussed aspects of Marilyn Monroe’s personality, and how she might have really felt. It made us all wonder that maybe Marilyn Monroe had more to her personality than just beauty and lust. It’s possible that maybe she used her popularity as a promiscuous woman to help fuel her acting career. I liked the overall message that the poem communicated, which was how all women would like to be treated respectfully regardless of their looks.

Overall, I enjoyed all the poems that were recited in class.  I liked how the poems took place during different time periods, but somehow they are understandable till today.  The poets made timeless works which could be related to the past and future New Yorkers. At the end of class, I could really say that I had a new understanding of poetry. I particularly enjoyed listening to everyone’s insights on their own poems, definitely making the experience memorable.

Poetry Readings

Today in seminar, we started our anticipated poetry readings in front of the class. This was a very interesting event for our class. Usually, we would go see performances of professionals displaying what they have practiced for a long time, but this time, the roles were reversed. We were the performers in front of our entire class, reciting our poems and reactions. Being a performer, I do not have a big problem with stage fright , but I was anxious to see how everyone else would go about their performances. And honestly, everyone did an excellent job.

Amber was the talk of the class as she dominated the classroom with the sassy attitude she conveyed as she read the poem. I always knew how much of an emotional impact songs could have as they were heard in concert, but I could never imagine how the words of a poem could have that much of an impact until now. With every word our classmates read, whether the poem was about something cheerful or dismal, you could feel the emotion behind every word, just as much as a great song or opera can affect you. Great job, guys.

Corinna K. 11-5-12

Wednesday’s seminar class marked the start of our poetry presentations.  I was very curious as to how my fellow classmates would handle talking about something as complicated and deep as poetry in front of the entire class.  Everyone seemed to be nervous to some degree, and knowing that I was not the only one who felt a bit uneasy about presenting, made me feel better.  As more and more students went through their presentations, it became evident that there are so many different styles of poetry, as well as a wide range of topics that can be covered.  I was surprised at how much emphasis was put on the way in which each poem was read.  I then became curious about how the reader is supposed to know how the poet intended for his piece to be read.

The poem that stood out to me the most was the piece that Ariana was assigned, which focused on Marilyn Monroe.  I was interested in the poem from the beginning in that, I never really knew the details of why Marilyn Monroe was so famous or even who she was in the world.  Thanks to this poem, it was brought to my attention that Monroe’s personality and lifestyle were under much scrutiny, which she didn’t necessarily deserve.  I found the suggestion that Marilyn Monroe would not have had to deal with so much criticism if she lived in a later period to be riveting.  It was disappointing to hear that a positive and confident woman, such as Marilyn Monroe, could be perceived so terribly.


Although there was not enough time for me to recite my poem today, I really enjoyed seminar class anyway; since my other classes are math and science based, I  did not have a chance previously to see the performing side of my classmates.  Everyone did an incredible job and exuded confidence during their performances.  I particularly liked Amber’s poem.  The sound effects made her sound professional, and she really took on the attitudes of the characters in her poem.

I also thoroughly enjoyed the discussions that came along with the readings.  The discussion about Marilyn Monroe made me think of all the other media-based misconceptions we have.  Newspapers and magazines often run on reader’s gullibility; the photos of models are often products of photoshop, yet readers believe that pretty people should look that way.  Similarly, people believed that Marilyn Monroe was a sex-symbol, even if that was not really who she was.  We should be aware of this problem and not allow ourselves to be blinded by media propaganda!


Today in seminar class, we started our poetry presentations. Although I am not very comfortable with public speaking, I had fun doing my presentation. I enjoyed my poem and I enjoyed performing it in front of the class. We all had a good laugh while I was trying to re-read my commentary. I would really like practice public speaking so that I can stop ending every sentence like a question and focus on looking at the crowd more. I am glad to know what I have to improve on, and I know I will be less nervous the next time I go to speak in front of an audience.

Overall, it was nice to see everyone’s performances. Everyone put their best foot forward in performing their poems. I especially enjoyed Amber’s performance because I saw a side of her that I had never seen before and she did a great job acting out her poem.

We had a lot of interesting discussions about the poems as well. It was interesting to talk about Marylyn Monroe. I did not know a a lot about her besides that she was a provocative actress in the 1940s. From this poem and the discussion we had, I realized that I only have this idea based on the media’s portrayal of her, which should not be my final opinion about her. People should not be judged based primarily on how the media portrays them. They should be judged based on facts and from our own interactions with them.

~Presenting Poetry Part 1~ 11/5/12

Monday in seminar we began presenting our poems.  I’ve read and analyzed many poems  in the past for academic and recreational reasons, but I have never been asked to recite poems, or for that matter, seen poetry performed.  I enjoyed the ways my classmates interpreted their poems and presented them to the class, whether is was a poem about the threat of nuclear fallout, a lively interpretation of a city street, or a mournful tale of death and sorrow.  Each recital was unique and touching, I could really feel the weight of the words as my classmates performed them.

The first book of poetry that I remember really enjoying was in 5th grade and it was called Hailstones and Halibut Bonesby Mary O’Neil.  In this book of poems the poet, Mary O’Neil describes the colors of the rainbow with beautiful descriptive language.  Each poem in this book starts with the question, “What is?”. “What is red? Red is a sunset Blazy and bright. Red is a feeling brave With all your might Red is a sunburn Spot on your nose, sometimes red Is a red, red, rose…”  When I was ten this was the best thing since sliced bread.  I continued to enjoy poetry well into my intermediate school years (at which point the majority of poetry which I listened and read came in the form of song lyrics).  In fifth grade I also had the pleasure of writing my own poetry anthology.  Within this collection I wrote a poem entitled Crescent Moon.

Crescent Moon

Like a slide in the sky you shine from on high

In front of the tar, you shine from afar

And are replaced by the sun

After the crickets have sung

My Crescent Moon

My Crescent Moon

It’s not going to win any awards anytime soon, but I was proud of it.

What appeals to me about poetry is that it isn’t obvious.  Poets take great care in crafting each word, choosing their diction and syntax to portray their message.  In order to really get to the heart of a poem you have to dig and sort through all of the layers that the poet has developed.  As a lover of theater, poetry also appeals to me because it is an art form which is best performed instead of read.

I look forward to hearing the rest of the poems presented in class.


Seminar Class 11/5/12

On monday’s seminar class, we started the recitations of the poems given to us by professor Kahan. I was excited to hear everyone’s poems and their interpretations of the poems. Knowing that professor Kahan chose the poems for my classmates and I personally, I knew that this was going to be an interesting experience.

Austin,very bravely, volunteered to go first. He read a poem called To Brooklyn Bridge by Hart Crane. I was very interested to hear his poem because I too have a poem written by Hart Crane and wanted to compare the two poems to better understand Hart Crane’s writing style. To me, Hart Crane’s poems are very difficult to interpret and understand. However, I think that Austin did a great job!

My favorite poem of the day was Ariana’s poem Love and Marilyn Monroe (after Spillane) by Delmore Schwartz. This poem discussed Marilyn Monroe and how she is more than a just a beautiful and desirable woman. Even though Marilyn Monroe was known as a promiscuous woman during her time, she wanted the public to take her and her acting profession seriously. She basically wanted to be treated the proper way a woman should be treated. She did not want the attention just because she was a desirable and beautiful woman. I especially loved this poem because I believe that it is easily relatable for all women. All women want to be treated respectfully and properly for who they truly are and not because of what they look like.

I enjoyed all the poems on monday’s class. I know how difficult it is to present something to others, especially your friends and classmates, and I believe that all my classmates did an amazing job presenting their poems.

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.