Saturday, December 6, 2008

Final Reflection

For me, this course has emphasized how much I enjoy literature. I find the various ways to analyze literature very interesting. I think that is one of the many reasons I like analyzing a story, because you really have to be way out in left field to be wrong. If you take the time to look at writing from different angles you can come up with various perspectives on what the writer wanted you to see. I suppose in a way it contrasts my love of history, since the events have already happened and that cannot be changed. However, I think applying the concepts I have learned in literature classes can also be applied to history in order to understand what ifs or just understand why something might have happened.

This course has also made me realize that in my conflict between a History and English degree, I probably do favor the English degree more. That being said, I am graduating this semester with a BA in History, but I will stay around another year for the English degree. When it comes to examining what to do in the future, my mind is still juggling many choices. However, if I do decide to go onto the Masters program, I will probably pursue a MA in English or possibly even a Masters in Library Science rather than a History MA. What better job could there be than working around books all day as a librarian? Other careers I have concerned are an editor or a book critic. I also believe that the degree in English could help me find a job as an archivist or writer for anything related to my degree in History as well.

I believe literature will always play a major role in my life. I look forward to my holiday breaks in order to be able to read for fun, even though by the end of the semester I am often complaining about all my reading I have to do for classes. Literature is a way of viewing the world in a different way or even escaping it just for a little while. I enjoy getting a new book and being able to examine it cover to cover. My closest way I can ever relate myself to a scientist is that a can practically dissect a novel. I believe books are similar to movies or art in the sense that you cannot always see everything the first time you read it. There are books that I hope sometime in the future I will be able to read again in order to fully appreciate the depth of them.

However, I will also continue to read just for the enjoyment of reading. Sometimes a novel can be good, yet there is not the need for too much analysis. There is a plot and a lot of good quotes, but I do not need to rack my brain over every possible meaning of the text. And although I am in college, I believe I will always continue to read books from the young adult section. I think often times there are books in that section that are proper for adult reading, and I suppose too often I get frustrated looking through the adult fiction and finding just bad books. Though I will judge a book by a cover, I will not judge it based off of the age it is labeled as aimed for. I would like to believe that reading will continue to expand my mind and take me on a quest, adventure, or just lead me to a new level of enlightenment. I may never be able to afford to travel the world, yet I know I can afford an escape in a book. I even just love the idea that a book can bring new perspectives and understandings to my life.

Although I do not write like I used to, I believe I will continue to write in my free time when it is needed. Lately school has kept me busy with writing papers, but I know that if things get too frustrating for me I can always write some random prose or a blog entry to clear my mind. I will probably never publish anything on my own that is not scholarly, if I take a career path in some form of writing; however, writing has always been more of a personal outlook for me. I think it is a reason I like the New York and Confessional poets, because writing is an outlet. Even if it ends up just being gibberish, I would suggest to anyone who is confused in their life or just frustrated to attempt to write things out. Like with reading, a person may be surprised at the clarity they can find by writing out a few stanzas or paragraphs.

I have truly enjoyed this course this semester. I was introduced to the new media of graphic novels, and I now know to keep my eye out for other similar novels. I know that Shakespeare will always be studied and I will continue to respect his writings. Plays, however, will probably always be the form of writing a struggle with. I believe they should be preformed and reading them just does not generally cut it for me. This may be because I love A Streetcar Named Desire and no other play I have read has really lived up to my expectations of what I should see when reading a play. Hopefully one day I will overcome that obstacle, but I will never refuse to read a play. Overall this class has helped me see how much I enjoy studying literature, and I hope to continue to be able to apply that enjoyment in my future either for a career or leisure.

New York Poets

Having read some of the New York poets before, I have to say they are some of my favorite poets. This might just be that I also like a lot of the jazz from that time and some of the art. I think the New York poets say a lot about the time they were in. Following World War II the 50s and 60s had the concerns of the Cold War and Red Scare. I think that made the poets very "in the moment."
I believe Frank O'Hara is a good example of this with his "Lunch Poems." In "A Step Away From Them" it as if the reader is walking alongside O'Hara on his lunch hour. The poem is very "in the moment" yet his concern with time is clear. It is as if he can write down every fact of his day that he'll somehow calculate more time, or at least be able to recall everything in the future. O'Hara's poems are very much like a journal entry, and does allow him to preserve those moments in time. James Schuylar's poem "Korean Mums" also represents this concept. He writes to preserve a moment in time he found important or influential. They focus on moments in times which are like small epiphanies, and although the writer one day will be gone, the poem will always be there.

I also find it so interesting at the ability to write something at the spur of a moment like in OHara's "Lana Turner Has Collapsed."
The poem also reflects the idea of humor in writing at the time. I like the fact that the poets had the ability to laugh at what they were doing. I think Kenneth Koch was a good example of this. His "Variations on a Theme" makes fun of William Carlos Williams' poem, which was originally a note he left for his wife. Again I believe the idea of including humor in the poem is influenced by what was going on in the world at the time. I believe it's the idea that it is possible to be respectful of poetry yet at the same time not let seriousness control how a poem is written.

Similar to the artists of the time, such as Pollock, the New York poets were inspired by spontaneity. Although I am more picky when it comes to the sort of art I like from the time, I love Dali's surrealism. However, from what we looked at in class I just can't totally understand de Kooning or Pollock. I suppose I'm looking for more depth, and they are just so abstract I need a map to find a general direction to a possible idea. However, since I cannot totally understand the finished work I'll have to respect and put more weight in the concept of the creation of the work. Pollock, I believe, brings people to question why art has to only be the finished product. Instead of just looking at the final canvas, why not look at the entire process of creating the portrayed as art.

Overall I do enjoy reading the New York poets, and I find it very interesting how connected they were with the artists of the time. The fact that music and even theatre was also changing at the time, it was as if it was a cultural epidemic. I do have to wonder if there will ever be another cultural moment like the New York school, since I think the arts have move in a very different directing since probably around the 60s or 70s.