Thursday, April 21, 2011

technologic backlash?

Will there be a backlash against technology? A resistance toward all things electronic and robotic? Will people again write letters, hold a book, pick up the phone, meet a person in a coffee shop rather than an online chat-room, put on a record? There is no doubt that technology has been and will be influential and beneficial but I think these tangible human activities will become romantic again. I think they'll make a come-back! Although the community who already does cherish these old-fashioned non-technological amenities is small, it is supportive. Maybe I am just being hopeful because I want to sell books but also make a living...but I don't think that humans will ever truly lose the desire to hold an actual book, flip through the pages, walk through a library. I think these things will never die because they connect us with generations before us and remind us what it is to be human. I love the things technology provide; I can't live without my iphone, email, ipod, I mean I am writing this in a blog... But people will always need to tell stories and these stories will need a place more romantic than the shelf of a Kindle.
Here is a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti, the co-founder of City Lights Booksellers and Publishers and wonderful artist, which perfectly encapsulates the romantic old-fashioned "fireflies" of humanity.

"Are There Not Still Fireflies"

Are there not still fireflies
Are there not still four-leaf clovers
Is not our land still beautiful
Our fields not full of armed enemies
Our cities never bombed to oblivion
Never occupied by iron armies
speaking iron tongues
Are not our warriors still valiant
ready to defend us
Are not our senators still wearing fine togas
Are we not still a great people
Is this not still a free country
Are not our fields still ours
our gardens still full of flowers
our ships with full cargoes

Why then do some still fear
the barbarians are coming
coming coming
in their huddled masses
(What is that sound that fills the ear
drumming drumming?)

Is not Rome still Rome
Is not Los Angeles still Los Angeles
Are these really the last days of the Roman Empire

Is not beauty still beauty
And truth still truth
Are there not still poets
Are there not still lovers
Are there not still mothers
sisters and brothers
Is there not still a full moon
once a month

Are there not still fireflies
Are there not still stars at night
Can we not still see them
in bowl of night
signalling to us
our so-called manifest destinies?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

angelheaded hipsters

Last night I went to a poetry reading, the Bang Out series, in the Mission district of San Francisco. The theme of the reading was social media disasters. The topic had such potential to be quite rich but I was a bit disappointed. There were a few very talented poets, one in particular who had been pals with Allen Ginsberg.
As I tried to explain to a friend the complicated and wild adventures of the Beat generation, I realized how much I revere that group of artists. So, I naturally went home to read some Kerouac and sent my friend a barrage of Ginsberg poems with my own literary criticism, marking brilliant passages. I then turned to Rob Epstein's movie "Howl" with James Franco and again fell in love with the newness and originality of this period of poetry. (Not to mention James Franco..mmm)
What will be the next poetic revolution?
How can we, as artists, "make it new"? (As Ezra Pound would stress as imperative)
These are questions that I ask myself when I am writing my own poetry and hope to answer or see the answer in my lifetime!

The poem "Howl" is very long but this is my favorite excerpt, incidentally it is how the poem begins:

by Allen Ginsberg
I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery of night,
who poverty and tatters and hollow-eyed and high sat up smoking in the supernatural darkness of cold-water flats floating across the tops of cities contemplating jazz,
who bared their brains to Heaven under the El and saw Mohammedan angels staggering on tenement roofs illuminated
-taken from the poetry foundation
And I am now signed up for a Gender and Modernism class in the Fall!
And am applying for a job at City Lights romantic...

Monday, April 11, 2011

poem a day keeps the blues away

I believe in the power of literature. I guess that goes without saying...I am investing heavily in my literary education. As a being on this planet, I believe that to share stories is necessary to our emotional growth and balance. Writing is a very powerful form of expression, especially poetry.
From this blog on, I will include a poem in each post. The poem hopefully will coincide with the topic of the blog-post but can be arbitrary.
Today I have been thinking of a poem I fell in love with as I was graduating college. I think it spoke to a time in my life where everything was alternating drastically but one thing was unchanging: my passion for knowledge. I think it is beautiful and I hope you enjoy it.

KNOWLEDGE: by Louise Bogan
Now that I know
How passion warms little
Of flesh in the mould,
And treasure is brittle,--

I’ll lie here and learn
How, over their ground,
Trees make a long shadow
And  a light sound

Monday, April 4, 2011

the graduate

Words I have learned as a graduate student. These words are now common in my everyday speech. Do not be alarmed, they are simply used to artificially embellish...
picture from NatalieDee

Friday, April 1, 2011


Pretty incredible that I have gone from the most snow I have ever seen to skipping around in shorts.
I have to say that the environment here in Berkeley has changed drastically from the past couple weeks. People are reveling in the sunlight; whistling, catching themselves grinning, sending salutations stranger's ways. I find myself with a spring in my step, bouncing off the balls of my feet...
It got me thinking of people who don't see the sun for months and months; the winter often lasting well into April. Where do they get their vitamin D from? It's not that I don't like the cold, I love the snow, but I also love sunshine.
So my wandering mind brought me to the fact that I love California.  I can have both the best snow in the world and the same time.