Poetry moves. Successful poems contain a movement of some sort from one point to another, and this movement can be regulated by any number of devices to create a “logic” for the poem. Whether this logic offers clarity or obscurity is dependent on the poet, but the poet makes this decision. One of the most clarifying devices for movement is that based on the narrative structure, and it is also one of the oldest. The narrative traces its roots back to the oral tradition, in which a people’s history was translated from generation to generation by vocal memorization, often set to a language’s natural qualities. From “The Epic of Gilgamesh” through “The Odyssey,” “Beowulf,” and into contemporary poetics, the narrative structure has served to tell stories. Moving from A to B to C, a narrative structure often controls the movement of a poem in a logical and straightforward manner. Even in narratives in which the progression cannot necessarily be called logical, as in Mark Strand’s “The King” or Mary Ruefle’s “Full Moon,” the poet uses narrative to create an internal logic. Another common device for controlling the movement from beginning to end of a poem can be seen in the language the poet applies. In utilizing techniques such as rhythm, rhyme, syntax, and line breaks, the poet can control movement even without the imposition of a narrative structure. William Carlos William’s “This is Just to Say” presents a good example of this type of “logic,” or movement, with little imposition of narrative. ee cummings’ poem “loneliness” also exhibits this kind of control, primarily utilizing manipulation of syntax and semantics to effect movement in the poem through extreme deconstruction of the language. Poems which offer neither a primarily narrative structure nor a language-based structure can still present a movement from one point to another.
Although in class we have discussed the tropes of orientalism, techno-orientalism, feminism, and post-modernism in use in the SF/Anime genres, I wanted to take a look at how some of these exact same tropes are beginning to play themselves out in real life. Last week and this week, we are beginning to look at texts that are beginning to come close to home in terms of our current technological development. Continue reading “Our Postmodern Selves Paralleling Our Postmodern Stories.”
While I agree that robots are often used to symbolize the “other,” I think we as humans require that “other” to define ourselves as human. We cannot see ourselves unless we can define what we are not (Foucault, Derrida, etc.), but in doing this we often rely on other cultures, languages, or skin colors as the other.
In thinking about the virtual- and science- based fiction narrative, and its intersection with racial and postcolonial criticism, I questioned whether authors employ intentionality in making decisions regarding setting, theme, characters, and etc. While Nakamura’s article implies intentionality at least to a degree, especially for Gibson’s settings (64), and Stephenson’s cultural institutions (70), it seems that the rest of the story characteristics flow from the creative intuition. Continue reading “Techno-Orientalism and the Matrix”
A common quality of the readings, excluding the commentaries on Ashbery, is the sort-of stream of consciousness style. I write “sort-of” because these essays and poem are considered, detailed, and meditative. However, the quality of movement within them is intuitive and more felt than structured. The intuitive movement is especially visible in the stanza breaks in Ashbery’s “Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,” a movement from the painting to balloon (a shape similar to the convex mirror – but also to the dream in qualities of popping) to tomorrow to dreaming to the dream. Continue reading “On Reading Ashbery, Confusionism, and Intuitive Movement”