LITERATURE HU 300 Pappadakis The music today is brought to you by the didgeridoo, an Indigenous Australian instrument usually made of a long, hollowed out log. Welcome to Seminar!
Reading in America In 2004, the National Endowment for the Arts put out a study called “Reading at Risk,” about the decline of reading in America. In 2007, another study showed that 1 in 4 adults read no books in 2006. (Fram, 2007) • What do you think of these findings? Do they seem accurate to what you observe? • What might a decline in reading say about a culture?
Update on Reading • For the first time since the NEA began surveying American reading habits in 1982 -- and less than five years after it issued its famously gloomy "Reading at Risk" report -- the percentage of American adults who report reading "novels, short stories, poems or plays" has risen instead of declining: from 46.7 percent in 2002 to 50.2 percent in 2008 (Thompson, 2009). • (Note: Nonfiction is excluded from the study) • What might explain the increase of reading in the last 6 years?
Poetry • In our unit we discussed poetry, which is rarely a best-seller. Why might poetry be less popular than fiction? • Where are some places that poetry does exist and thrive in our culture? • How is poetry different from prose?
Why Poetry? • What are some of the unique benefits poetry can offer to the reader or listener? • Do you have any favorite poems?
“Meditation on Yellow” • By Jamaican writer Ms. Olive Senior • http://jamaica.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=603&x=1 Pictured borrowed from http://www.insomniacpress.com
The Haiku – a Japanese poem “Oh these spring days! A nameless little mountain Wrapped in morning haze!” --Haiku poet and Zen monk Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)
The Haiku – a Japanese poem • Has 3 lines, 17 syllables • “Controlled simplicity” (Fiero 2009). • Makes an observation about a situation, and then awareness. • Usually about nature. • Not usually about love or feelings. • “The poet, observer, in a Zen state of mind sees the ruth of a situation… the Simplicity… and writes about it WITHOUT personal interpretation or involvement” (Boloji, 2010). • No first person. • About “day to day happenings which are seemingly unimportant but attain a lot of importance” (Boloji 2010). • 5-7-5 syllables? Line 1: 5 Syllables Line 2: 7 Syllables Line 3: 5 Syllables
Ezra Pound, American poet 1885-1972 • An “imagist” poet – imagist writers cut away all the unnecessary stuff by “abstraction” in order to get to the bare essence of things. • “Verbal compression, formal precision, and economy of expression were the goals of the Imagists” (Fiero 2009). • Ezra Pound’s Haiku-like poems remind us of the Japanese style: simple, observant but not always detached or emotionless. Let’s take a look… “The Bath Tub” As a bathtub lined with white porcelain When the hot water gives out or goes tepid, So is the slow cooling of our chivalrous passion O my much praised but-not-altogether-satisfactory lady. • What does this poem tell us? How is it different from a traditional Haiku? Pictured borrowed from http://www.likeadesertprophet.com
The Haiku – a Japanese poem! • Haikus are traditionally about nature – they are light and evoke thoughts of the natural world. For the Japanese during WWII, Haikus became vehicles to “evoke the presence of death”. Kato Shuson (1905-1993) lived through WWII and wrote about what he saw and experienced in the dehumanization of the war. “In the depths of the flames I saw how a peony Crumbles to pieces.” “Cold winter storm— A safe-door in a burnt-out site Creaking in the wind.” “The winter sea gulls— In life without a house, In death without a grave.” What effects are achieved by this “verbal compression”?
The Haiku – a Japanese poem…let’s write our own! • Has 3 lines, 17 syllables • “Controlled simplicity” (Fiero 2009). • Makes an observation about a situation, and then awareness. • Usually about nature. • Not usually about love or feelings. • “The poet, observer, in a Zen state of mind sees the ruth of a situation… the Simplicity… and writes about it WITHOUT personal interpretation or involvement” (Boloji, 2010). • No first person. • About “day to day happenings which are seemingly unimportant but attain a lot of importance” (Boloji 2010). • 5-7-5 syllables? Line 1: 5 Syllables Line 2: 7 Syllables Line 3: 5 Syllables
References: • Boloji.com. (2010). Ms. Aparna Chatterjee, editor. “The Art of Haiku.” • Fiero, Gloria K. The Humanistic Tradition. New York: McGraw Hill, 6th edition, 2011. Have a great week, thanks for coming! :)