A Gaggle of Favorite Poems

This week I am continuing my celebration of National Poetry Month by posting a gaggle of favorites.

A gaggle is a term of venery for a flock of geese that is not in flight; in flight, the group can be called a skein. A gaggle is equal to at least five geese.

A gaggle is also equal to eight fifty pound bags of salt. Usually one layer on a skid.

In military slang, a gaggle is an unorganized group doing nothing. In aviation, it is a large, loosely organized tactical formation of aircraft.

Based on this Wikipedia definition, I conjectured that a gaggle of poetry consists of exactly four poems in a loose tactical formation. ūüôā

I have included links to what I hope is helpful analysis if you are interested. Enjoy!

 

1. “The Brain–is wider than the sky” by Emily Dickinson

This is a lovely poem about the vastness of our minds and inner worlds. I like the analysis of blogger ritzala.

The Brain ‚ÄĒ is wider than the Sky ‚ÄĒ
For ‚ÄĒ put them side by side ‚ÄĒ
The one the other will contain
With ease ‚ÄĒ and You ‚ÄĒ beside ‚ÄĒ

The Brain is deeper than the sea ‚ÄĒ
For ‚ÄĒ hold them ‚ÄĒ Blue to Blue ‚ÄĒ
The one the other will absorb ‚ÄĒ
As Sponges ‚ÄĒ Buckets ‚ÄĒ do ‚ÄĒ

The Brain is just the weight of God ‚ÄĒ
For ‚ÄĒ Heft them ‚ÄĒ Pound for Pound ‚ÄĒ
And they will differ ‚ÄĒ if they do ‚ÄĒ
As Syllable from Sound ‚ÄĒ

 

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Tightrope Walker Bird Millman, Popular Mechanics 1917

2. “Constantly Risking Absurdity” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

This is an interesting poem about writing poetry. I like the analysis provided by jhamann on hubpages.

Constantly risking absurdity
                                             and death
            whenever he performs
                                        above the heads
                                                            of his audience
   the poet like an acrobat
                                 climbs on rime
                                          to a high wire of his own making
and balancing on eyebeams
                                     above a sea of faces
             paces his way
                               to the other side of day
    performing entrechats
                               and sleight-of-foot tricks
and other high theatrics
                               and all without mistaking
                     any thing
                               for what it may not be
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† For he’s the super realist
                                     who must perforce perceive
                   taut truth
                                 before the taking of each stance or step
in his supposed advance
                                  toward that still higher perch
where Beauty stands and waits
                                     with gravity
                                                to start her death-defying leap
      And he
             a little charleychaplin man
                                           who may or may not catch
               her fair eternal form
                                     spreadeagled in the empty air
                  of existence

 

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3. “Women” by May Swenson

This is one of my favorite poems about women actively choosing who they will be and how they will and will not relate to men.

Whether or not you agree with the sardonic view and feminism of the poem, it raises a lot of important considerations about identity and purpose. The notion of exploitation is a universal one to which just about anyone can relate.

I like the analysis provided by SuperItchy.com.

Women                                 Or they
   should be                              should be
      pedestals                              little horses
         moving                                 those wooden
            pedestals                              sweet
               moving                                 oldfashioned
                  to the                                    painted
                     motions                                 rocking
                        of men                                  horses
                        the gladdest things in the toyroom
                           The                                       feelingly
                        pegs                                     and then
                     of their                                 unfeelingly
                  ears                                     To be
               so familiar                            joyfully
            and dear                               ridden
         to the trusting                      rockingly
      fists                                    ridden until
   To be chafed                        the restored
egos dismount and the legs stride away
Immobile                            willing
   sweetlipped                         to be set
      sturdy                                 into motion
         and smiling                         Women
            women                                 should be
               should always                        pedestals
                  be waiting                              to men

4. “i thank You God for most this amazing” by e. e. cummings

Completing my gaggle is this gem, in celebration of all the effervescent springtime writer walkabouts I’ve been enjoying.¬†This one’s pretty straight-forward so instead of a link to analysis, here is a cool choral rendition of the poem¬†for your ears.

i thank You God for most this amazing
day: for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes

(i who have died am alive again today,
and this is the sun’s birthday; this is the birth
day of life and of love and wings: and of the gay
great happening illimitably earth)

how should tasting touching hearing seeing
breathing any‚Äďlifted from the no
of all nothing‚Äďhuman merely being
doubt unimaginable You?

(now the ears of my ears awake and
now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

Spring walkabout

Again, if you write poetry please post a link as I’d love to read it. Have a wonderful week!

Comic Con FanX15. . .Favorite Costumes and Panel Recap!

This year’s Comic Con FanX 2015¬†was of course fabulous so I wanted to give a quick recap of my panels followed by a dozen of my favorite costume pics.

I love panels as an opportunity to talk about my fiction and non-fiction work, and a way to meet others who are writing or creating speculative fiction in various mediums.

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The “Writing and Your Health” panel covered a lot of fascinating aspects of mental, emotional, and physical health for people who are creating stuff.

I loved hearing about how other panelists utilize principles of martial arts, meditation, and many other tools. It was also so interesting to hear about how creativity depletes dopamine, which is why it can be so stinking exhausting! So if you feel like writing your novel is like slogging through a bog (even though you love it!), maybe there’s a bonified reason. I’m excited to look more into how to use that information to continue to improve my writing productivity.

I talked a bit about my book HOW TO DICTATE YOUR WRITING LIKE IT’S…2015, which helps writers be less sedentary. Available on Amazon:

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The “Equality in Fiction” panel also generated some awesome food for thought. I loved thinking about different ways to approach diversity in works of fiction.

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I thought this discussion went in some cool directions, including defining what equality might mean as well as how privilege of various kinds influences writers’ struggle to succeed, and how to deal with all that.

I learned to never again sit where there isn’t a mic stand. I was proud of myself for not dropping the mic because I definitely talk with my hands.

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I wish every single audience member could have chimed in–actually, I feel that way about every panel! But especially this one. I hope we addressed the topic thoroughly. I know it is an important one to me and I really appreciated being part of this.

And lastly, here are some of my favorite costumes! I can’t believe the effort people put in. So cool.

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What I Do and Don’t Love About National Women’s Equality Day

440px-Milhousdrawing
On National Women’s Equality Day, August 26th, I am certainly glad that women in the U.S. are no longer harassed, manipulated, or shamed out of their fundamental and not male-conceded right to vote.

But I dislike the name of the holiday, only because:

  • Equality encompasses about a thousand things beyond voting.
  • How many other social groups were wrongfully delayed their right to vote in this country? A separate holiday for each may be warranted but is bound to get confusing.

Still, I’m definitely a fan of a day to reflect on suffragists and all they did for society.

Are We Sometimes Weird in How We Express Our Gratitude for Voting Rights?

This is a subtle thing, but I hope our language leans toward conveying that women always had every right to vote. It’s not that in the 1920s we got something, or that we now “get to” vote. It’s that bullies got out of the way and no longer denied what was always constitutionally ours. It’s not that those powerful people gave us permission and now we are so grateful to them.

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And sure, as in many cases of oppression, the oppressed bought into it to some degree until a large enough mass were able to organize against those with power. Tons of women opposed suffrage right along with men.

But I think the point still stands. Women always had every right to vote in this country. As we all know, small adjustments in language send incredibly different messages.

I overheard this today at the gas station: “I’m grateful that leaders had enough vision and wisdom to learn to let women vote?” Hmmm. Okay,¬†kindof.¬†

I overheard this today at the thrift store: “I’m grateful that wise men realized our innately-caring natures as women, and that that means we should vote.” Yeah, not so much (I am an equality feminist¬†not a difference feminist).

Instead of saying things relative to leaders giving us rights, I could choose to say I’m grateful to not have that issue on my plate along with so many other problems. Or that I’m grateful toward God for the situation I am in now, regarding my voting rights. Or that I’m grateful toward all the early suffragists who dedicated so much life-energy, so that after the 1920s, I would not be as bullied about my voting rights as they were.

Leveraging the National Toward the Global

I think it’s okay to have a national holiday about women’s suffrage, but it has even more value if we stay anchored in a realistic global perspective, framing the voting freedoms we enjoy alongside what life is like for others.

I think it’s helpful to think along these lines instead: Because suffragists fought off so much injustice, I get to be that much less-distracted and less-hampered in applying my courage toward global injustices against women.

What I mean is, many of the issues women face daily around the world are way worse experientially than the oppression of someone denying your right to vote, or the injustices I have encountered as a woman in the United States. It’s not like we can’t celebrate our right to vote, but it’s just an opportunity to leverage that feeling of gratitude toward something that could materially improve another woman’s life.

An opportunity to become like our heroine suffragists.

I’ve revisited this in 2014. Here’s an article from earlier this year that shows what really ignites my courage to do more, to live life more congruently:¬†

8 Women Who Already Made The World A Better Place In 2014 by Charlotte Alfred