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Poetry: Pouring Myself into the Pages

By Kendall Sommers, III Form

Introduction from the Poet:

I enjoy writing poetry because using words creatively is an art form that acts as an outlet for me. Depicting my emotions with strings of words allows me to be more in tune to my inner self and helps me to explore different forms of expression. I am often inspired when reading my poems over again. I thoroughly enjoy seeing myself grow emotionally as a writer and as a person. The fact that there truly is always room for improvement in writing is fascinating for me. This understanding of poetry is what drives me to keep pouring myself into these pages. In addition, I also explore poetry by reading the works of other people, whether these are poems in books or magazines or the portfolios that my friends have me read over. I learn something from every line I read, and I am inspired by how open and unique every word and every writer is. I especially love the creative genre in which I write: free verse. I choose to write in a narrative tone because it allows for the story I always have to shine through. Some of my stories are emotional, some are funny, and some are seemingly meaningless, but I use all of them as a method of exploring my thoughts and seeing how they appear to other people as text. 

Below are some of my poems with explanations of how I crafted them. (more…)

Poetry and The Intimacy of Writing

By Madeleine Wass, IV Form

Poetry and The Intimacy of Writing

Since a young age, I have loved writing. At first, it was a great pass time and then developed into a passion. I first learned about poetry in my sixth grade English class, and I then began to keep a journal with ramblings of words that, over time, began to string together. Ever since then, poetry has been with me through tough times. It comes to me the easiest when strong emotions run high, such as anger, sadness, or frustration. Poetry is a wonderful way to channel what I am feeling. My poems can come in many different forms; no way is the right way. For me, it is more about just being able to express what is going through my mind or something that has happened. I also use my poems to record and to remember the feelings I had during an event. When I place my pen on the paper, I just feel the thoughts in my head flowing out. Sometimes they are jumbled and other times they fit well together. My main goal is about capturing what I am feeling while escaping the weight of the world. The following excerpt is from a poem I wrote about a beautiful hike I went on: (more…)

Preservation of Metaphor in Translation: Analyzing the Chinese Poet Su Shi

By Yangfan Helynna Lin, VI Form 

Preservation of Metaphor in Translation: Analyzing the Chinese Poet Su Shi

“Bad translations communicate too much” (1). In After Babel, George Steiner points out that a bad translation strips the original text of something important by unnecessarily applying new elements to the original text. In English translations of Chinese poems, one type of bad translation attempts at over-explaining the metaphors, or metaphorical objects, in the poem, which puts readers at the risk of accessing less information that the metaphor otherwise would have presented to the reader- – that is, a fuller image that the poem originally presents.

Let’s compare the following two translations of the same poem: Nian Nu Jiao: Chi Bi Huai Gu by Chinese poet Su Shi (2). *Literally translated into “Nian Nu Jiao: At Chi Bi Cherishing the Past”, with which Nian Nu Jiao is the tune that the poem rhymes.

念奴娇(赤壁怀古) 苏轼

大江东去,浪淘尽、千古风流人物。故垒西边,人道是、三国周郎赤壁。乱石穿空,惊涛拍岸,卷起千堆雪。江山如画,一时多少豪杰。

遥想公瑾当年,小乔初嫁了,雄姿英发。羽扇纶巾,谈笑间、樯虏灰飞烟灭。故国神游,多情应笑我,早生华发。人生如梦,一尊还酹江月。 (more…)

On Spoken Word Poetry

By Grace Darko, VI Form

On Spoken Word Poetry

Before I start, here are some of my favorite spoken word pieces: one by Loyce Gayo and a few by Kanye West.

Spoken word poetry is the lovechild of rap and free verse. She definitely had an identity crisis and couldn’t decide whether she should speak in verse or in prose. But, it turns out her audience is multilingual, so she never really had to choose. She instead takes from both parents, honoring them by presenting the best of both worlds.

I was introduced to spoken word in my later years of elementary school. My brother had recordings of performances from the show called Def Poetry Jam, hosted by rapper Mos Def. Each episode of Def Poetry Jam was an oral anthology of poems with no particular order, and the show includes poetic performances from popular singers and rappers. It was amazing to hear some of the performances. Up until middle school, I never saw the video recordings because I only listened through my brother’s mp3 player. Yet, when I finally looked at the tape, the experience was even better than just the music. (more…)

Moral Obligation…in Hamlet & a Fetus

By Lulu Eastman, V Form

Moral Obligation…in Hamlet & a Fetus

Hamlet, a Shakespeare play, follows the tragic tale concerning a deeply troubled Danish prince of the same name. Hamlet is forced to confront his traitorous mother and uncle in order to avenge his murdered father, who, as a ghost, has requested Hamlet takes his uncle’s life in order to bring him justice. However, Hamlet is distressed by the thought of committing such a bloody deed. As he wavers through indecision regarding his proposed mission, he also struggles against the drowning weight of his depression, as the toxic environment of the palace causes him to lose faith in the goodness of people. In the novel, Nutshell, by Ian McEwan, the story of the fetus is based off of Hamlet. With the reflective fetus entangled in the plotting of his traitorous mother and uncle, he finds himself in a predicament similar to that of the Danish prince. Although he has yet to even experience life for his own, the fetus has already lost hope for the vitality and decency of humanity. Every moment of his being is spent listening to conversations that only reveal more and more of the villainous and duplicitous ways of his mother and uncle, Trudy and Claude. Both Hamlet and the fetus reach a point where they contemplate committing suicide, as it seems to be the only way to put an end to their pain. However, both decide to live instead. Though both Hamlet and the fetus have cynical views of the world, and both consider suicide, they continue living through their suffering because they have moral obligations, beliefs, and fears that bind them to life. (more…)

“I Simply Speak Best in Metaphors”–Creative Writing at SM

By Alex Colon, VI Form

“I Simply Speak Best in Metaphors”–Creative Writing at SM

Editor’s Note: The Rise of the Short Story and News That Stays News are VI Form elective courses that constitute a key part of St. Mark’s creative writing program.  In the fall, students examine the integral parts of a successful short story in order to craft their own. In the spring, students explore poetry, both originally in English and in translation.  In News That Stays News, students attempt to define poetry, experiment with form, and establish a personal voice.

Alex Colon’s short story, “Completely Undone,” was composed while using the second person pronoun (you) perspective as the driving force of the story.  This is a particularly difficult task, as one risks alienating the reader.  For Alex’s second piece here, a poem entitled “The Morning Inconspicuous,” the assignment was simply one of form: write a sestina.  However, a sestina is a very complex form of obsession, where the six words at the ends of the lines in the first stanza are repeatedly woven, in a given order, throughout the poem.

Completely Undone

Your heart beats slow- abnormally slow. You are healthy and lean, but your heart is beating along like you are on your deathbed. You must have been in love at some point because there is no other reason why your heart should beat so slow. Your feet struggle to pick themselves up. With every step you are putting yourself in danger. (more…)