Fishing about the Fishy Fish: What are we really getting here?

Elizabeth Bishop’s “The Fish” was an interesting poem. The description of the fish painted a vivid image in my head and I immediately thought of the children’s book Rainbow Fish where the fish shares his colorful shiny scales with the duller fish in the sea. This description was much less kid-friendly and the hooks that left the fish’s lips scarred forever stuck in my head even after I finished reading the poem. Krishma and I were talking about our thanksgivings and how this poem was the one we recalled best because of the fish description. The rainbow caused by the oil also led to me thinking of Rainbow Fish. I could not comprehend what the main point of this poem was or if there is a hidden message or point the author wanted to convey to us with this vivid imagery. Also why did she use a fish and not some other creature or analogy for a message if such exists? Like the ocean and varieties of fish available to capture this poem could have an endless list of meanings or a bottomless message that can be seen from multiple points of view. Maybe the point of the poem was that a scenario can lead to many results and sometimes fighting through struggles (like five hooks in the fish’s lips) can make a person stop and really think about life or revaluate their choice of actions. I wonder if Elizabeth Bishop thought about what others would think of while reading her poem so much in depth as we now analyze her words.




Dry Desert Thoughts and New Material

The first thing I noticed about Barbara Johnson’s essay was that the font is really small. This reading was also not one that particularly peaked my interest since rhetoric is not my preferred topic of reading. The dry nature of the material was discussed by Barbara Johnson herself and it was the first thing Preeyal and I mentioned when talking about this reading. It reminded me of home (Las Vegas, Nevada) since this work is dry like the desert. This led to Preeyal and I having a long discussion about the nature of cacti and rocks and how there is a beauty to be found even in such extreme environments. I never realized how the mountains and cacti could be beautiful until I left it and found myself here in the green, luscious state of Georgia. Similarly I think there is a special meaning and beauty to be found in this work that Barbara Johnson intended to be a little less obvious. Although it is confusing since I have not personally encountered the poems she wrote about it was interesting to see someone so passionate about grammar and things like apostrophes. It reminded me of being on a plane where a stranger may engage you in a conversation about their passion which could be any number of things such as painting wooden model planes or only knitting red scarves. I am glad I got to experience this type of work because I have never come across anything like it before. 

Second thoughts on the second coming

The starting image of “The Second Coming” by WB Yeats is very striking. It is also very depressing and does not offer a lot of hope. The act of falling out of the sky is a very scary one and reminded me of the time I went bungee jumping. There is zero control and honestly not much one can do except trust the cord will tighten in the case of bungee jumping. The dark tones also made me envision an abyss at the bottom of the ocean where there are creatures we do not know much about. This lack of clear knowledge of this space is similar to the Second Coming of Christ, which I personally do not know much about what is expected or what people believe it to be. The dark tone I got from this poem was not very clear to me because there is not a single event I can pinpoint the sad, dark tones to. I assumed the title referred to the second coming of Christ, which tends to make me think of happier and lighter thoughts since he is usually viewed as the Savior. This poem was very mystical and mysterious all at once. Private Visions and Public Voices being the title of this week’s themes makes me wonder if WB Yeats is publically voicing visions he may have had of the second coming in his own private thoughts but I am not sure. This makes me second guess what I had previously thought about the second coming and it being a moment of salvation for followers of Christ and it also reminds me of a Lutheran school teacher I had in 8th grade telling me that non-Christians will not enjoy the Second Coming.

Cream of the Confusing Variety?

The Emperor of Ice-Cream immediately caught my attention with its title. It made me think of two things: ice cream (which I have always loved) and the old disney movie The Emperor’s New Groove with the llama. So with the image of delicious dairy treats, cartoon llamas, and evil queens trying to steal a throne I started reading this poem. Krishma and I texted about how this title sounds like it’ll be a very fun childish poem. We were surprised to find that the poem was confusing and nothing like what the title had us imagining. I wonder if the title was just there to catch our attention because it definitely did that job very well. Would I have been as eager had the title given me a heads up about the confusion? It really should be the Emperor of Confusion to show how it’s quite confusing. Emperor also is a strong word that implies dominance and assertive leadership while ice cream reminds me of lazy summer days and fun leisure time to lounge and frolic. The contrast in the word choice and how it makes you feel or think just in the title alone is one that I would love to explore. Maybe the poem is meant to leave one feeling confused and wondering about the intentions behind these chosen words. This reminded me of the saying about how it feels to be expecting water out of a water fountain and getting milk instead.

Annotations and their purpose- past present and future

These annotations took up a lot of space on the page, which was visually very intriguing. The focus was not on the poem as much as other works we have encountered. The references were explained fairly well within the annotations, which I found helpful. I did not enjoy how I had to keep referring to the annotations however and the poem did not seem to flow as well because of this. I found myself rereading the poem and trying to remember what the annotations illustrated to get the full effect many times. It was not something I would pick up and read casually for enjoyment in my free time to be honest because it required effort to keep up with what the words were trying to convey together (from the poem and annotations). I did like Crane’s work better than Eliot’s however. The allusions were overall more clear in my opinion with Crane’s work. Each poet’s work is unique just like himself; no two people do everything the same way there are slight variations in one-way or another. I wonder if people in the future will look at our allusions we make in writing today and wonder similar things as we do about Crane and Eliot. Social media and popular culture has influenced writing and how we present our ideas in ways these authors may have never imagined. Annotations and allusions may have served a different purpose in the past, as they may be interpreted differently currently in the present, and who knows what they can or will function as in the future.

Wasteland or Land of Confusion?

Reading “The Waste Land” was very difficult for a number of reasons. Cruising the difficult seemed like the most appropriate title for this task because the poem is so long and has many parts that were quite confusing in my opinion. The different countries of origin discussed in the first part of this poem were very vivid snapshots of different places around the globe: Germany, Russia, a desert, and London. Although people seem to be claiming their ethnicity it still reminded me of each of those countries and made me think of what the landscape resembles today and what it may have looked like when Eliot wrote about them. The all caps and few italicized words throughout the poem were a little confusing but seemed to be emphasizing certain phrases or thoughts. Almost like in a jumble of thoughts these ones were more immediate or were louder in his head. It seems as if Eliot is talking to himself in one part of the poem because the dialogue doesn’t distinguish various speakers. The broad topics discussed or even just mentioned throughout the entire poem add to the confusion and I could not think of a single theme to link all of them together other than just getting the audience and reader confused. This could represent how his thoughts actually function in his head and maybe his view on the world.

Dealing with Death- Tennyson’s tips

One of the readings from this week that really captivated my interest was Alfred Tennyson’s “In Memoriam A.H.H.”. The themes of death found in this week’s readings were sort of fitting in my mind since we have entered October and Halloween is this month! There is a journey of death being discussed in this poem and there are details about how Tennyson deals with the grief of a death. The words were strong in both sounds and imagery. Death can be so difficult for everyone but each person deals with death differently. The stages of grief were something I have studied in psychology a little and it is fascinating to see how each person’s stages vary. The anger at first can be expressed in so many different ways. The feeling of loss and helplessness can be an all-consuming one that affects everyday activity for some people. Anger often turns into depression or loneliness, which eventually leads to acceptance. This poem had a progression of stanzas illustrating how Tennyson dealt with a death and his own personal stages. Losing a friend is a very difficult thing to go through and memories can help one cope with their loss. Friendship can be a very touching and impacting thing. friends are family we get to choose in a way and their impact is everlasting as the poem describes. The form and structure of this poem helped convey these messages and quite beautifully too through Tennyson’s words. Writing is a great way of coping with any feeling whether it is one of loss, fear, anger, or grief. Although we only had a section of this poem I still felt it to be longer than other poems we have come across and this can be used as a way to show how getting over a death can be a long process. Some of the lines within this poem had a sort of distance about them and reading it out loud didn’t have the same cheery flow other poems we have read encompass. This could show the feelings of disjointedness one may feel after going through an experience such as the death of a close friend. I wondered how Tenyson’s words can be applied to each of our own lives and is almost a framework of sorts outlining the way life plays itself out around tragic events, such as death. We could even use this framework to assess sad moments in life or suffering other than death itself. Losing a job or fighting through a terminal illness or physical condition can have these types of stages as well. This poem may be Tennyson’s way of sharing with the world his view on stages of grief over a death but could also be seen as a way to help someone in need. It is easy to feel all alone and isolated during times like this. Simply knowing you are not alone or that other people have gone through similar times and are able to get through it or even offer you help and advice can be a great support system.


Natural thoughts on wordsworth & coleridge

It was very apparent that both William Wordsworth and Samuel Taylor Coleridge enjoy using nature in their writing. The poems we read for Monday had various aspects of nature within them. From the skies to flowers and even the Heavens, the imagery is quite strong. I wonder if all the other poets during the Romanticism movement utilized nature within their poetry and if so, to what degree. Nature can be a broad general term to describe such a variety of subjects both concrete and abstract. Nature can be a metaphor for many aspects of our lives since we ourselves are part of Nature and add to our environments (or subtract/harm external environments with problems like pollution). We also tend to idealize nature and even refer to it in a loving manner with the name Mother Nature. Even the capitalization of the name implies that it is a proper noun and deserves respect. Something I saw in one of Coleridge’s poems was that he did not capitalize all the words I would have expected him to. The language of the words in Wordsworth’s poetry was also confusing. There were a lot of thoughts in my head while I read the poems assigned for Monday but the main questions and thoughts centered around nature since it came up so often. The stanzas themselves were pretty dense in most of the poems- in terms of how many words were used per line. Since I was thinking about nature already I thought of a forest with lots of trees near one another but little pathways between the patches of density and how the stanzas were like the patches of trees with little spaces between them to walk from on to the next (or read on from one stanza to the next).

Student Presentation- Priya Ramalingam

The poem I will be discussing is from the book Fall Higher by Dean Young:

Optimistic Poem

You expected an affordable daydream

but got an unhinged psalm. Oh well,

you expected an early spring, no less

than you, hell, everyone deserves, vexed


as we are with these frizzled oscillations,

the motor hardly turning over, the last

of our fathers lifeless on the left side,

a rowboat slosh in his voice. But throw back


your shot glass of tears, my dear, wink

into the mirror: you’re still here after all.

Love floats its bone in the throat,

sometimes it hurts to swallow. The moon,


once so full of itself, now spills

a richer, more tipsy eclipse upon

the boondocks, kidnapped kids resurfacing

in convenience stores across this fair land,


tattooed but elfin still with a new knowledge

of mankind. Some definitions chip away but others,

some fulsome, some frisky, some calm

come forth to take up neglected objects,


direct and indirect both so the healing

may commence reconnecting us, what

we’ve been alarmed wouldn’t be freely

dispensed but turns out already lurking


inside us like that tiny, liquid-filled orb

inside a golf ball, where god is or the beginning,

that first density, first word we learned

to read. In my case it was look.

Mildly dark & confusing tones of “The passionate shepherd to his love”

Christopher Marlowe’s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love was a fairly quick and simple read. The stanzas fully used end rhyme and had the fairy tale bounce sound to it. I expected the lines to rhyme with one another but I did not expect, however, the semi dark undertones. It made me think of a reverse fairy tale where the maiden is tricked into a situation, which she does not anticipate to be as horrible as it ends up being. The rhyme makes the words sound easy-going and a world in which the girl can be carefree. Contrary to the structure and flow of this poem, the meaning gave me a feeling of unease. Courtship etiquette does not include eloping or trying to convince ladies to run away with a man. I know that even today many families frown upon that type of practice. My own family would not be pleased if I were persuaded to run away with a man. One of the stanzas, for example:


A belt of straw and ivy buds,

With coral clasps and amber studs

And if these pleasures may thee move,

Come live with me, and be my love.


Had me thinking about the type of man this speaker is as well. Material possessions, such as fancy jewelry, may provide instant gratification but do not have lasting effects in the things that matter. It is almost as if this man is bribing the lady to be with him. Although I initially smiled at this love poem, I realized after a second and third read that it has some darker undertones and implications. Another thought that popped up into my head was that this could simply be a man who has a feelings for a girl and simply wants to express his feelings toward her and how he feels she should be treated.

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