The Poetry Journal Zixiao Yue

Journal One

I found that reading poems is very much like doing a guitar safari. In guitar store, you will find some guitars that you really like in the first sight and some guitars you don't like in the first sight but when you think about them again in the night, you will find the beauties of them and want to own them. Reading poems works in the same way. Some poems, such as "Bird on a wire", are attractive in the first time when I read it. Some poems, such as "Single Traveler" and "The Cuckold's song", are not easy to understand or find the beauty of them in the first sight; however, when you read them again in another time or under another emotion, it will all make sense in a sudden. I think some poems, or most poems, require some specific emotions or experiences to comprehend them. When you love a poem, it is must because there is something in this poem makes you recall your personal memories. When you reading a poem, you are paraphrase it with your own experience. Poetry is very private and personal. Depending on individuals, the understandings of a same poem could be totally different. When a reader read a poem, the poem, or his/her feeling of this poem, will be unique and only belongs to this reader. It is also just like seeking for guitars, as I mentioned before, which is a individual experience. Some people may love beefy necks, but some may love skinny necks. Some people may love Stratocaster, some may love Les Paul, or some may love Es-series. It is all about personal feelings. Therefore, I think it is very hard to judge a poem whether good or not, because the feeling of a poem is not stable for everyone.

My favorite places to walk are those narrow, dim alleys which was hidden by all the skyscrapers, plazas, and apartments in a city. I always visit alleys when I am free, sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the night. These long, complicated maze-like alleys make me feel peace. In the mornings of summer, with the new-born wet sunshine, plugging my headphone, I travel though these alleys. No destination, I walk though one after one corners. I never feel directionless. The joy of discovery has conquered the fear of being stray. I've met purple triangle plums in dews; I've met a calico cat sleeping on the brick-made red wall. I've met a black butterfly shinning in the morning light. "I walk as far as I can,/ then farther, past/ the chain-link barring the road,..." Alison Pick wrote in his poem, "The Hinterland". I've done the same. In the narrow alleys, the walls block the view. Nobody knows what is there after the next corner. I love being fresh; I love being strange. In autumn's wind, lighting my cigarette, I travel to the alleys. No green stay anymore. A few yellow, dry leaves tremble in the tips of branches. Under the dim yellow light of lamps, I walk. I've seen a white-collar worker going back home, drunk but alone. I've seen homeless dogs rambling in the cold wind, sniffing around. I've seen young teenage lovers, kissing beneath a tree, desperately. I need to go home now, I think. "By walking I found out/ Where I was going./...Another step/ And I shall be where I started from." Irving Layton said.

Jounal Two

I think the most interesting thing I learned in this week is blank space( or negative space). poets use this special way to add more meaning in their poems. In my opinion, this special technique makes writing a poem become more like painting a picture. It gives the poem a better sense of vision. For example, in "the unified field", poem No.5, the poet writes, "tie our boots and cotton scarves open the door/ Open the door into this wheeling white open/ This door / and walk?" In this first blank space between "scarves" and "open", it gives me a feel of the pause between those two actions. In the second blank space between "white" and "open", this repeat of "open" and the blank space makes me feel the action-open the door- is super heavy and slow. In the last blank space before "and walk", this blank space makes me feel the pause again, plus the question mark in the end of this line, the speaker's uncertain feeling is expressed perfectly.

Another interesting part of this week I learned is the erasure activity. It is really fun and creative. I used the text from Moby-Dick. I tried to erase as much as I can, and here's my work:

Call me,

And nothing would sail.

See the watery part of the world. Whenever I find myself

Is a drizzly November in my soul; Whenever I find myself

Pausing before every funeral I meet;

The street

Is nothing but the ocean.

Now the street

Is cooled by breezes.

Go and gone.

Nothing will tell

Me the path lead to you.

"Fridge Nocturne"

Journal Three

I really like “Fridge Nocturne”, written by Don McKay. This little short poem shows me a picture of a silent but sacred urban night. When I read this poem, I feel like I become the author, living in a lonely single flat, in a moonless night, dreamless and sleepless. In such a silence, the smallest noise will be infinitely magnified. The murmur of the lonely fridge, the only company of mine, sounds like the roar of a giant river, running down to the estuary.

I like the simile that McKay uses between the fridge and the river. He wrote, “muddily gathers itself in pools to drop things in/ and fish things from,/ the good will mission in the city of dreadful night.” In these three lines, in my humble understanding, I feel the similarity between the river and the fridge. The river raises people by offering them the food in its body. The fridge does the same mission as well. In the lonely city, the fridge gives and keeps the food for people. What’s more, it offers people the sense of safety and hope. It just like the protector for lonely people in a strange city.

It comforts us.

journal four

Are we moving too fast to care? Are we moving too fast to remember? "Elephants", written by Patrick Lane, is a poem that really makes me sad. especially when the poem writes, "and I ask him where the graveyard is/ and he tells me it is gone/ now where no one will ever find it/ buried under the grade of the new/ highway." It recalls me the continued construction in my hometown. Although it is a sign of progress and development, it removes my memories. It cuts down old trees along the river banks. It pulls down mottled bungalows which have two separated wooden doors and exposed dark brown bricks. It dismantles ancient temples for modern skyscrapers. The city becomes newer every single day, but it is not like the one in my memory. I feel lost in my own hometown. In the city, there are more buildings, less human. The bond is loose. I get lost in my place. I am afraid, one day, I will be a stranger, in my birthplace.

Created By
Zixiao Yue


Created with images by Unsplash - "typewriter book notebook" • acmoraes - "Ludlow's Vintage Guitars" • Kat Cole - "Back Alley" • Unsplash - "shoes laces dock" • taylor.a - "Eraser" • ~! - "newapt-fridge" • mechanicalcurator - "Image taken from page 103 of 'An Illustrated History of the New World: containing a general history of all the various nations, states, and republics of the Western Continent. Comprising the earliest discoveries ... an account of the American Indians, and"

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