Wednesday, June 22

Irony of racism

This is definitely my favourite author of this year's World Literature Written in English class. It's Wole Soyinka from Nigeria, the first African author to receive the Nobel prize. (1986)

I just LOVE how he uses irony in situations as difficult as being a black immigrant in London in 1960. I like & admire people that are good with words. :) Here's the poem:


The price seemed reasonable, location
Indifferent. The landlady swore she lived
Off premises. Nothing remained
But self-confession. “Madam,” I warned,
“I hate a wasted journey—I am African.”
Silence. Silenced transmission of
Pressurized good-breeding. Voice, when it came,
Lipstick coated, long gold-rolled
Cigarette-holder pipped. Caught I was, foully.

“HOW DARK?” . . . I had not misheard . . . “ARE YOU LIGHT
OR VERY DARK?” Button B. Button A. Stench
Of rancid breath of public hide-and-speak.
Red booth. Red pillar-box. Red double-tiered
Omnibus squelching tar. It was real! Shamed
By ill-mannered silence, surrender
Pushed dumbfoundment to beg simplification.
Considerate she was, varying the emphasis—

“ARE YOU DARK? OR VERY LIGHT?” Revelation came.
“You mean—like plain or milk chocolate?”
Her assent was clinical, crushing in its light
Impersonality. Rapidly, wavelength adjusted,
I chose. “West African sepia”—and as an afterthought,
“Down in my passport.” Silence for spectroscopic
Flight of fancy, till truthfulness clanged her accent
Hard on the mouthpiece. “WHAT’S THAT?” conceding,
“DON’T KNOW WHAT THAT IS.” “Like brunette.”

“THAT’S DARK, ISN’T IT?” “Not altogether.
Facially, I am brunette, but madam, you should see
The rest of me. Palm of my hand, soles of my feet
Are a peroxide blonde. Friction, caused—
Foolishly, madam—by sitting down, has turned
My bottom raven black—One moment madam!”—sensing
Her receiver rearing on the thunderclap
About my ears—“Madam,” I pleaded, “wouldn’t you rather
See for yourself?”


Thursday, June 16

What's poetry?

Studying for my American lit. and post-colonial lit. in English is sooooooo much easier and more relaxing than studying consonantism.

I like modern & modernist poetry much better than the old classics. I can't really say why, because I'm not a poetry person. The fact that I do like it is enough for me. :)

This is a selection of quotes about poetry I find interesting:
(from my notes)

"If it's a wild tune, it is a poem."

"[the poem] begins in delight and ends in wisdom."

"No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

"Like a piece of ice on a hot stove the poem must ride on its own melting."
(Robert Frost)

"A poem is not the description of an experience, it is itself an experience."
(A. J. M. Smith)

"Poetry should resist the intelligence almost successfully."
(Wallace Stevens)

"A poem should not mean but BE."
(Archibald MacLeish)

"I speak here of poetry as the revelation or distillation of experience, not the sterile word play that, too often, the white fathers distorted the word poetry to mean - in order to cover their desperate wish for imagination without insight."
"For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. /.../ Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought. /.../ Poetry is not only dream or vision, it is the skeleton architecture of our lives."
(Audre Lorde)

Tuesday, June 7

The Countdown revisited.

Do you remember my countdown? The neverending list of things I need to do before I start writing my thesis? Here it is again. It's been scribbled on a bit. Some exams are crossed off, I've managed to get rid of 7 items since January. Some have a date next to it and they belong to my BigSummerPlan!

I'm already tired of studying. The reason is mostly the subject I'm revising at the moment. I have to learn a lot of things by heart and I find that incredibly painful. I cant wait for the next two exams: American literature (short story, drama and modern poetry) and post-colonial literature in English (Africa, India, Australia, Caribbean). That should be a lot of fun. :)

The other thing is ... this is my last week of classes at this faculty / with my school mates *e*v*e*r*. And I still don't know whether I'm happy to finish or sad because it's over. Those four years went by so fast.

I wish they would have started as good as they are finishing. :)

Wednesday, June 1

Something I've learnt recently

Exercising becomes so much easier when you stop eating junk food. :P