Friday, March 14, 2008

Poetry Friday + a review or two

La la la la la... last week, I was talking about how the daffodils were out along the Potomac. The ones in my yard have certainly gotten taller, and my next door neighbor's are out!

Just yesterday, a friend of mine in Ohio was complaining because her car is still buried under a mountain of snow and ice. I went to the university library in a long sleeved shirt and no coat and everything just smelled green and of spring. I'm also reminded of Daffodil Lament by the cranberries off of No Need to Argue (that's the album that had Zombie on it) I'm going to have that in my head all day now... I have decided to leave you forever, I have decided to take things from here... and the daffodils look lovely today, ay, ay ay, and the daffodils look lovely today, ay, ay, ay...) Anyway, HERE'S A DAFFODIL POEM!

I WANDERED lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the milky way,
They stretched in never-ending line
Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced; but they
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,
In such a jocund company:
I gazed--and gazed--but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:

For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.
--William Wordsworth

I love how Thursday's grandma gets trapped in this poem during the various Thursday Next books.

Jama Rattigan has the roundup and is asking for our favorite Dylan lyric. I love to refrain from It Ain't Me, Babe

But it ain't me, babe,

No, no, no, it ain't me, babe,

It ain't me you're lookin' for, babe.

I love how sure he is of himself while telling someone, I'm just not what you're looking for and I never will be! I like how the "babe" is pretty sarcastic, especially in the last line. (Also, I like the line telling her to "walk away from my window") Plus, it's just fun to sing, especially the "no no no" bit.

Anyway, for some book reviews because I need to turn these back in...

The Bermudez Triangle Maureen Johnson

Nina, Avery, and Mel have been best friends since forever. Then, the summer before senior year, Nina goes off to pre-college camp and falls in love with Steve. Avery and Mel fall in love too, but with each other. Well, Mel falls in love, Avery might just be... exploring.

When Nina returns, she's suddenly the third wheel whenever she's with her friends, and when things start to break down when Avery realizes that, while she likes Mel, she's not a lesbian, or even bi, Nina gets caught in the middle.

This is an excellent look at what happens when you date your best friend, and how that changes everything around you. Especially if your best friend is the same gender you are.

I loved Johnson's characters and where they drove me up a wall, I think their actions and reactions were spot-on.

Also, it's been banned! Because girls can't make out with each other! (And really, that's all they do. Make out.)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Sherman Alexie

On his first day of high school, Junior breaks his math teacher's nose. He wasn't mad at his teacher, but when he saw that his textbook was the same one his mother had 30 years ago (the same copy, even) he just gets fed up with everything that sucks about being poor. So he threw the book and it hit the math teacher.

In the aftermath, Junior decides to transfer high schools-- to the one in town, the one outside the reservation. No one from the reservation high school goes to college. They just stay on the reservation and drink to forget how poor they are. Junior needs out.

Now, he's seen as a traitor by his tribe and school's not much better, because no one likes a scrawny little Indian kid.

This is a tragic book-- life on the reservation is hard and Junior loses a lot of important people before the story is done.

That said, it's hysterical. Junior's voice is angry and bitter, but funny. He's a cartoonist, so there is a lot of art included in the short chapters that helps tell the story. Alexie really explores reservation life, as well as outsiders perceptions of it, both good and bad. He has a really good handle on what American poverty entails. In a tale that could be mired down in self-pity, Alexie has a character that knows how hard is life is, but also sees a future that could be different, without going to far to the other side to be overly schmaltzy. Plus, there isn't nearly enough fiction about contemporary Native life.

1 comment:

Dana Watson said...

Re: The Bermudez Triangle, two of my female friends started dating at the end of high school, and it sounds very much like that. Except they were part of our rather tight knit (inadvertant) clique, and they managed to make everyone else feel like a third wheel, which was really annoying. Then we all went to college, and one of our group ended up being stuck even more in the middle, because she was rooming with one of the couple and best friends with the other... I think that's possibly what drove her completely straight, dealing with the two of them.

Now I'm halfway tempted to read the book, and halfway convinced it would induce flashbacks to being really annoyed.