72 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2015
    1. who were burned alive in their innocent flannel suits on Madison Avenue amid blasts of leaden verse & the tanked-up clatter of the iron regiments of fashion & the nitroglycerine shrieks of the fairies of advertising & the mustard gas of sinister intelligent editors, or were run down by the drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality

      My guess is this section refers to the ad men of Madison ave. He aligns the work done in advertising to the worst of warfare and weaponry. Is the speaker saying that the "drunken taxicabs of Absolute Reality" are the only natural, uncooked, and not detrimental aspect to their existence?

    2. horrors of Third Avenue iron dreams & stumbled to unemployment offices

      Capitalism/industrialization alienates and does more harm than good.

    3. holy Bronx

      Why is the Bronx holy? Is it because for junkies it's Mecca? i.e.. the place to score drugs?

    4. who bared their brains to Heaven

      Seems a bit of double talk. On one hand a junkie may have few clothes and literally be close to naked. On the other hand they steadily strip their wit away with the use of heroin etc.

    5. I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked, dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix,

      Is he referring to any place in particular by saying "negro streets?" Harlem? Or simply any (urban?) area with a high percentage of African-Americans?

  2. Nov 2015
    1. The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.

      In just the opening five words to Part III, “The Fire Sermon,” the speaker shatters at once our natural inclination to romanticize waterways as self-sustaining and enduring ecosystems.

      (The River Thames has a rich history of being depicted this way in literature. For example, in the lines that end this portion Eliot recites the line “Sweet Thames, run softly till I end my song” from “Prothalamion,” by Edmund Spenser; another example that comes to mind is Conrad’s Heart of Darkness, in which Marlow finds great peace and serenity while on the same river.)

      Image Description

      With bitter and mournful nostalgia, such portrayals of the river are juxtaposed, as we are given a dose of sad reality when reminded of the river’s impermanence: for in “tent” we think of portable and temporary shelter or canopy. With “broken,” we gain an understanding that the once brimming with life ecosystem in and around the river is now at death’s door, that life is not unfolding as it should and as it once did. Life itself, not just the “last finger of leaf,” is wilting. In this way, the river will soon be just another causality of “The Wasteland.”

      Image Description

      What follows in “the last fingers of leaf / Clutch and sink into the wet bank” further suggests that these are the last vestiges of green, lush, leafy life. With the sense that the canopy is fading fast overhead, we then zoom out to see an even more barren and lifeless landscape then first imagined: “The wind / Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed.” This paints a picture of a cold and desolate place with little to no sign of life: there is no-one to hear the wind, not even the nymphs. Young, beautiful, and full of life, the departure of these divine spirits suggests that the magic of past literary eras has been forced out as well. However, perhaps this truth is intimated as apropos for a world post WWI -- the ornate literary conventions of the past will no longer suffice for a world in tatters. Such literary traditions will fail to get at the bitter truths. In another context in another poem, “departed” may entail a leave of absence. But not here — the nymphs are dead, rotting away in “The Wasteland.”

      Image Description

  3. Oct 2015
    1. O Ma Rainey, Sing yo’ song; Now you’s back Whah you belong, Git way inside us, Keep us strong. . . .

      Between the lyrics of "Prove it on Me Blues" (though I had to look them up to know what was being sung) and the way Brown talks about her here, Ma strikes me as having, like Hughes, a "soul deep (at least 9 out of 10) like the rivers."

    2. Folks from anyplace Miles aroun’, From Cape Girardeau, Poplar Bluff, Flocks in to hear Ma do her stuff;

      Seems the "low-down folks" Hughes writes about flock to hear Ma. What sort of "negro artist" would he describe her as?

    3. flivverin

      The best sense I can make of this term is that Brown has taken "flivver," a word for a cheap car, and turned it into a verb, something along the lines of "comes drivin in."

    1. I, too, am America

      Just because "I am the darker brother," forced to "eat in the kitchen," doesn't make me any less a part of America.

    2. Tomorrow, I’ll be at the table When company comes

      Could be seen as three different segments of figurative poetics. "Tomorrow," as in one day, soon. "I'll be at the table," to mean myself and all others like me will be seen as equals, worthy of sharing access to any and all places. And we African-Americans will be seen as equally important "when company comes," whoever or whatever they or that may be.

    3. They send me to eat in the kitchen When company comes, But I laugh

      Seems to be some double talk to "I laugh." In one sense he might find a genuine bit of humor in the absurdity of being sent to eat in the kitchen. But at the same time he is likely pained by the constant exclusion.

    1. And perhaps these common people will give to the world its truly great Negro artist, the one who is not afraid to be himself. Whereas the better-class Negro would tell the artist what to do, the people at least let him alone when he does appear. And they are not ashamed of him–if they know he exists at all. And they accept what beauty is their own without question.

      Reminds me of the cultural disconnect between the narrator and his brother, Sonny, in Baldwin's "Sonny's Blues." The narrator's idea of a jazz artist is Louis Armstrong. Sonny, his younger brother, scoffs at this, and exclaims, "Bird! Charlie Parker!"

    2. Their religion soars to a shout. Work maybe a little today, rest a little tomorrow. Play awhile. Sing awhile. 0, let’s dance! These common people are not afraid of spirituals, as for a long time their more intellectual brethren were, and jazz is their child. They furnish a wealth of colorful, distinctive material for any artist because they still hold their own individuality in the face of American standardizations.

      Is he saying these are African Americans who are less affected by "double consciousness?"

    3. But this is the mountain standing in the way of any true Negro art in America–this urge within the race toward whiteness, the desire to pour racial individuality into the mold of American standardization, and to be as little Negro and as much American as possible.

      Reminiscent of DuBois' "Of Our Spiritual Strivings;"

      "This ["American Negro"] longing to attain self-conscious manhood, to merge his double self into a better and truer self. In this merging he wishes neither of the older selves to be lost. He would not Africanize America, for America has too much to teach the world and Africa. He would not bleach his Negro soul in a flood of white Americanism, for he knows that Negro blood has a message for the world. He simply wishes to make it possible for a man to be both a Negro and an American, without being cursed and spit upon by his fellows, without having the doors of Opportunity closed roughly in his face."

    1. The river’s tent is broken: the last fingers of leaf Clutch and sink into the wet bank. The wind Crosses the brown land, unheard. The nymphs are departed. Sweet Thames, run softly, till I end my song. The river bears no empty bottles, sandwich papers,

      Reminiscent of how Conrad spoke of the Thames in HoD: "The old river in its broad reach rested unruffled at the decline of day, after ages of good service done to the race that peopled its banks, spread out in the tranquil dignity of a waterway leading to the uttermost ends of the earth. We looked at the venerable stream not in the vivid flush of a short day that comes and departs for ever, but in the august light of abiding memories."

      Both rue the days of old?

  4. teaching.lfhanley.net teaching.lfhanley.net
    1. Pat ten patent, Pat ten patent.

      All through the poem exercises a need to play with words that have like sounds.

    2. Leave it to me.

      Leave what to me?

    3. Eleven and eighteen.

      Maybe the ages of children?

    4. Compose compose beds.

      Seems to suggest a place and theme for the poem --domesticity.

  5. Sep 2015
    1. sheer rags-succumbing without emotion save numbed terror

      Is Williams still referring to the "young slatterns?" If so, in "sheer" he likens them to "gauzy" and "filmy" (I'm assuming he's using "sheer" for its third definition...or is he?) and emotionless (soulless?) rags except for "terror."

    2. voluptuous water

      What is voluptuous water and where can I buy it?

    3. young slatterns, bathed in filth from Monday to Saturday

      Prompts image of a domesticated role for women, untidy and without the need to leave the home but for Sunday.

    1. Oh, I kept the first for another day!

      Earlier the speaker says, "sorry I could not travel both." Now the speaker says I've "kept the first for another day!" So, which is it?

    2. And sorry I could not travel both

      Why apologetic for having to choose one? Simple curiosity or fearful that there is a right and a wrong path?

    3. The darkest evening of the year

      A few days before Christmas. Aside from being an excellent time of the year for trespassing, what's the significance?

    4. Whose woods these are I think I know.

      In this context, what does the speaker's uncertainty bring about? Eeriness?

    5. But I have promises to keep,

      With yourself, or others?

    6. Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

      Grassy roads want wear? I usually steer clear since they're likely no longer used for good reason...

    1. Volney’s “Ruins” as well as Butler’s “Analogy”

      The Ruins (1791): "Essay on the philosophy of history, containing a vision which predicts the final union of all religions by the recognition of the common truth underlying them all."

      Analogy of Religion (1736): Book concentrating on the general analogy between "the principles of divine government, as set forth by the biblical revelation, those observable in the course of nature...leading to the conclusion that there is on Author of both."

    2. At ninety–six I had lived enough, that is all, And passed to a sweet repose.

      So from here on are we writing from the grave?

    3. What is this I hear of sorrow and weariness, Anger, discontent and drooping hopes? Degenerate sons and daughters, Life is too strong for you– It takes life to love Life.

      Felt compelled to look up date of poem 1915...Addressing the young generation in the face of WW1? If not, who are the "sons and daughters?"

    1. I don’t know why I should write this. I don’t want to. I don’t feel able. And I know John would think it absurd. But I MUST say what I feel and think in some way—it is such a relief!

      Seems a shift away from a submissive role where her thoughts remain imprisoned; her feelings and thoughts not self scrutinized or filtered -- they "must" come out.

    2. That spoils my ghostliness, I am afraid, but I don’t care—there is something strange about the house—I can feel it. I even said so to John one moonlight evening, but he said what I felt was a DRAUGHT, and shut the window.

      Here, let me roll my duties as a quack doc and a sorry-ass husband into one, that way I can dismiss your feelings and symptoms all in the same breath.

    3. Still I will proudly declare that there is something queer about it. Else, why should it be let so cheaply? And why have stood so long untenanted? John laughs at me, of course, but one expects that in marriage.

      Clues us in straight away that even perfectly reasonable curiosities on the part of the narrator are regularly dismissed and belittled by our "practical in the extreme" oppressor, Dr. John.

    1. gifted with second-sight in this American world

      Confused as to the word choice in "gifted." If second-sight is in fact a blessing, how are we to reconcile that with the strife that is "twoness:" "two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body..."

    2. Between me and the other world

      Right away we get the feeling of separation and perhaps isolation; seems an apt lead in to "two-ness," and "double consciousness."

    1. St. Gaudens

      Augustus Saint-Gaudens (1848-1907), was an American sculptor who most embodied the ideals of the American Renaissance. He sculpted monuments commemorating heroes of the Civil War, many of which still stand.

    2. his historical neck broken by the sudden irruption of forces totally new

      A totally universal concept -- how to reconcile the new with the old; the more that we're exposed to the more it must be done.

    3. Gallery of Machines at the Great Exposition of 1900

      Pavilion used for the Exposition Universelle (1889) and later used for the Great Exposition of 1900. Made of iron, steel, and glass, it was the largest vaulted building to have been built at the time.

  6. Aug 2015
    1. they sack and they belly opened

      Image of gutted carcass; correlative repetitions similar to "they Lion."

    2. Kiss My Ass

      Why capitalized? Is there a hidden reference here?

      Nonetheless, speaks to speaker's angst and attitude.

    3. Out of burlap sacks, out of bearing butter, Out of black bean and wet slate bread, Out of the acids of rage, the candor of tar, Out of creosote, gasoline, drive shafts, wooden dollies

      Plays with three colors throughout this stanza -- beige, black, and graphite. Burlap and the wooden dollies are sandy/beige. The beans, tar, and gasoline are black. And finally, the bearings (though not used as a noun here), slate bread, and the drive shafts are a slate-y graphite. Cataloging reminiscent of Whitman.

    4. pig balls

      Swine considered unholy.