Friday, March 20, 2009


This is the youtube link to Big Poppa E performing his slam poem on HBO. since it's supposed to be performed at a poetry slam, it's a good idea to watch. it's cool.

The Wussy Boy Manifesto

My name is Eirik Ott
And I am a Wussy Boy.

It’s taken me a long time to admit it.

I remember shouting out in high school,
“ No, Dad, I’m not gay! I’m just… sensitive.
I tried to like jet planes and hot rods
and football and Budweiser poster girls
but I never got the hang of it!
I don’t know what’s wrong with me…”

And then, I saw him,
there on the silver screen,
bigger than life and unafraid
of earrings and hair dye
and rejoicing in the music of The Cure,
Morrisey and Siouxsie and the Banshees,
walking loud and talking proud
my Wussy Boy icon:
Duckie in Pretty in Pink.

And I realized I wasn’t alone.

I looked around and saw other Wussy Boys
living large and proud of who they were:
Anthony Michael Hall, Wussy Boy;
Michael J. Fox, Wussy Boy; and 
Lord God King of the Wussy Boy Movement,
Matthew Broderick,
unafraid to prove to the world
that sensitive guys kick ass!

(“Wussy Boy Manifesto” cont’d)

Now, I am no longer afraid
of my Wussiness, hell no, 
I am empowered by it!
When I pull up to a stoplight
And some redneck testosterone
methamphetamine jock frat boy pulls up
beside me cranking his Trans Am’s stereo 
with power chord anthems
to big tits and date rape,
I no longer avert my gaze, hell no,
I just crank all 12 watts of my car stereo
and I rock out right to his face: 
“ I am human and I need to be loved
just like everybody else does!”

I am Wussy Boy, hear me roar (meow).

Bar fight? Pshaww!
You think you can take me, huh,
just because I like poetry 
better than Sports Illustrated?
Well, allow me to caution you
for I am not the average, every day,
run of the mill Wussy Boy you beat up
in high school, punk:
I am Wuss Core!

Don’t make me get Renaissance on your ass
because I WILL write a poem about you!
a poem that will tear your psyche limb from limb,
that will expose your selfish insecurities,
that will wound you deeper than knives
and gats and baseball bats could ever hope to.

You may see 65 inches of Wussy Boy
standing in front of you,
but my steel-toed soul 
is ten feet tall and bulletproof!

Bring the pain, punk! 
Beat the tar out of me!
Show everybody in this bar
what a real man can do, 
but you’d better remember 
that my bruises will fade,
my scars will shrink and disappear, 
but my poem about the pitiful, small, helpless, 
dumb-ass, no-neck oppressor you really are
will last forever.

--Big Poppa E

Slam Poetry is supposed to be performed in front of a casual audience, sometimes as part of a competition. It utilizes contemporary slang and cultural allusions, as well as strong, aggressive diction and hyperboles to convey raw emotion and an honest opinion. Essentially, it's battling with poetry.

This poem's exposition presents the topic that will be handled through the speaker's confusion and apologetic response of his seeming sensitivity and nonconformity to male stereotypes like enjoying "jet planes" "cars" and "Budweiser poster girls".  The following stanza's explain the speaker's revelation and new understanding of the topic, when he finds other "Wussy Boys" who made it big and were admired, making allusions to contemporary actors such as Michael J. Fox and Matthew Broderick. In these stanzas, the speaker uses hyperboles and juxtapositions the stereotypical characteristics of "normal boys" and "Wussy Boys".

After this, the poem's tone shifts and becomes more empowered, albeit more aggressive and on the offensive. He still uses common generalizations and stereotypes, such as "redneck testosterone/methamphetamine jock frat boy pulls up/ beside me cranking his Trans Am’s stereo/ with power chord anthems/ to big tits and date rape..." to depict a clear, negative picture of the "opponents" confronted in this slam poem. This is like an attack, using some cacophony, and strong diction with the words such as "redeck" "methamphetamine" and "anthems to big tits and date rape" to create the desired effect, which would come through even more clearly when heard performed.

The spirit of the "slam poem" is strongly captured in the lines:

a poem that will tear your psyche limb from limb,

that will expose your selfish insecurities,

that will wound you deeper than knives

and gats and baseball bats could ever hope to.

The purpose of this slam poem is to stand up for "wussy boys" (exaggerated: sensitive, poetry writing, the Cure listening, well dressed boys). It "slams" negative opinions of such boys, and (on the offensive) "slams" the stereotypical opposite of what it's defending. Since this style is almost presented as an oral outcry, or argument, it is most effective when utilizing contemporary slang and references, and well as concrete language, and vivid adjectives to best get across the purpose and emotion to the audience.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Whole Text 2 (from norton pg. 1058)

The grey beards wag, the bald heads nod,
And gather thick as bees,
To talk electrons, gases, God,
Old nebulae, new fleas.
Each specialist, each dry-as-dust
And professional oaf,
Holds up his little crumb of crust
And cries, "Behold the loaf!"

Eden Phillpotts - The Learned

The tone of the poem is somewhat mocking: "wag" is ridiculous, "thick as bees" (the constant humm of bees is usually associated with gossip, and in general bees are "busy" but don't really do anything signifcant), "professional oaf", "little crumb of crust" poor, not impressive, cute in an old man or young baby kind of way.
The funniest part is the last two lines, where although the ridiculous old professor has only a little crumb of crust, he "cries, "behold the loaf!" which is really kind of a pompous way to refer to a little bit of bread. It's hardly a loaf, and "Behold!" calls for more attention than necessary, making the speaker sound condescending and the old men endearingly ridiculous.
The simple ABAB rhyme scheme and short quatrains contribute to the overall tone of condescending and looking upon the subjects as being child-like.

Favorite Poem

To My Wife - With A Copy Of My Poems by Oscar Wilde
I can write no stately poem
As a prelude to my lay;
From a poet to a poem
I would dare to say.

For if of these fallen petals
One to you seem fair,
Love will waft it till it settles
On your hair.

And when wind and winter harden
All the loveless land,
It will whisper of the garden,
You will understand.
As indicated by the title, this poem is a note which is the introduction to all his poetry which he includes for his wife to read. It's structure is quite simple: three stanzas with four lines each that rhyme in the ABAB format. Its simple format gives it a casual feel. Internally, the first stanza is the introduction, the second connects his poetry to to flowers representing his love and their memories, and the third builds off the second but on a somber note, saying that when the time of flowers is passed (the winter), she'll still have these poems to remember. 
The first stanza:
He explains that he doesn't have an impressive poem to introduce the rest of his poetry to her. And then says "From a poet to a poem, I dare to say": he's saying she's a poem in herself. Sweet.
The second stanza:
The language is very soft: "fallen petals" "fair" "love will waft it" "hair". Tenderly, he tells her that he hopes she likes one of them, and that their love will make it stay with her.
The third stanza:
Here he is anticipating difficult times in their lives or within their relationship, when everything isn't as soft as he described in the second stanza: "wind and winter harden all the loveless land". And he says that during those times, he hopes his poems will "whisper" to her (remind her) of the soft garden from which these "fallen petals" came, and then she'll understand. Understand what, i'm not sure: his love? his poems? the hardships? his decisions that lead to harships?

External Form Poem 4- Shel Silverstein!


I remembered from the days of my youth (who am i kidding....from last week) that Shel Silverstein, who writes tons of children's  poem, often uses the poem's external form as a device to visually aid the poem. In this one, the poem is very simple: lazy jane doesn't want to get up and get a glass of water, so she waits for it to rain so the water can just fall into her mouth. Every word is a word is a single stanza, and the words "lazy" and "and waits" are repeated many times, which gives the overall effect of having to wait a long time to get to the point. When you do get to the point, you see the picture of lazy jane lying down with her mouth open, and the words look like they're falling into her mouth. So. The words are the rain which takes a really long time to get to her mouth.

External Form Poem 3- l(a by e.e. cummings

I chose this poem, because I understood it the least out of all in that chapter. For starters, I thought that the parentheses said "ale affalls" and the word on the ouside was supposed to be 'one illness" somehow. Go figure. I am not ashamed to admit that I googled the poem.
What it really said is loneliness, and inside that word (a leaf falls). The best connection I can think of between the two phrases, is that when a leaf falls, it is separated from it's "community", meaning its support and source of its nourishment, and it's all alone.
Another thing I thought of is a man thinking about his own loneliness, and that thought is interrupted for a moment by his observation of a leaf falling. In that case, I would think of fall (the season), which is kind of the transition state from the relationships of summer, to the loneliness of winter. (with spring being the season of falling in love).
The external form of the poem is supposed to look like loneliness and a leaf falling, i suppose. The entire poem is very thin and vertical, like the number one, or a single person. Individually, the stanzas look like a leaf falling. The first stanza, the leaf is horizontal on the tree, the next five stanzas are a little smaller, which is the leaf falling is steady progression, then it's horizontal again, then vertical, and finally rests on the ground, who's stanza is the longest.

Sonnet 141 from Ten Things I Hate About You