Travel and Tourism

The topic I chose from my list of twenty things I love is travel and tourism. The reason I chose this topic is because of my love for the world and seeing and learning new things about different places and people. So I decided to do a little more research about travel and tourism and how it can be incorporated into poetry. I read a list about interesting facts about places around the world and civilization there; I could probably write a poem that relates to politics based on government laws, economics, or even gender injustice in places around the world compared to where I know and live. One really interesting fact I learned from that list is that ten percent of the Russian government’s income comes from the sale of vodka. When researching other poems that were written about the different aspects of travel and tourism, I came across a poem titled “For A Good Friend” by Pradeep Dhavakumar:

To travel with a friend is to travel on a cruise ship,
For there will be laughter, music, dance and wine;
Yet you still secretly check for life jackets and rafts,
And only sleep safe when your swimming is fine.

To travel with a true friend is to travel in a wooden boat,
With just a limbless you, him, against the mighty tides;
Yet your eyes will close, knowing there can happen only two:
His hands will save you, or with you in him he would, fly…

I like this poem because it focuses on the  positive aspects of travelling, including the company alongside a tourist and the experience itself, as well as the negative and dangerous side to travelling; It’s a very adventure focused poem.
Another idea I came up with after reading travel related words in Italian and in Arabic, was incorporating different languages into my poetry by changing the voices in my poem; I could add dialogue between a tourist and a resident in a different language or even have a polyvocal poem in which both the resident’s and the tourist’s perspective about the ups and downs of travel is told.

Lastly, I read facts about geography that I found to be really cool because they were fascinating in that I would never imagine them to be true. For example, San Fransisco and Melbourne are at identical distances from the equator!



Yes, I am a Youtube junkie. But aside from the fact that I excessively watch Youtube videos for entertainment, I think Youtube is also one of the best means of communication and art. Now, what I mean by this is that Youtube is the link between the many faces of the world. It allows everyone a chance to express their thoughts or do what they like best, whether it is making funny videos or going on a rant about how Forever 21 was closed over the weekend. It allows us to connect and feel like we belong somewhere along the lines from Drake’s new music video to the laughing kittens video. Youtube gives everyone a voice to let their opinions be heard. So what does Youtube have to do with art? Well similar to digital poetry, the fact that we use technology to experience art should not be the barrier between art and a computer. Youtube is art in that it has range- it is abstract; it makes us feel something.  Imagine it as a printed book or as a recording; the Youtube collage’s impact would be different but the content would stay the same. Some philosophers have theories about aesthetics  that state whatever sparks emotion is art. So when you’re at an art gallery and you see a bunch of scribbles on paper, and then become annoyed or angry that your little sister could do the same thing, that is what proves that the piece is a successful piece it provoked fury, emotion. Youtube is similar to this in that most videos ignite some kind of emotion and this is what makes it a form of art. This makes me wonder, however, if all of the World Wide Web is a form of art as well because, after all, the webpages only need to provoke emotion!


Robert Frost

When I first read the poem “Spring Pools” by Robert Frost I thought “That’s it! I’m going to do my investigation on this guy!” I felt like this poem was truly written within the grounds of nature with an open mind and open heart. It is amazing to which extent imagination has been used in this poem. Of course, we can’t forget that Robert Frost used personification in this poem to make it effective too! I feel like Robert Frost’s writing is a scratch on the surface that has a much deeper meaning locked inside. “Spring Pools,” for example, is talking about much more than just flowers and nature. Robert  Frost was born in San Fransisco, California in 1874 and passed away in Boston in 1963. Both of his parents were teachers so he often found himself exposed to several forms of literature. Robert Frost had a background in botany, history, Latin and Greek. Robert Frost had difficult time growing up as he struggled throughout with the death of his parents, his wife, and two of his children (one of his children committed suicide). I feel that his scars, pain, and bottled up emotions pour themselves out as words in his poetry. I wonder if any of his poetry subliminally or directly speaks of his struggles in life. Some of Robert Frost’s influences include William Shakespeare, Robert  Graves, and Edward Thomas, and he is sometimes compared to Emily Dickenson. I found it interesting that he uses the word “Twilight” in one of his poems.  This is probably because of the era of the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer I live in! Lines from Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice” were used in “Twilight” as well. I wonder who inspired her to title the series with the word Twilight…

“Spring Pools” by Robert Frost:

These pools that, though in forests, still reflect
The total sky almost without defect,
And like the flowers beside them, chill and shiver,
Will like the flowers beside them soon be gone,
And yet not out by any brook or river,
But up by roots to bring dark foliage on.
The trees that have it in their pent-up buds
To darken nature and be summer woods—
Let them think twice before they use their powers
To blot out and drink up and sweep away
These flowery waters and these watery flowers
From snow that melted only yesterday.


Writing Style: Triolet

What is a triolet? A triolet is a poetry writing style where the rhyming scheme of the eight line poem is repetitive. The basic structure for a triolet is where the first line is line A, the second line is B, the third line ends with a (which rhymes with A), the fourth line is line A (repeated), the fifth line ends with a, the sixth line  is b (that rhymes with B), the seventh line ends with line A and finally the eighth line is line B. To sum,  the eight lines consist of two rhymes, the first line repeats at the fourth and seventh line, and the second line repeats at the eighth line. In short, the triolet pattern is a little something like this ABaAabAB. What originated from the French, the triolet came into play during the thirteenth century, or middle ages.  Triolets were first written in the forms of prayers by monks. Personally, I think triolets are an interesting type of poem; the repetition in them strengthens the ultimate meaning and concept of the poem. Both the repetition and rhyming used generates tenderness to the ear. Similar to the ringing of bells, triolets also have a harmonic impact on the reader that definitely adds to the message that is trying to be conveyed through the poem. An example of a triolet is a poem titled “Valentine” by Wendy Cope that goes like this:

My heart has made its mind up
And I’m afraid it’s you.
Whatever you’ve got lined up,
My heart has made its mind up
And if you can’t be signed up
This year, next year will do.
My heart has made its mind up
And I’m afraid it’s you.

It is easy to spot that this poem follows the structure for a triolet. As I mentioned above, the recitation of this poem is an example of how triolets have a synchronized rhythm that sounds great to the ear!


Christian Bök writes conceptual poetry too!

No, it’s not a deja vu; I’ve seen Christian Bök’s name has come up several times when investigating sound poetry. Along with writing sound poetry, Christian Bök experiments with conceptual (or procedural) poetry as well. What is conceptual poetry? Conceptual poetry is machine-like poetry that is usually an organized body of information. After reading his crossword-like poem called “Saphire,” it became obvious to me that Christian Bök must have had some sort of scientific background, which he does;  He tutored for algebra, calculus, chemistry, and biochemistry while earning his PhD in English. Aside from his book “Euonia,” he is exploring the ways in which human DNA can carry the spirit of poetry (both metaphorically and literally) in his widely famous project “Xenotext.” In an interview with Sachiko Murakami, Christian describes the project by saying  “I plan to integrate my encoded text into the genetic code of the cell so that, during transcription, the RNA in the cell might translate my string of codons into the required commands for manufacturing a correspondent series of amino acids.” Christian plans to “create chemical messages” by developing a chemical alphabet. From amino acids to protein, Christian will virtually turn a sequence of DNA into a page of a book. Literally bringing the poetry alive, the Xenotext experiment has been in progress for nine years. What I found most interesting was how he came up with the idea of living poetry; The Xenotext was the result of the forty-five year old’s desire to write a short poem based language and genetics.


Author Investigation

Frank O'Hara

Frank O’ Hara was an American poet who was born in 1926 and died in 1966. He comes from a strict Irish-Catholic background and has studied at Harvard University. He later moved to New York City and received awards for his outstanding poetry. After listening to several pieces by Frank including “Metaphysical Poem” and “Poem (Lana Turner Has Collapsed!),” there is no doubt that he uses humour to shape his poetry. Frank’s view about writing reflects his idea that poetry should be “between two persons instead of two pages.” His writing style has been described as spontaneous and casual. Mark Doty calls Frank’s writing style “relaxed in diction, yet it presses forward with a kind of breathless urgency.” His poems are often funny and he express his thoughts and feelings in them using humour. His major influence was New York City, where he lived with his Harvard classmate John Ashbery. Frank was categorized as an abstract expressionist artist. Poets who were also categorized as abstract expressionist artists before him, whom he joined soon after, include Willem de Kooning, Franz Kline, and Jackson Pollock. Oddly, Frank died in a car crash on the beach at Fire Island in New York City. An excerpt from his poem “A True Account of Talking to the Sun at Fire Island,” which was published in 1971, is “Rising he said “Some/ day you’ll know. They’re calling to you/too.” Darkly he rose, and then I slept.” These were the last lines of the poem that spoke about the exchange between the poet and the sun. I think Frank O’ Hara was an excellent poet who used humor to express his ideas or feelings.

What is poetry?

Before diving into the deep thought of what poetry really is today in class, I thought poetry was similar to math; That is structured and has a formula to guide the writer to write an effective poem. By this, I mean that I thought poetry was not flexible at all because whenever I approached any form of poetry, I would stumble upon barriers which included the types of poems that exist (the ones that were taught to me, at least) such as limericks or haikus to be the only forms of poetry. I’ve always thought poems were only poems by the way they are structured like an equation in math. Our discussion today turned my thoughts upside down because all of the ideas of poetry we had discussed completely contradicted what I knew until today. We learned in class today that poetry has no barriers and pretty much anything can be called poetry as long as it is labelled that way. I definitely agree with Kenneth Goldsmith’s definition of poetry where he says, “However, if John Cage theoretically claimed that any sound can be music, then we logically must conclude that, properly framed, any language can be poetry.“ I find that Goldsmith`s definition sums up almost every other definition of poetry. Some of these definitions describe poetry as something that snaps you into a different state of mind or something that marries sound and meaning. I wonder if  the rule for other forms of art can be as freely constructed as poetry can; Are forms of music or the visual arts directed solely by the imagination and free will as well?