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Monthly Archives: November 2011

One of the books I think I would enjoy reading is The Inquisition Your written by the acclaimed poet Jenn Currin. The review or synopsis of this book states that this book is where the author continues her exploration of surrealist lyric poems. She claims “it may be the best poetic mode for capturing the complexities of lived experience.” Also, that this book speaks to the heartache of our time such as war, environmental destruction, terrorism, cancer, etc. This book must be somewhat enjoyable because it was on the 2011 ReLit poetry award shortlist! I find it quite amusing that out of all the poetic forms there are she would say this form would likely be the best in capturing the complexities of life. I think it would be interesting to read something written by someone of such imagination and great poet skill, especially on such a complex idea such as the problems of like. I am also very interested in the vibe surrealist poems give off, so I’m curious to see how they would be written in such a serious manner, rather than chaotic dreams. I want to see what kind of effect a poet like this could have on the world and people in the world.

The second book I think I might enjoy reading is Lookout written by John Steffler. John Steffler is indeed a Canadian and his book was also shortlisted for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize. The summary I read states that “As always, his poems inhabit experience fully, senses on high alert, transmitting the abundance and turbulence of physical existence; they are charged with the raw Eros of being.” His poems have a lot to do with the environment and landscape that we usually take for granted and don’t recognize as beautiful. Where as, he takes what he sees and feels and puts then into full perspective. It says that no doubt about it, you will not find a better environmental poet out there than John Steffler. For starters, I don’t think I’ve every read or heard an environmental poem out loud, so that’s what initially caught my attention. But, after reading the summary, I went on to watch part of a reading from this book. I was pretty amused by what I heard and I’m interested to read more.

The third book that I thought I might be interested in is The Book of Snow written by François Jacqmin and translated by Philip Mosley. This book was originally written in french by François Jacqmin, a french-speaking Belgium poet who fled to England during the dark times in Germany in 1940. Later on, it was translated to English by Philip Mosley.  This book was also shortlisted for the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize. The summary I read says “An intriguing set of short, deceptively simple poems, The Book of the Snow meditates on the austere beauty and elemental power of the midwinter scene.” This sentence caught my attention at once, since winter is actually on of my favourite seasons. As I said before, I’ve never read poems about the environment so I’m pretty curious to see how this would sound. I would also be interested in these poems because the are said to be short, and deceptively simple poems, so I think they might be easy to follow, and keep my attention well.

Although all of these books seem interesting, if I had to choose one of the three, I would choose The Inquisition Your. It really does seem to fit into a more safe and entertaining zone for me in terms of keeping my attention- as it does often wear thin.


According to, music is defined as: “An art of sound in time that expresses ideas and emotions in significant forms through the elements of rhythm, melody, harmony, and color.” I didn’t think that it was possible to define the way I feel about music… But, this definition basically puts my thoughts into words. To me, music really is an art. Even though it might be difficult to believe, I love to indulge my senses into a wide variety of music. That’s right, I mean EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Give some country music, give me some heavy metal, give me some blues, give me anything, and I’ll find a way to find beauty in it. I may have said it in some earlier investigations or journal entries, but it really is one of the reasons I love to wake up every morning. Sure, it’s corny.. But, it’s true. You know that feeling of putting your headphones on and plugging that headphone cable into the headphone jack? That’s when my day really starts. I listen to music in the shower, while I’m lying in bed, talking on the phone, eating breakfast, walking to the bus stop, to and from classes, everywhere. So to say it’s an interest I have is quite an understatement. I was about to give you a list of tons of music genres, but looking into it… There are SO MANY more than I thought there originally were. That makes me feel good. I think it should be impossible for someone say they don’t like/listen to music. Why not, right? There’s a style for everyone.

Some music genres I favour are dancehall, soca, funk, jazz, motown but hip hop and rap, that’s where my hearts at. I love music that’s hard hitting, especially with a heavy bass, but also has the potential to be calm and relaxing. The way I see it, music can fit any mood you’re in and help to relate to you in any way, shape or form. It is a universal language of awesomeness. Hip-hop was developed in the Bronx, NewYork. With rap music, it used to be to get a message across to its listeners. To stress the problems with poverty and inequality. But, lately I and many others feel as though it has lost it’s path. Instead of hoes, guns and cars.. I think it should have a deeper meaning. But I think it’s ultimately an amazing form of self expression that can be closely related to poetry. The rhymes and melodies seem to relate a lot to me.

Some interesting new genres I found are Funk Metal, Dondang sayang, Champeta, and black  metal. Funk Metal is the 1980s combination of funk, heavy metal and punk rock. Dondang sayang is slow folk music that mixes Malaysian forms with Portuguese, India, Chinese and Arabic music. ( I don’t know why, but that makes me laugh so hard.) Champeta is a Colombian musical form derived from African communities in Cartagena. Black metal is highly distorted and swift form of heavy metal. Even though these genres sound totally out of my world, I think they will actually be mad dope to listen to and I plan to search them up.

As I read on and on, one of the genres I came more interested in was Metal. There are tons of different sub-categories that I had no idea even existed until I did this investigation. I mentioned funk metal before, but there are so many others such as death metal, power metal, glam metal, thrash metal, black metal and so much more. I had braces for years, and that’s still a LOT of metal. Ms. Parrish showed me a book called “The top 500 Heavy Metal Albums of All Time” which was a review of 500 heavy metal albums written by Martin Popoff. Usually this form of music is seen as a dark type of music and people tend to shy away from it, but Martin Popoff speaks about this music as it is an art. He basically wrote a “bible” about this music and I think it would be really interesting to read, even though I don’t listen to much heavy metal. I’m tempted to hear all of the music by bands such as Black Sabbath, Kiss, Metallica, and many of the other more recognized bands. I’m really glad I did this investigation on music. It gave me so much more insight onto things in music I had never even considered before.

But, on somewhat of  a lighter not.. Here are some types of music I listen to. Enjoy! :


This mans name is Rafael Casal. I’m not even close to being over emotional, but this he seems to bring tears to my eyes every time I hear one of his pieces. Strong. Strong is a good way to describe this him. His poems will give send shivers your spine- guaranteed. His words hit me harder than anything I’ve every been hit by. If I’m ever feeling down or uninspired, I listen to his poems, and I’m not going to lie, it gives me so much motivation and inspiration. If you haven’t actually seen the video that’s posted above, I strongly suggest you watch/listen to it now. His poems are about a variety of topics, but they always have a solid meaning to them. I think it’s made me try harder to put more meaning into my poems (if you haven’t noticed). I don’t want to just write a poem, I want to write art. I want to write something that keeps people on the edge of their seat, as I think he does. He says “I like to use the personal and then try to relate it to the universal.” DAMN. I guess many poets do this, but for some reason I feel as though I can relate to what he’s saying a lot more that other poets that I’ve heard. Maybe it’s because he’s young, or urban, or speaks a certain way. All I know is, he’s a real inspiration.

You might ask yourself who this Rafael Casal is, so let me fill you in! This cat was born on August 8th, 1985. He is an American Writer, Slam Poet, Recording rap artist, and also an educator.  He is a a 2-time International BNV (Brave New Voices) Poetry Slam Finalist Champion and 3-Time cast member of Russell Simmons’ Def Poetry on HBO. Surprising enough, a def poetry video is how I found him! By the time he was 18 years old, Rafael was touring, performing, and teaching nation wide with YouthSpeaks. YouthSpeaks is a non-profit organization that empowers youth through spoken-word performance. He dropped out of high school when he was a teen and earned his diploma through an alternative independent study program. He spent three years as creative director at the University of Wisconsin. On a scholarship program administered by the school’s Multicultural Arts Initiatives office. This scholarship was called Madison’s First Wave Spoken Word and Hip-Hop Arts Learning Community. He finished his degree there. He is currently pursuing his love for music, by trying to establish himself as a renounced rapper. This doesn’t seem out of his grip as I’ve learned that he’s shared stages with many famous artists such as  Common, Talib Kweli, Mos Def, KRS-ONE, and  Kanye West. I hope he makes it work.


If you like what you’ve heard and seen, check out this video as well- it’s sure to leave you in amazement:


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When I watched this video, I laughed SO SO SO SO hard. At first, I had no idea what to expect from this because the title of the video was confusing to me. But, as I started to watch I started to understand and I could relate to what Taylor Mali was trying to express more and more. Then the funnier it became. I think everyone has those moments when they’re in a rush to finish something and the words don’t come out the way them want to. From personal experiences, this has happened A LOT. Especially when I’m writing and I write “the…”, stop to think for a moment, then continue with “…the blah blah blah.” but, it turns out as “the the blah blah blah”. It’s quite frustrating. Especially when I hand in a paper like that, I think the teacher must think I’m retarded or something.

What Taylor Mali did in his poem was basically write it in a way that spell check wouldn’t catch, especially if you didn’t proofread. I wonder if you actually typed out his poem in a word document if the spell check would catch any mistakes. I’m pretty tempted to do it, but I have so much work to do.  Through this poem, he made many random lines that were very funny,  but true like: “This is a problem the effects manly manly students all over the word”, “there are several mist aches that a spell checker can’t can’t catch catch”. These statements caught my ears the most. I’m tempted now to try and write a whole assignment in this type of coded message to see what teachers say- be prepared Ms. Parrish.

I’m pretty sure this could be classified as an idea about poetry. Probably not all in this form, but writing something so totally out of the ordinary, but people know exactly what you’re trying to say. Like “thou art as temperate as a summers day,” even though it may be an old or even strange form of saying something, people tend to figure out the true meaning behind statements like this. Especially in certain contexts.

Though, I was pretty confused as to what type of poem this would be classified as. Maybe a lyric poem? All in all, this was a very well written piece to me.