We Real Cool: Weekly Culture Roundup

We Real Cool: Weekly Culture Roundup

That's right, mom, reaaaal cool.  

So, a quick recap in culture for the week:

Revenge porn, revenge porn, Bastille day, revenge porn, Donald Trump Jr.

And, I just learned that Ava Duvernay, of Selma fame, is directing "A Wrinkle in Time", the movie!  The trailer came out Saturday and the cast includes Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling!!, Oprah, hmm, and Zach Galifinakis?  Watch here:

So... that definitely confirms my suspicions that I never understood the book BUT I'm excited to see what all these talented folks do with it.  

ALSO, tomorrow, July 18th, is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's death.  The NYTimes book review had a half dozen pieces on her legacy.  I liked:

1. A quiz to determine if you're a true "Janeite".  I'm a fan and didn't get one right.

2. A cool graph that shows the types of words Austen used in relation to other novelists within a century or so.  It's part of an essay called "The Word Choices that Explain Why Jane Austen Endures.  It's an attempt to explain why we are still talking about her, making movies about her, writing fan fiction, etc. 

This picture stinks.  See the whole, interactive graph  here

This picture stinks.  See the whole, interactive graph here

I guess, as readers, we love these words about "emotion or time, words like awkward, fortnight, glad, sorry."  But really, these words are just indicators of the type of stories she's telling- ones about the real human experience, not pirates and dragons, and we like those stories the best. 

Last.. More on the significance of language...

I was just gifted A People's History of Chicago, poems by Kevin Koval (Young Chicago Authors again).

In college, my genius friend, Ally, declared... "Poetry sucks."  I remember thinking "Whoaaaaaaaa.  She's soooooo right. They've been duping us all along, etc., etc."  Cheersing, high fives, etc., etc. 

Poet and educator, Matthew Zapruder, acknowledges the struggle in "Understanding Poetry is More Straightforward Than You Think," from the NYTimes.

Do you remember, as I do, how in the classroom poems were so often taught as if they were riddles?... In school we are taught that poetry is inherently “difficult,” and that by its very nature it somehow makes meaning by hiding meaning.
— Zapruder, Understanding Poetry...

Here's the one poem that I "got" in high school English.  On my own.  



This is the good stuff.  Most of the poems I read in school didn't paint this great picture for me or have this great rhythm.  Since high school, I haven't read much poetry.

To "get" or perhaps get into poetry, Zapruder suggests letting yourself get literal and focus on the words themselves, rather than look for a hidden meaning.

By being placed into the machine of a poem, language can become alive again. It is both what it is and what it means, but also something that is greater than the ordinary.
— Zapruder, Understanding Poetry...

Still intimidating, sorry, dude.  You're telling me I shouldn't worry about the meaning of Ulysses... just focus on Joyce's magical word choice?!  Naw.  

What he SHOULD have written was this:  Want to like poetry?  You gotta read the good stuff.  Because Ally likes poetry now.  She found Eileen Myles and got hooked.  

So, here are some recs from people who have found the good stuff:

My Dad- Litany, by Billy Collins

My friend, Tric (also, coincidentally, Matthew Zapruder)- Independently Blue, by Julian Poirer

My English teacher sister, Mag (she knows this stuff)- This is Just to Say, by William Carlos Williams, and Mysteries, Yes, by Mary Oliver

And Ally- Each Defeat, by Eileen Myles

Enjoy, stay cool.  

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