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I want someone to write a poem about how frustrating poetry is in high school because that would honestly describe me. I started out with the opinion that I don’t like poetry and (surprise, surprise!) I still don’t. I don’t particularly like all the rules involved in poetry. Everything has to be just right with rhythm, rhyme, structure, imagery, tone, syllabic stress, and about fifty other components. I work better with creative writing and stories because I am less restricted and find it easier to convey my ideas. I have looked on other poets now as people who must not have paid very much attention to what the school is teaching about poetry. If they did, they probably would have never decided to make a living on poetry. The second poem was a bit easier to write because I had a general idea for my theme. My poem’s theme is “life is made up of different seasons” and it compares seasons to the different time periods in a person’s life. I did this because I felt that I could convey this idea best out of all my other ideas.

I think my poem could be enhanced with images of either the seasons or of the character developing. The reason I want either one or the other is that I like the air of mystique that approach lends my poem. In my actual poem, I never come out and directly point out that I’m talking about spring and summer. I don’t blatantly tell the audience that I have an evolving character in my poem. I do this because I want the audience to make their own connections and do some of the work. This also allows the reader to gain their own perspective on my theme. Out of the two ways I could go, I like the seasonal imagery better because it is somewhat easier to portray and I feel it would help the audience understand better. An idea is to have a tree or vine border around the page that evolves from one season to the next as my poem dictates. Perhaps something like this?

Image from colorbox.com

Poe and Poetry

So far, I’ve mostly enjoyed most of the poetry we’ve read. Poe’s poetry is easier for me to dissect and analyze. El Dorado surprised me a bit. It was one of the few pieces of literature that I’ve read from Poe where it starts on a relatively light note. But inevitably, it ended on despair. I mean, it wouldn’t be Poe if it didn’t focus on sadness and despair, now would it? I could relate in a way to Poe’s short story “The Cask of Amontillado”. That story also started a bit more light than others from Poe where the men are merely friends conversing. But it takes a dark turn at the end where there ends up being a murder committed. This tactic gives an eerie and suspenseful feeling to the writing which suits Poe’s writing style quite well.

I feel like our analysis of El Dorado went pretty well. The thing that tripped the most people up though was the allusion to the Bible with “The Valley of the Shadow”. That I feel is a detail that can be easily missed. Finding the rhythm was slightly hard as well, especially with the female endings. I still detest looking for that and meter, even though I’ve been doing this for years. I rather liked Poe’s use of a nursery rhyme-sounding rhythm. It effectively made the poem eerie, spooky, suspicious, and creepy. It was quite interesting how he continually used El Dorado and shadow throughout all the verses. I can’t recall a poem outside of this one where the author uses the same words for all the verses. I believe it was done to emphasize their importance and meaning, as they both are central elements to the main point of the story.

I have yet to come with a solid idea for a poem. Poetry has never been and will never be my strongest suit as I personally find it much too restrictive and flowery for my taste. I considered doing something about struggle towards a goal. However, I do not know how I am going to make this concept into a poem.

Image from Wikipedia

Scythe Review

This book is by one of my favorite authors, Neal Shusterman. I loved his Unwind series and had heard many good things about the Scythe series as well. In fact, Mr. Burell recommended it to me. Based on his description of it and how much he liked the series, I decided to take his professional opinion and give it a shot. Even without the assigned requirement of reading an additional book, I definitely believe that I would have willingly read this book anyway which is a nice change from being forced to read books I would never even go near in a thousand millennium.

 

Image from Simon and Schuster

 

I went into this book expecting a similar style to the Unwind series. I was not disappointed. Neal Shusterman takes an idea and uses it in a way to make the reader question their core beliefs. In this book, it was about the consequences of conquering death. No one wants to face death. That is what drives us to continually seek for cures to diseases and pain. But what if that were to happen? What if we conquered natural death? Shusterman shows us this possibility with a demonstration of a major consequence to seemingly eternal life: overpopulation. He forces us to think questions like: “If it is for the good of all humanity, is it bad?”, “Is it considered murder if it is done with a better intent?”, and “Is eternal life worth this?” Books like this are extremely tricky to write because you need to know what makes people tick. To make a book that is meant to shake people to the core, the author needs to identify a belief, moral, or idea that is common among various audiences. Shusterman is basically manipulating us by presenting us with a conflict between beliefs and then stepping back, almost to watch what happens.

After reading it, I had to think a lot. As a student interested in the medical department and the hope of finding cures, this book made me reevaluate myself as a person, where I stand, and why I choose that opinion. I like a book that makes you think while and after reading it, so this was a good mark of a great author.

I could best relate to Citra, the girl main character. Her unique set of problems and past experiences are easier for me to understand and feel as a reader. I also can relate to Rowan to a good extent as well, particularly his survival techniques in enduring his second apprenticeship. In general, all the characters are vibrantly created and provide each reader several different personalities to be able to relate to.

I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone. It is skillfully written. The plot sweeps you away and is quickly addictive. As a piece of modern literature, this book will have a fairly easy time reaching and communicating with diverse audiences. This makes it appealing to the average high schooler. However, I recommend this book with a warning. If you do read this, be prepared to question your judgment and basic core beliefs. Neal Shusterman writes to challenge these beliefs and therefore, drawing the reader in further emotionally. This book took every belief I had about eternal life and turned them upside-down. If you wish to be emotionally invested and ready to question yourself, this is the perfect story to read. I think that “We think of our beliefs, but not the consequences of these morals” is a theme Shusterman is trying to get across to his captive audience. This book is one of the best I’ve read and I can’t wait for the next one!