Harp of Ireland

Since the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the harp became synonymous with Irishness, an association most notable today in the Guinness Beer Company’s trademark logo (est. 1759).  For next Friday (4/28), students will write a blog post on the symbolic significance of the Irish harp in ONE of the three assigned poems for that week: Thomas Moore, Sydney Owenson, or Henry Derozio.  How do these poets use the cultural history of the harp to convey their nationalist message?  Explain how their poems extend, rewrite, or complicate this history. To help you answer this question, I’ve inserted a link to a scholarly website that traces the long and complex history of the Irish harp in Britain:

 

 

The poem by Thomas Moore “Harp of my country” utilizes the Harp as a form of Nationalistic Pride. When there is darkness Moore states he found the harp and thats symbolic of the Irish that are now controlled by the English. And in a way Moore is expressing his reminiscent outlook on the drastic changes that have come about as well. The Harp is the pride and  Joy of the Irish and now he feels as though it has been tainted by the foreigners that don’t really appreciate it which he expresses when he states ” Til touch’d by some hand less unworthy than mine” . This extends history in that it is drawing attention to the changing of the times. Where once the Harp took on a message of freedom and joy it is now the thing that keeps the Irish people bound to the English as almost a form of slavery. It is not used to express freedom and Joy but to entertain the new foreigners diminishing the original feelings the Harp once brought.  The Harp is something that had been mastered and specialized by the Gaelic people for many generations and now it is being glorified in a sense for the wrong reasons. Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.10.32 AM.pngScreen Shot 2017-04-28 at 11.10.21 AM.png

East LA, 2017

For my creative poem I decided to take inspiration from Wordsworth’s London, 1802. While the poem itself does not directly mention my hometown it still has key elements that would apply to my hometown. East Los Angeles is a city that is known for it’s high population of low-income households. For many of its’ residents it can be challenging getting by day-to-day when the opportunities of financial success are close to being nonexistent. The poem underlines a call to God because I wanted to address a highly viewed figure in my community and, at least the way I grew up, God would be the first thing or “solution” I’ve been told would listen. Additionally, the means of production was included in the poem because in a city where its’ citizens have to work nonstop in order to survive it becomes unfair when our “leader” gets to enjoy the benefits of financial success. While our leader enjoys these luxuries there are communities such as my own that have a hard time breaking this cycle of manipulation because it’s unfortunately all we see. Overall, the poem was intended to address that issue and the beginning of the poem was also meant to captivate the audience’s attention. It’s not a literal death occurring but rather a figurative death due to our placement in society. The placement of a community that has difficulties breaking away from our leaders’ policies because it’s what we have grown familiar with.

 

God! When will thee resurrect?

This world is pure chaos; one too many slaughters

A contemporary world full of red waters

So many sins that I can’t correct

Without the possibility of some misdirect.

You may be weary but we are not corrupt

We promise to not be abrupt

What we need now is guidance and equal trust

Because it has gotten too far

One too many scars

So many lives that can be pure

But instead they turn into manure

In a world where our leaders are obscure

About policies that result in destruction

We need to seize the means of production

Before God decides he no longer wants to provide

Any sign of stride in order to survive

 

-Kristy Frausto

Exoticism of the Lower Class through Wordsworth’s “We are Seven”

The Romantic era sought beauty in the natural world as a way of responding to the industrial boom that modernized the western world. However, it did not only mean that people were focused on looking toward the horizon for beauty, or searching for the meaning of life in a mountain range, it also meant that literature, art and beauty would be more democratic. It meant that there was a complexity to the lives of the poor working class, and they too were able to express themselves poetically. With that being said, William Wordsworth is one of the pioneers who tried to incorporate the connection poor people had to the world. In his poem, “We Are Seven” there are class markers that the speaker of the poem identifies in the first stanza that mark the subjects of the poem, and even exoticizes them. The first line of the poem sets the tone by beginning with “A simple child” and this signals images in the reader’s imagination immediately about how to understand the family and domestic quality in the poem. Another class marker is when the speaker describes the the little “cottage girl” in stanza two, and these markers help to put into perspective how the cryptic moments in the poem are inherently tied to the class status of the family.  The little girl seems to be confused about what the title of the poem suggests, which is that she believes there are seven people in her household when in fact some of the members have actually died. The speaker of the poem seems to be conflicted about the “cottage” girl’s blissful ignorance because of her “simple” way of understanding the world–which seems to exclude the idea of passing away.

The painting by David Caspar Friedrich, “The Abbey in the Oakwood” is a romantic era painting that embodies the idea of nature vs civilization, but it is also the negotiation between these two concepts in a coexisting manner. This reminds me of how the little girl says “two of us in the church-yard lie” in stanza six when she is referring to their grave sites, which are described as being “green” in stanza ten. This seems to be a deliberate way of assigning a lively color like green to a gravesite, which is obviously to keep the dead. There seems to be a duality here that is much like the painting where wee see a dead trees and an incomplete building because it has been abandoned. However, we still get the natural world working–the painting gives it life as a way of accepting the passing of things a part of the circularity. Although the painting is a little more cryptic, it definitely parallels the poem on how death seems to be in constant movement with nature, and ultimately man.

This duality of death and life looks kind of cryptic when it is attributed to the status of the poor. This could have something to do with the idea of not having tombstones adorned like aristocratic people did, as Wordsworth has alluded to in another poem, but it also has to do with the way in which the Romantics like Wordsworth and Coleridge looked to democratize the poor in conversation with the mainstream. In other words, they tried to de-marginalize the poor by including them in the center of their works. It is actually pretty marxist of them to do so, but it is also shows the gaze that is inevitable when people who do not belong to the working-class try to speak for them. To attribute death and its circularity to the working class shows more about Wordsworth’s gaze, than it might about poor working class people. The painting by Friedrich demonstrates a sort of othering that is attributed to these forgotten or “abandoned” people, as I have mentioned. By looking at this painting, it could be said that Wordworth looked at poor people in this way; he might have found them to be deserving of being brought into the mainstream of culture, but in a way he is also not one of them so he, in effect, has also exoticized them. romantic image 2

Cesar R

I chose the Monk by the Sea painting and the Nightingale poem from the book of poems. The two share thematic and aesthetic similarities under the umbrella of Romanticism.

The painting depicts a Monk staring wistfully out at the ocean. The colors are muted and the focus is on the bottom of the painting. The scene embodies darkness and lack of natural life. The horizontal strokes lengthen the feeling of the painting; it does not feel like an afterthought but thematically important.

The poem is guided by gothic undertones and a yearning overtone. It describes a bird singing late in the day and details how it reminds the author of the Philomea, a much older character who was famously raped. The poem is dark and of moderate length and sentence length is moderate. There is no flashy rhyming, the poem is to he point and not adorned with much but allusions.

Transcendence

 

The picture below relates to the mad mother in that at first it seems depressing and sad but the more you think about it the more it seems to tell a tale of hope. In this picture it seems to be depressing and ominous but there is light in the window that signifies hope and hints that once there could have been a great castle or something there but time has taken its toll. There is a cross and what appears to be graves and so the building may have once been a place of worship. Just like in the mad mother where she says

“Dread not their taunts, my little life!
I am thy father’s wedded wife;
And underneath the spreading tree
We two will live in honesty.
If his sweet boy he could forsake,
With me he never would have stay’d:
From him no harm my babe can take,
But he, poor man! is wretched made,
And every day we two will pray
For him that’s gone and far away.”

She too was once worshiped and now forgotten, and the nature of this poem is sad in itself but it gives hope just like the light in the window. She left her husband and the baby may be dead (not clear) but she wants to for a new life and change from the past. Like the light in the window her baby is her only hope in such a sad and depressing time.

 

 

 

  • Haley H

Abbey vs. Gravesite

 

This painting firstly is by a German artist, Caspar David Friedrich, post the time of the Napoleonic invasion of Germany. To understand this period, one has to understand the disillusionment that came with post-war Germany. This painting reflects that deeply felt sentiment of a great nation crumbling and decaying. The oak trees in this painting, which also Oak trees are the national tree of Germany and should live for up to 600 years are rotting away in sort of symbolic rotting away of Germany. The abbey in the middle reflects the interest in spirituality of the time, as something great and longstanding of culture. It too, rots with the trees. The painting serves as sort of desperate and sad representation of the decay of Germany. Broader, it is the decay of civilization and life. As the center crumbles all life around it shrivels and dies, something great silently dies in this picture. This thematic expression and understanding can be applied to understanding other romantic themed pieces. The poem “We Are Seven” takes a sort of twisted innocent look at death as understood by a child. The young girl in the poem will not accept the death of her siblings but chooses to reinvent her own sort of definition in death. Her siblings are dead and yet she can interact with them.
“My stockings there I often knit,

My kerchief there I hem;

And there upon the ground I sit,

And sing a song to them. “

 

She goes on to be with them as if they were alive, making death seem something deeper than death, but more a second life just separate from our own world. Though dead, she believes her siblings still need to me spent time with and sung too. She literally sees that “better place” that people will say people go to. Applying the theme of decay that we understand in the painting as comparing the gravestone of siblings to the abbey, they decay in such different ways.  The abbey is alone and crumbling while the grave of the young girl’s siblings is green and she is always visiting. The memory site of these great lives are commemorated in such strikingly different ways that when compared it serves to only add deeper meaning. To the German painter, it is sad to see a great society crumble from within and the horizon is bleak, but to this innocent child the memory of life at all is cherished and even when gone, she will remember them as alive.

 

-Cait Grabill

What do you see?

The painting that stood out the most to me was “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct” by Theodore Gericault. This painting compared to the others is very clear, this is important because it shows the immense effort (shading, shapes, colors and geometry) put in to it the. The other paintings are very vague, which for the viewer is a good thing because then they (the viewer) use their own interpretation of what it means, and every viewer has a different story. But it also makes it hard for them to understand what the artist’s intentions were. For me “Evening” tells a story of a traveler, who wishes to understand the this world where society is slowly taking over nature, and in understanding it there comes a realization that humans are becoming dependent on nature.

The use of imagery in “The Tables Turned” reminds a lot of this picture. The colors in this pictures stick out to me the most, so when the poem mentions….

“The sun above the mountain’s head,

A freshening lustre mellow

Through all the long green fields has spread,

His first sweet evening yellow.”

It gives a perfect interpretation of sky in the “Evening”. Also something I notice in the picture is how there are only certain parts of the landscape that are hit by the sunlight, one of them being a small tree to the right. This tree serves as a parallel to the “wisdom” that the speaker compares with the books.

“Books! ‘tis a dull and endless strife:…

Come forth into the light of things,

Let Nature be your teacher.”

The tree in the picture represents the mind, so when you let your mind open and “into the light” you (the tree) grow intellectually. Another part of this poem that corresponds well with this image is..

“Mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things:-

We murder to dissect.

Enough of Science and of Art;”

These lines really resonate with my initial idea of human dependence on nature. In the middle of the image we see buildings and an aqueduct which represent human colonization on this land. And behind the small village there is a mountain, which has a distinctly perfect rectangular shape, which counter argues the line “mis-shapes the beauteous forms of things” in satiric way, because nature is supposed to random and irregular not perfectly symmetrical.

-Ravneet Dhillon

A Lake of Despair, A Sky of Repair

The setting of the painting by Caspar David Friedrich, The Monk by the Sea, can be described in the poem “The Thorn” because the speaker is standing on the mountain edge, describing the nature surrounding them,”High on a mountain’s highest ridge, / Where oft the stormy winter ridge / Cuts like a scythe, while through the clouds / It sweeps from vale to vale” (103). I thought the description of the scenery was similar to the painting because the figure in the painting is standing on a rocky ground. I could picture the rocky ground being the edge of a mountain cliff above a dark blue sea. The ocean is an ebony black while the sky is gray but you can see a hint of sunlight that illustrates that the sun is hiding from view. In addition to the difference in height, the sharp color contrast between the ocean and sky makes the painting seem more mysterious because the scenery conveys a miserable, empty sea but a hopeful sunrise. It is as if the mood of the painting is cut between the sea and the sky which is where the simile, “Cuts like a scythe,” seems to apply.

The background surrounding the ocean looks as if it could be a snowy forest with mountains further away due to how the dark green and black shaded objects rise above the ocean but the wide light gray peaks manage to touch the sky, “You must take care and chuse your time / The mountain when to cross. / For oft there sits, between the heap / That’s like an infant’s grave in size”(105).

It could also be that the dark murky waters are not a sea but a lake, “And that same pond of which I spoke.” The small figure standing in the middle of the painting overlooking the lake and mountains could also be a woman because we only see the back of their body which is obscured by the cloak they are wearing and the poem describes a character similarly, “A woman in a scarlet cloak, / And to herself she cries, / Oh misery! oh misery! / Oh woe is me! oh misery!” (105). The woman in the poem is in despair because her lover has abandoned her and her unborn child. The painting reflects the mood of the poem because the woman is in a mentally, emotionally and spiritually dark, depressing place. The cloak blends in with the lake as if to demonstrate that the woman is surrounding herself with this negative energy of loss and grief especially since in some cultures, water represents life. Therefore, she has disrupted the flow of life due to killing her baby.

-Ana Diaz-Galvan

Paraiso

The painting by Theodore Gericault, “Evening: Landscape with an Aqueduct,” seems to be a near close depiction of William Wordsworth’s poem “Lines Written At a Small Distance From My House, and Sent by My Little Boy to the Person to Whom they are Addressed.”  It is as if Gericault’s paintbrush is taking direction from Wordsworth’s poetic expression.  

In the painting we see a vision of perfection through the depiction of a day filled with leisure and great weather.  There are several people swimming along the aqueduct, simply basking in what seems to be an air of peace.  Similarly, in the poem, Woodsworth’s first words are that it was a “mild day of March.”  The word “mild” meaning that the climate is neither too hot nor too cold, setting the tone for how one may feel tempered when reading the rest of the poem.  The same feeling is evoked fromt the painting, where the sun light’s casting against the landscape and buildings, indicates the hour of dusk, hence indicating that a mildness has taken over that part of the day.

There also seems to be a Utopian fantasy taking place in both the art piece and the poem, when Woodsworth says: “Love, now an Universal birth/from heart to heart is stealing/from earth to man/from man to earth/-it is the hour of feeling.”  Now, instead of looking at the art piece first, if the lines are read first, and the art piece is looked at thereafter, one will see that a perfect world has been projected.  The illusion that “love” has been born on a “universal” level, meaning that everyone and everything is exuding a perfect sense of happiness and love, is entirely the definition of a Paradise world.  In the picture we see men inside of the water, casually relaxing and enjoying the themselves. That part of the art piece could even literally have those words “From Earth to man, from man to Earth -It is the hour of feeling” placed in that specific spot on the painting.

The combination of the perfect weather and the gentlemen’s’ sense of peace in Gericault’s painting goes quite well with Wordsworth last line when he says, “for this one day we’ll give to idleness.”  In other words, instead of carrying on with work, which is the daily protocol for survival, both painter and poet are saying that, instead, not worrying is the perfect way to enjoy life, and in that sense, the survival of one’s inner spirit is most important.

-Maricela (Marcy) Martinez

 

Illustrative Technique as a Romantic Era Tool

Iron Maiden’s heavy metal version of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is like romantic poetry in the way that it captures the very mission of romantic poetry. Our class mostly agreed that Romantic poetry aimed to invoke this deep and beautiful feeling in a mission to explore and understand human emotion. Iron maidens use of music and illustration certainly aids in evoking a deep and emotive meaning even beyond what the words of a poem can do, making it romantic-esque art in and of itself.

 

RIMEEEEE.jpg

This pictures for me is incredible. The poem doesn’t come close to the fear created by this image. I am first, not the most imaginative reader, so conjuring up this image would be hard itself, but the even reading I don’t think most people get to this magnitude. This picture really takes someone’s interpretation and paints it clearly and gets across all the emotion that they felt reading and I see this as literally capturing the point of Romantic-era art. He drew what he felt when reading the poem. He got across this incredible display of emotion through art. The artist used both literal means of the picture but also techniques to get these images across. The green tone is associated with a sort of dark magic as it is commonly used in films. The way the creatures looms over the boat with a hand as big as the boat adds to his massive and intimidating size. The sharp rocks make the scene look rougher and “scarier” aka like a typical horror movie scene. The dark and swirling clouds leads to some black hole where god knows what lies and the albatross is a bright white in comparison to everything else, making it seem like the only good, and yet it is dead. The red in its eyes and the red blood coming from the bird are the same color and texture which, doesn’t scream “yay” and the people on the boat aren’t even visible so like they’re already screwed. The artist chose to emphasize that size difference so it seems like this thing could sneeze and that boat is lost forever.

The music also helped to boost the sort of terror and thrill that the poem describes. The music is high energy but also darker in a way that alludes to a foreboding sense of danger. The music itself causes chemical reactions in peoples; brains as they listen outright, forcing them to feel emotions as their nerves rise. This also becomes another way like romantic art, Iron Maiden’s rendition gets across this human emotion.