Merced 2019

I wrote my poem in the style of William Blake’s “London”.

I scroll through the headlines each morning

And my chest constricts with empathy

We should all heed the warning

The world is turning to one of apathy


Mothers holding their dead children

Countries going weak without water

There are more lives than 327 million

But most only care about a millionaire’s daughter


Conversations overheard hold no weight

Destruction and devastation happen everyday

Many it seems, have turned a blind eye to their fate

Soon, the repercussions will be at our doorway


The country is built on bureaucracy and hypocrisy

We hear the discontent; yet seem powerless

We have been reduced to Kakistocracy

People cry, people die, the world is not colorless

Sabrina Vazquez

Friedrich’s Romantic Art

After reading The Mad Mother, one could say that there is plenty to interpret. After first reading through the ballad, readers may be confused as to what the purpose of the work is, and what the meaning behind it is.

After reading The Mad Mother myself, I decided that the ballad’s topic was the idea of death, and how one’s death could push someone to an undeniable state of grief so terrible as to classify that person as “crazy” or “mad.” A few of the stanzas that stood out to me were Stanzas 70, 83, 89-90, and 98-100. Certain phrases such as “How pale and wan it [her son] else would be” (Stanza 70) and “My little babe! thy lips are still” (Stanza 83) give off the imagery that the woman’s baby boy is deceased, and that she is carrying around his corpse due to the fact that she is unable to overcome the truth that her son is dead, as well as her husband. “We’ll find thy father in the wood” (Stanza 98) helps the reader to believe that the woman’s lover had passed away and been buried in the woods; however, in her mind, he has run away into the woods, and it is her job to find him in order to fix their family.

The painting by Caspar David Friedrich portrays a sense of loneliness, much like the feelings of this mother having lost her family and being unable to properly grieve about it. The twisting of the trees symbolizes the mother’s unclear mind, or “craziness” as one may put it, tangled between what’s real and what is not.

– Jody Omlin

Wordsworth and Nature

In the poem “Letters Written in Early Spring” by William Wordsworth and in the painting “Landscape with an Aqueduct” (1818) by Théodore Gericault we see the love for Nature reflected amongst the perceiver’s perception of Nature and overall landscape. As done by various Romantic poets and artists, the love for Nature overpowers. The need to honor and respect the planet manifests from the fellow artist’s appreciation and admiration for Mother Earth.

Wordsworth writes about the bird’s singing around him as he sits in a small woodland grove and states:

The budding twigs spread out their fan,
To catch the breezy air;
And I must think, do all I can,
That there was pleasure there.

If this belief from heaven be sent,
If such be Nature’s holy plan,
Have I not reason to lament
What man has made of man?” (Wordsworth, 1798)

the repetition of the phrase “what man has made of man?” refers to the author continuously pondering mankind’s impact on Nature and humanity. The poet’s analysis of all mankind brings sadness. Possibly because the poet is realizing all the effects of greed and violence that initially stem from mankind’s fear of losing power or control. Mankind’s need for power and control has significantly influenced our relationship with Mother Earth. Collectively speaking, our relationship with Mother Earth is lacking.

The poet ponders the beauty of Nature and the “pleasure” found in the “breezy air” and the “budding twigs“. The poet is returning to his pure and innocent state of being a human – but with an immortal soul – and realizing we are far more connected to Mother Earth as her inhabitants than we’d like to think. A connection beyond what could consciously understand. We are all currently living on this planet, breathing the planet’s air and eating her naturally grown produce. We must extend eternal, unconditional love to the planet by physically spending time with Her. Only by spending time in Nature are we able to truly witness and observe the beauty, therapy and “pleasure” of Nature. Nature deserves to be loved. She deserves to have our undivided attention. Similar to the poet Wordsworth documenting his intimate moments with Nature in beautifully written Romantic verses.

The artist Théodore Gericault does a good job of documenting the beauty of Nature. Shining bright, purifying Sun rays over the mountains is illustrated overpowering the landscape. We could see two small individuals having a verbal exchange. This painting illuminates how small humans are compared to how big the Universe truly is. The human race is one small portion of All There Is and yet mankind has created so much unhealthy impact on the condition and physical state of Mother Earth.

  • Brianna Barajas


The Maiden in Mariner

By : Maricruz Solano

Iron maiden is a well versed band in rhythm and instrumental functions. They can fluidly play a guitar to make it sound heavenly. The gesture creates originality and expresses forms of authenticity, I believe their music is a form of romantic poetry. Romantic poetry is confusing because at times I think it is only about romance. This is false because romantic poetry is an outpour of emotions. The subliminal messages in the song behind all of the heaval medal is a beautiful interpretation of god, nature, and creations. For myself it creates an emotional boundary that I can resonate with. Although heavy metal is not my choice of music, I can appreciate its message and form of poetry.

The poem itself is sick and twisted which is closely related to heavy metal in this sense. The Mariners dead crew, the rising of the dead, and the murder of Albatross. This is heavy and deep, just like Iron Maiden. The poem is not musically creative but its is interesting in its own ways. They is a storyline and plot twist which captures my attention. Both are different forms of romantic poetry but ultimately both share a powerful meaning in their own ways. This comparison is drastic but it makes sense.


Romantic Poetry, Feat. Iron Maiden

Iron Maiden’s rock-and-role rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner keeps this piece of work as classic romantic poetry by keeping the original words and feeling enveloped into it. The song holds a lot of imagery, as well as metaphors to help the listener truly imagine the scene set by Coleridge’s poem.

While Iron Maiden had made the poem into a much more rough-sounding version of the original, it still kept the meaning as a romantic poem, focusing on the hardships of people’s lives instead of the happiness in them. The rock-and-roll version seemed to accentuate this pain that humans go through instead of dull it, as can be seen in the line “The many men, so beautiful! And they all dead did lie.”

Some students and other listeners may disagree that Iron Maiden’s version of Coleridge’s song keeps the poem as a piece of romantic poetry based on the tone that it sets; however, I believe that the deep vibe pulls listeners into this 13-minute song and helps them to imagine the poem in a stronger light.

-Jody Omlin

Scraping Through the Enigma of Gulliver’s Travels

For as preposterous Gulliver’s imagination of the outside world can be, there’s no denying that the enigma of such creation is admirable, to say the least. Perfecting a world of your own is no easy task, but through the findings and understanding of the unknown, we can conceptualize the moralization of what Gulliver wanted for a better world. Its dialogue further coincides with the expectation of what Gulliver wants for the real world governmental stanza but is left relentless to be implementing such ideologies towards Lilliput.

“He said, he knew no Reason, why those who entertain Opinions prejudicial to the Publick, should be obliged to change, or should not be obliged to conceal them. And, as it was Tyranny in any Government to require the first, so it was a Weakness not to enforce the second.” (Part II, Chapter VI)

To my understanding its belief is further exemplified towards the King is one that Swift is writing is his own voice on behalf of Gulliver. For Swift, he is Gulliver in the real world. Expressing elsewhere throughout the novel there are relations towards the analysis of an outside world with Mary Rowaldson’s lifetime when being captured. Though we understand the psychological approach both authors have for a better society in the real world, there’s denying that Swift has the ability to express it within his own belief more openly that Rowaldson. At the end of the day, most people would agree that the tale of Gulliver’s Travels is a simple tale to be told towards children rather than to be analyzed for a more influential governmental system in the future.

– Stephen Muñoz



99.9 Apess Radio – transcript –

 Apess Radio, where we talk about cultural differences, the morals behind sharing historical narratives, and which perspectives matter most. Episode 19 features very special guest, American author Mary Rowlandson,  best known for “Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mary Rowlandson” 

Transcribed by: Leena Beddawi

Apess: Hello and welcome to today’s episode of Apess radio! I just want to let our audience know that Mary Rowlandson is here, so we’re going to be asking a few questions and then continue with our regularly scheduled program. Hello Mrs. Rowlandson, how are you today?

Rowlandson: Please, call me Mary, and I’m doing quite well thank you!, I hope all is okay here as well!

Apess: Yes! We’re excited to have you on the show, and if you’re a new listener you’d probably benefit from knowing that both Mary and I have been in the public eye recently for reasons quite similar to each other, wouldn’t you say, Mary?

Rowlandson: Yes, context wise our stories are completely different, but the important parts are similar.

Apess: and what are the “important parts”, to you?

R: To me, what we have in common and what is most similar between us was the need to be understood, and the drive to write our respective histories down in order to one day be understood. I think I speak for any historical author in saying that we hope to one day be discussed in a classroom, perhaps even side-by-side, creating a discourse about what stories are worth telling and retelling.

Apess: do you find our stories to be of the same value or importance? You mentioned one day our stories could create discourse in a classroom, I’d appreciate your examination of that. I already know my stance and what I’d imagine would happen in a setting you’ve just described, but I’m curious to hear your take.

R: well, I have given it much thought, and being the author that I am, and if our stories were to be taken side by side, I believe the class of spectators would side with your piece being the most valuable, the story which deserves more readers.

Apess: I appreciate you saying that, I can’t say I disagree. I bring up questions for white colonists, like “Can you charge the Indians with robbing a nation almost of their whole continent, and murdering their women and children, and then depriving the remainder of their lawful rights, that nature and God require them to have?” Does a question like that make you uncomfortable?

Rowlandson: I can’t say I know what I would answer, because even being white, I had nothing to do with the torture my male counterparts put you through.

Apess: but yet you benefit from it.

R: Excuse me? Benefit from what?

Apess: your white privilege, the very skin God granted you and I, the hue is very important to your male counterparts.

R: ah yes, you’ve got that right. Especially when it comes to you folk,

A: us folk?

R: yes, I mean, Indians. Natives. The barbarians who captured me, for example, were dark as well, this is something they’d take into consideration.

A: the color or “hue” has nothing to do with anything, though. This is a where the discrimination began, with color being seen as a direct connection to worth. I also don’t want to ignore the fact that you just called your captors barbarians…

R: you know I went through too much, they were barbaric in the way they treated me

A: yet near the end, you were friends with some of these “barbarians”, thinking of them fondly.

R: that was the brainwashing, they prepared me all that time, to enjoy and sometimes even long for their company.

A: I see, wouldn’t you think, however, that all of this could have been solved if we were communicative instead of all the destruction and bloodshed?

R: yes of course! I think all of this could have been solved with some conversations akin to the one we’re having right now.

A: your story, our stories, do you think they should be taught side by side?

R: why not? It gives students both perspectives while also allowing Both valid and honest stories to be told.

A: thank you for joining us, Mary. It was a pleasure having you on the show with us.

R: thank you for having me.

The new Land of Mexico

I was very happy, I know now, at home with my trophy wife and two kids. But one day I accepted an advantageous offer to be the driver of a Truck. I, as a diesel gas-guzzling American couldn’t turn down the offer to drive the roads built by taxes and fire guns freely in the Land of the Free. I bought a Truck on the 2nd day of March 2017, acquired some haul (burgers for a McDonalds in Texas) and set off on the Freedom trail on the 3rd. If I had learned my lesson of knowing when I was happy I would never have set out on this dreaded adventure.

The closer to Texas I got, the more misfortunes were beset upon me. After the third time that I was mugged driving through LA I was out of tires and began carrying my truck, fireman’s carry style. I made it all the way to Nevada, trading and making discoveries and inventions as I went but I was soon apprehended by the police for not having a Truck-carrying permit and thrown into a police van. I expected nothing less than to be murdered at the hands of these police but then I remembered that I was a white male, and would likely be let on my own way soon.

Upon the 3rd day of March one of the Policemen came into my van, and said “you’re going back to Mexico where you belong”. I told him that I was a white but the dark light of the van prevented me from being seen properly. They forced me into another van, drove several miles, and threw me out of the van in a totally new land, immediately turning tail and going back across the border to the US, and in so doing said their goodbyes.

In typical American fashion in a new land, I walked confidently knowing I was the true owner of the land regardless of who was there already. This land was covered with dust and sparse trees, and I walked carefully to not be surprised by any drug cartels. On the ground I saw strange tracks, feet that were spaced out very far from each other and then very close. At last I came upon the inhabitants of the land, a sight which disconcerted me greatly. I beheld a great number of people. The women among the group were all dancing and had long black hair, and the men simply sat and stared at my shimmering white skin. Never, in all my years, had I come upon a sight so disagreeable. Full of contempt, I attempted to go on my way when an ugly monster blocked my way. “Amigo,” he said, “necesito su libertad“. I drew my .45 from my leather-plated holster and, striking him, informed him that “Freedom ain’t optional. It’s coming for you no matter what”, as the US army materialized out of nowhere and liberated the poor people of Mexico.


To Mr(s). Editor,

This piece strictly adheres to the requirements sent out by your agency. It formally follows the conventions used in the fourth part, first chapter of Gulliver’s Travels. It adheres to the language – the story is set in the past tense, it depicts dread in the first paragraph, capture in the second, leaving the comfortable world in the third, and discovery and rescue in the fourth, just as Gulliver’s travels does. Furthermore, it uses similar diction – rather than contracting words like prevented, disconcerted, disagreeable, etc. as they are used in the text. This post also engages with the modern reader, it uses stereotypes like having a full family, being a proud American, and feeling superior to other cultures that are sure to be familiar to present readers. The artistry of this writing is like the source text, it is descriptive rather than poetic and metaphoric. The diction was carefully chosen so as not to remove that feeling of the narrative. Finally, the use of the medium to communicate the ridiculousness of American superiority was carefully chosen – it could not have been done by a poem about nationalism in playing a harp, for example. Thus, the parodied content matched the source.

The message of this imitation or parody was that the imperialism and believed superiority of Americans in other countries is ridiculous, and that the manliness inherent in American culture is ridiculous as well. There are many other messages within the poem, for example the arrest for not having a license for a fictitious mode of transportation criticizes the over-regulation of the American government concerning modes of transportation. The portrayal of the Mexicans was kept short because the message of the piece would possibly have been obscured by racist stereotypes, meaning it was not a stylistic choice but a question of prudence.


Joshua Jolly

The Second Mariner

On the swift ocean current calm,

With my hair flowing like the leaves of the Palms,

With a crew of over two hundred men,

Running about like wild pigs in a pen.


A thick fog begins to rise from the sea,

A very bad omen wouldn’t you agree?

With blocks of ice putting us to and fro,

A white-washed bird hovering low.


Could this be without a doubt,

The Mariner’s Rime come about?

But why here now, of any day,

Did the Mariner choose us to stay?


Centuries forth, with vessels of steel,

And an Iron Maiden giving repeal,

With no other thought, I raise my gun,

Three rounds fired for each of my sons.


As the snowy bird does fall on its head,

The pure white feathers now stained red,

The crew looks on in shock and awe,

The fog recedes and air turns raw.


At first the crew believes it’s a good sign,

But I know that darkness will come in time,

And as the stage does surely set,

Life and Death each one I’ve met.


As the angels arrive from the heavens,

This floating slot machine missed all sevens.

All my crew fell down dead,

With blood pooling beneath their heads.


Then Life looked down upon me,

Shook her head only to leave me be,

For then the nightmares soon began,

For me there was no promised land.


For years on hence I spread the tale,

Of Life and Death on wind and sail.

Not one soul dared turn an eye,

Not even daring a polite goodbye.


Now the curse has begun to fade,

I wish to end this escapade;

I want redemption for my sin,

The holy bird’s blood on my chin.


So further I travel every time,

Muttering the Ancient Mariner’s Rime,

Was I not the first to be cursed as such?

Coleridge has made me think as much.


As I walk once again in an inn,

I spot an old sailor speaking through the din,

Of a tale quite so similar to mine,

Almost fully, line by line.


No one listened to his tale but one,

Which was myself with a meal now done,

I spoke with him and asked his age,

He seemed to have lost count after each page.


The man wrote stories of his curse,

Like a woman obsesses of what’s in her purse.

He remembers the script, every word,

The passerby think he’s clearly absurd.


I tell him he’s not the only one with this fate,

Though I admit, I am a bit late,

He takes in every word I say,

Then nods his head and goes on his way.


Now here in the present day,

I speak to those who I may,

Where so few know the tale itself,

The Rime now on a dusty shelf.


Where it is no longer read,

So even now, my legend, dead;

But forever I continue my quest,

To get the penance that I request.


And soon enough or so I hear,

I will be free to ascend with family dear,

So now I bid thee a swift farewell,

As I spread my tale and wish all well.




This is a poem based off the thought of the events of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner repeating themselves in the current day. I used descriptive imagery of the time period, such as Iron Maiden and the boat the narrator traveling on being made of steel. Another difference is that the poem actually makes reference to the original work by Coleridge. The narrator appears to be following a different path, focusing on making sure others hear his story, though none truly listen. The sailor narrating the poem was based off my brother, who is currently in the US Navy.

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