Monthly Archives: October 2018

Poetry in Motion- Here

While riding the subway I remember seeing the poem, “Here” by Gary Snyder, and it is the only Poetry in Motion poem I genuinely related to. I remember reading it as I was on my way to wherever I may have been in a rush to get to and initially thinking to myself to slow down. The poem really made me think about how vast the world is and ask myself that question, “Why are we here” (Line 10). I discovered that the visual art that accompanies the poem is stained glass. The stained glass is in geometric shapes as the artist, Ray King, enjoyed making these geometric structures that played with light. I believe the connection between the poem and the visual is how life can become an illusion just as stained glass may change the color of light when it passes through. This poem was a great choice for subway riders as many of us are not taking the train leisurely, we are in a rush. This constant chaos of running out of time causes many of us to forget about the universe and how big it truly is as well as how small we really are. We constantly have so many distractions and this poem puts everything back into perspective. 

Notes on longing

This poem “Notes on Longing” by Tina Chang is her perspective towards her family. Her poem reveals the significance of family and background. She describes the her feelings of the place where she is, and where she comes from(china). I think she is tributing to her home,”notes of longing ” in my opinion means she is far away from home so by writing this poem she feels more closer.

Poetry in Motion: My words to you by Jean Valentine

The poem I found is called “My words to you” by Jean Valentine and I saw it on the R train on my way to work. The first thing that I noticed after reading this poem was the image right next to it.  This is because they were flowers and the sun above them, and I had thought about why these specific images were chosen before I read the poem. The title of the poem didn’t really indicate anything about anything emotional. After reading it a few times, the theme of the poem to me seemed to be about love. The last line “love not gone anywhere” (line 5) gives me that idea. The speaker also seems to be talking about someone they love very dearly. “My words to you are the stitches in a scarf/ I don’t want to finish” (lines 1-2) mean to me that the speaker is making a conversation seem like an unfinished scarf. The speaker doesn’t want to finish the scarf because they do not want the conversation with that person to ever end . Even though this poem is short, it took a couple of times to understand it and see that is it just a one long sentenced poem. I think this poem was chosen for the subway because it would seem to make people forget that they are on the train for a bit and read the poem. They would interpret the poem is about love and hopefully think about a loved one rather than the ride to their destination.

Notes On Longing

The Poem I had found was Notes on Longing by Tina Chang on the R train towards Queens. This poem has a very strong theme of family which is also reinforced by the imagery associated with it. In the first couple of lines the speaker says “It smells of after-rain tonight. Duck bones, a wounded egg on rice.” (lines 1-2) It is describing a nostalgic sense of smell with imagery of after a rainy night. The nostalgic or sense of home and family is continued as the speaker describes a local shop. “On the corner, there is a shop that makes keys, keys that open human doors, doors that lead to rooms that hold families.” (lines 3-6) This ties in the local shop into a theme of family. Next the speaker describes what might be a regular dinner in that area for a family. “There is a mother who brings sizzling flounder on a wide platter for the family whose ordinary mouths have been made to sing.” (Lines 8-11). This rounds out the poem to an almost reminiscent scene of a family. The reason i stretch to say its reminiscent is because of the title.

What I interpret the title to mean is that the author or speaker is longing for this imagery described, Of a familiar neighborhood, with familiar sights and sounds. With a mother who cooks familiar foods. The picture associated with it is that of a clothing line with clothes drying which one could say is associated with home imagery. In summation even though I personally don’t know those sights or sounds I can relate to my own longing feeling for my mothers cooking or the neighborhood that is familiar to me. Which reading while making a hour and a half commute home on the subway is somewhat saddening yet nice and nostalgic.

Train rising out of sea found on the R train

I found this poem, “Train Rising out of the sea” by Josh Ashbery, on the R train.

The first thing that caught my eye is the image that accompanies the poem, specifically it reminds me of the tile arts we see around subways, then I notice the subway tracks and photo the tiles are made up of. It compliments the poem well since the poem is one whole sentence, but broken up into three stanzas. I personally think this poem was chosen because it had the word train in it, connecting to the fact that people who would be seeing this poem are riding a train. I didn’t see any connection of the title to the poem itself till the last line “…Built to prevent you from being towed to shore.”(Line 11). From what I can get, The audience, us, is being compared to a train, sunken into the sea. the lines ” We need more night for the sky, more blue for the daylight That inundates our remarks before we can make them…”(Line 1-2) is the speaker telling us we need more time to think about what people do before we end up lingering on about our actions till we’re stranded “Like an island just off shore, one of many, that no one notices…”(line 9-10). Personally, I don’t think this poem can be accessible for general reader since it left me wondering what it is trying to say.

Changes to Schedule–readings/deadlines

Hi everyone,

Here are some changes to our syllabus (readings/deadlines) for the next two weeks:

For Wed, October 31–we’ll be discussing Alicia Ostriker’s  poem “Thirsting”–online link on OpenLab and Margaret Atwood’s poem “True Stories” (in textbook pp.217-218).

Wed, October 31st at 10 am is the extended deadline to put up Blog Post #1–Poetry in Motion.

For Mon, Nov 5th, we’ll be discussing Sylvia Plath’s poems “You’re” and “Metaphors” (both are online links).  We will not be discussing Sylvia Plath’s “Daddy.”

Monday, November 5th is the due date for handing in revised paper #1.

Wed, November 7th is the due date for comments on Blog Post #1.  Please comment on at least one other student’s post.  Commenting on more than 1 post will earn extra credit.



Part of Speech: Noun

Definition: Mica is a hard mineral that is found in rocks and resembles small, flat crystals. It has great resistance to heat and electricity.

Source: Collins Dictionary

Found in the 12th line of ” Thirsting ” by Alicia Ostriker

I looked up this word because I didn’t know what Mica was.



Part of Speech: intransitive verb

1st Definition: to pass ( a liquid ) gradually through small spaces or a porous substance; filter

2nd Definition: to drain or ooze through; permeate

Source: Collins Dictionary

Found in the 7th line of ” Thirsting ” by Alicia Ostriker

I felt that it would be helpful to look up this word, because I myself was ignorant of it’s meaning. So I wanted to make sure that the rest of the class knew what it meant.

Edit: I had no idea that the actual definition didn’t go through, that’s embarrassing.

Poetry In Motion- Subway by Billy Collins

Billy Collins- Subway

I found the poem “Subway” By billy Collins on the A train. My initial thoughts on this poem is that I feel like its meant to be a quick read thats suppose to make you feel some form of gratitude towards the people that made your whole Train trip possible. The Artwork in the back are white sheets of paper flowing in the wind on a Navy blue background. I feel like the only relevance the art in the back has to the poem is that it represents the MTA logo off of color coordination alone. This poem had to be chosen for passengers as a reminder to remind the train passengers to appreciate the hard work and dedication that made the whole trip possible. Evidence of this are the Lines (4-7) where Billy collins said “Remember the ones who… clear a passage for you.” referring to the people who started construction on the trains in 1904. At the end of the Poem in the last line he says “Remember as you come up into the light” meaning to think back on all the things he spoke about in the poem as you come up from the train station from underground. The speaker of the poem could possibly be Billy collins himself with the subject being appreciation of the people who made the whole thing possible. The questions i have for this poem and Billy collins himself is, what motivated him to create this poem and is he himself a New Yorker that rides the subway.