Sunday, July 3, 2011

The Necessity To Speak

     Both Hamill and Forche have very similar ideas when it comes to poetry of witness. Both views can be applied to the poems that I chose to analyze last week.

     Hamill says that people are responsible for all human issues, whether they directly involve you or not. He believes we must "name names" and be a voice for situations around us. Through poetry, we are able to share with others, and give witness to "human" issues. In "Charlie Howard's Descent" by Mark Doty, this absolutely rings true. Doty writes of his witness to the life of Charlie Howard, and gives evidence of the brutality and "human" issues surrounding homosexuals. "He's fallen for twenty three years,/ despite whatever awkwardness/ his flailing arms and legs assume/ he is beautiful." (Doty lines 33-36) is a perfect example of how we bear witness to an issue that will affect all mankind. Here, Doty shows the pain that Charlie has endured his entire life, and he speaks out; he gives Charlie a voice when Charlie no longer can do that for himself. This idea can also be applied to Bruce Weigl's poem "Song of Napalm." Weigl speaks of his witness to Vietnam; however, more than just the war itself, the actual victims of war. He speaks of the woman "Running from her village, napalm/ Stuck to her dress like jelly" (Weigl lines 25-26), and in doing so, does not allow himself, or anyone else, to forget. Weigl takes accountability for what he, presumably, has done and seen. He shares it with the world; he becomes "the vehicle used by poetry so it can touch us." (Hamill 550).

     Forche holds the same opinion as Hamill, by thinking that poetry is a form of truth. Through poetry of witness, the poet is able to tell their audience what is really happening in the world. The difference I found with the two opinions is that, Hamill believes that poetry can be about any issue, where Forche believes it to be about social issues. What I have witnessed suggest that poetry of witness is about witnessing an event, that often times has an underlying social issue. Both writers have great points of view, and I find that most of what each said rang true. Hamill had a more powerful and persuasive stance because of the issues he described, and how detailed they were. However, they were both insightful, and gave me a new outlook on poetry.

I thought this was a nice website that can help you work on your poetry, if you enjoy writing. The picture I chose is of poetry magnets. They are always fun to play around with on the refrigerator, and give you a subtle way to express you mood at any given time.

Works Cited

Doty, Mark. "Charlie Howard's Descent." Angelfire. 3 July 2011. Web.     /ca4/strawberry/descent.html

Weigl, Bruce. "Song of Napalm." Poetry Foundation. 3 July 2011. Web.

Image source

1 comment:

  1. Reading both I would agree that truth is the binding factor. You can not give witness to someone without telling everything that happened; even the slightest censorship can change the way the event is viewed by the masses. I liked that you said that the writer gives his subject a voice when he can no longer speak for himself. This is a great way to describe poetry of witness, especially after an event ending in death. Thanks for the insight.