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 Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary

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PostSubject: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:18 pm

Watch the following video on poetry and social commentary and complete the following task:

The video discusses the idea that poets are required by their very nature as poets to provide both commentary on society, and to denounce those elements they feel are harmful- here America's 'war on terror'.
either
Choose one line from any poem that you feel expresses the sense of social commentary, or political activism in any poem, either English or Spanish (obviously translated). Analyse how that line expresses that sense using PEE.
or
Chose one poem and discuss in general how the poet deals with social commentary, or expresses his/her political viewpoint.

minimum 50 words
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isabella montero



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:48 pm

In his poem To Thee, Old Cause!, Walt Whitman says that all wars are fought because of the same reason, but he never explains what this reason is, implyng that wars have no point, they are fought for a nameless cause he doesn't understand. The perplexity he feels about war is shown in the line,"Around the idea of thee the strange sad war revolving."
some other quotes I found about poets and war while looking for something to write about:
"As soon as war is declared it will be impossible to hold the poets back. Rhyme is still the most effective drum"
-Jean Giraudoux
"All a poet can do today is warn"
-Wilfred Owen
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sebastian migliaro

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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:42 am

In the poem "Another Day in Iraq" by anonymous, war is characterised as "the gift of 'democracy' tightly laced in ammunition" written in a sarcastic tone.
The author expresses his feelings for war by describing all the bad things they cause to people and children "The children come back out. In fear of the atomic packages that fell from the stars." The author mainly describes how innocent people fear the explosions and that "familiar smell of burning metal" without being able to do anything about it just because some people felt like throwing bombs all over them. He describes a mother crying looked for her missing child through the streets "in a somber outfit of tears." She is described as a "China doll that fell from the careless hands of a militant." because of her innability to solve this problem caused by the military.


Last edited by sebastian migliaro on Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:30 pm; edited 2 times in total
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francisco.otero

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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:43 am

The poem "Back" by Wilfred Gibson talks about how th narrator (lyrical voice) goesto war and kills people. He concludes saying that it is his fault, so he takes the blame for it. This can be taken as a critic, because it is highly likely that he was somewhat forrced to enlist, by his country, and the heads of it. The polititians and important people that make him enlist are most likely not going to war, staying in the country to talk.

The poem starts of with the scentence "they ask me...", he doesnt state who so we can have several thoughts of it. It can be his freinds, his family, or even the whole society and people that obviously didn't enlist. He tells the bad things about war, making them know that what he was forced to do by society, is really very bad.

Back, by Wilfred Gibson:

They ask me where I've been,
And what I've done and seen.
But what can I reply
Who know it wasn't I,
But someone just like me,
Who went across the sea
And with my head and hands
Killed men in foreign lands . . .
Though I must bear the blame
Because he bore my name.

atte. afro


Last edited by francisco.otero on Sun Aug 01, 2010 5:40 pm; edited 3 times in total
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Dante Pesce



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:48 am

In the poem lament, by Gillian Clarke, the author talks about how the gulf war causes a great deal of damage to nature, and we can clearly see that she is against this war as she emphasizes his descriptions in the suffering, mainly the suffering of nature. She also mentions how this war does nothing but waste natural resources since all the oil is burned.
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Paula Macdonald



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Wed Jul 28, 2010 9:22 pm

In the song “Masters of War” by Bob Dylan he expresses his disturbed feelings about the people who create wars. He describes them as cowards because they create the guns, death planes and bombs but they hide behind their desks as they watch other people do the dirty work, “You fasten the triggers, For the others to fire”
They inflict the worst pain on people for example “Fear to bring children Into the world”, but all the money they make out of it will never by the forgiveness of the people or clean up their conscience about the harm they’ve inflicted, for example “All the money you made, Will never buy back your soul….”.
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JT Lafuente



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Wed Jul 28, 2010 11:50 pm

“Marching Men” talks about how frustrating and miserable it can be for soldiers at war. The poet, Martin Harris, says that “the slaughter of people is inhumane”, and the “rivers flow the colors red” to describe the great amount of blood that has been shed. This shows the horrific things that happen at war, and how he disagrees with it. He also mentions the way the soldiers are trained. For example, they are told that “God is on your side” even after murdering people, and “that you’re not a man, you’re a killing machine”. This continues to show the tough conditions and complicated situations that soldiers have to deal with while at war.
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isidora gutierrez



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PostSubject: isidora    Fri Jul 30, 2010 12:47 am



Marcy King in the poem 'The Earth's Enemies' develops the idea of how humans tend to progesively destroy their surroundings, the surroundings which ultimately keep them alive. It also talks about the roughnes of society and how harsh failure and tragedys occur in a world thats thought to be beautiful. Existencial questions come around often in this poem, the wonders of why we exist and the quest for these enigmatical answers are unknown to man, Marcy King suggests we walk blind through life seeking for answers which make our lifes meaningful, this may lead people to different paths , but although people respond differently to this answers we will never know after death if the ones chosen are correct.

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isabella luksic



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 11:21 am

In the song Mercy, Mercy Me by Marvin Gaye, he talks of the Earth and its deterioration, how “things ain’t what they used to be.” He refers to the three main aspects of the environment, sky, sea and land, giving negative yet true comments for each. “What about this overcrowded land/ How much more abuse from man can she stand?” directly refers to the human race as being the cause of all this destruction on nature. He seems to be calling to all people to wake up and take responsability for their actions.
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emily lynch



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:02 pm

In his poem Dulce Et Decorum Est Wilfred Owen clearly critisizes the people of the world who believed fighting for one's country was the greates honour possible. This is clear when he tells the reader that if they had experienced the horrors of the war, they would not "tell with such high zest....the old Lie". The fact that the word "lie" is in capital letters emphasises the phrase's (Dulce et decorum est) decieve and makes the message cause an even greater impact on the reader.
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sofi steinsapir



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 2:45 pm

Report to Wordsworth, by Boey Kim Cheng, talks about the destruction of nature by man, and we are able to conclude that society needs to change as we are at the edge of final destruction. This key point is reflected strongly at the end of this Shakespearan sonnet, where "O see the wound windening in the sky/God is labouring to utter his last cry" refers directly to our actions, and how these are putting earth to the brink of deterioration, being labouring a key word. The rhyming couplet synthesizes the whole meaning of the poem, leaving still a sense of hope and inviting us to take advantage of it and so, end total demacration of nature.
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nikola abello



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:26 pm

Sam Hamill expresses his hate to war in the poem "State of Union". In this poem he shows the resentment against the war leaders who do nothing to stop the massacre but only look at it as an opportunity and have no intentions to stop it. Moreover, the poet feels hate and pitty for the everyday situation of the kids in war countries who now are accostumed to the bombs and death and see it as part of their everyday life.
Additionally, he is not only refering to the sufferment of the people of the affected countries but also of the soldiers who die and leave widows behind.

I have not been to Jerusalem,
but Shirley talks about the bombs.
I have no god, but have seen the children praying
for it to stop. They pray to different gods.
The news is all old news again, repeated
like a bad habit, cheap tobacco, the social lie.

The children have seen so much death
that death means nothing to them now.
They wait in line for bread.
They wait in line for water.
Their eyes are black moons reflecting emptiness.
We've seen them a thousand times.

Soon, the President will speak.
He will have something to say about bombs
and freedom and our way of life.
I will turn the tv off. I always do.
Because I can't bear to look
at the monuments in his eyes.
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andres weinstein



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:04 pm

In “Walt Whitman’s Caution”, the author develops the idea of control over society by the government. In the poem, he warns “The States” about the dangers of being “fully enslaved” which leads to the loss of liberty, suggesting that you must think by yourself rather than conforming to the laws of society, otherwise your freedom will be lost forever.
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antonia sepulveda



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 8:28 pm

William Ernest Henley presents the idea that as oppresive as his surroundings may be he is able to overcome the harsh adversity in his poem "Invictus". It is understood that the poet expresses his discontent with the law in its attempt to restrict him, "How charged with punishment the scoll", Henley emphasizes such dissatisfaction by undermining the law by refering to it as "scroll" but personifies its unavoidable power by attribuing to it a strong authority,"charged with punishment."
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Cata Martinez



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:02 pm

In the poem "In loving memory" by Joanna Fuchs, she expresses her belief that every soldier fallen in battle should recieve honorable recognition. She holds high regard for military forces, for a soldier is one "who is cut above the rest of us", meaning they are at a higher level. This shows a strong sense of patriotism, as she tra. nsforms each individual soldier into a hero, a man who had the "surpassing courage" and "uncommon strength" to fight his enemies.
The way she describes soldiers reflects her supporting of war. For her, war is a noble thing, it's the greatest sacrifice they can make for the sake of all of those who are dear to them, and their country, as she justifies their actions and praises their death.
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josefina bendersky



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:09 pm

"Incitement To Disobedience" by Tom Early is an anti-war poem, and the main idea the writer wants his poem to be focused on, is expressed in the line "For wars will cease when men refuse to fight.". Early uses the technique of repetition, as this line appears several times through the poem, which emphasizes its importance. The meaning of it is clearly and simply expressed; the poet states that many people want peace in this world, but when a war comes and soldiers are called to battle, they simply obey, and not refuse. The poet is proposing a solution for the end of all wars; men declining their 'invitation' to fight, so there will be no soldiers to develop the battles.


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Tomás Gothe



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PostSubject: Nefarious War by Li Po   Sun Aug 01, 2010 9:47 pm

In his poem "Nefarious War" the author Li Po speaks reproachingly about a war in which he was forced to participate as a soldier. He comments on how he will only remember the suffering and fighting that took place during those years of his life, having accomplished nothing positive at all. He states that a civillized man would never enjoy the fighting as it is a barbarian act: "The barbarian does man-slaughter for plowing".

Also Li Po believes that war is not a natural thing, something that should never take place. He says the horses look out of place in the battlefield and personifies them by saying they are pleading to the "heavens" for mercy. The skulls and bones in the sandy beaches also look out of place and the war seems to drag on endlessly as the bonfires which never go out. All of this has accomplished absolutely nothing according to Li Po, the general's efforts have been futile.

This is a link to the poem [You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]

Tomás Gothe drunken
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emily lynch



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:00 pm

Sir, this is Francisca Kupfer's homework. She couldn't post it herself on the forum so I'm doing it for her:

James Brown - It's A Man's Man's Man's World Lyrics

This is a man's world, this is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

You see, man made the cars to take us over the road
Man made the trains to carry heavy loads
Man made electric light to take us out of the dark
Man made the boat for the water, like Noah made the ark

This is a man's, a man's, a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

Man thinks about a little baby girls and a baby boys
Man makes then happy 'cause man makes them toys
And after man has made everything, everything he can
You know that man makes money to buy from other man

This is a man's world
But it wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl

He's lost in the wilderness
He's lost in bitterness
He’s lost


This song is about appreciating the crucial role of woman in a world that seems to be completely ruled by men. What the author of this song is trying to express is that even though men have from the beginning of times adapted a superior position over woman because of a record of male chauvinism in history, men would be nothing without the foundations of sensible female guidance. The songwriter lists the countless man-made inventions that revolutionized the world, such as cars, trains, electricity and boats. He also comments on men bringing home the money. But Brown makes clear that all of this ‘wouldn't be nothing, nothing without a woman or a girl’, and states that men are in fact ‘lost’. He wants us to realize the significance of woman in society, as it is constantly shadowed and unnoticed by this achievements made by men.
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pascualcme



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:02 pm

The song "Buffalo Soldier" written by Bob Marley and Noel G. "King Sporty" Williams. Makes close reference to the sociopolitical oppression afro-americans and native americans have been put through. In this song, "Buffalo soldiers, refers to a group of black cavalry fighters who where mostly afro-american slaves. They where sent by the "civilized" white americans to conquer and rid the West of indians. This also shows how black men in america have helped in expanding and building a country who has oppressed them throughout history.



Quote :
Buffalo soldier, dreadlock rasta
There was a buffalo soldier in the heart of America
Stolen from Africa, brought to America
Fighting on arrival, fighting for survival

.....

I'm just a buffalo soldier in the heart of America
Stolen from Africa, brought to America
Said he was fighting on arrival, fighting for survival
Said he was a buffalo soldier, win the war for America
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alexandra esnouf



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:04 am

In the poem "Soldiers Ghost" by Mark R Slaughter, a bitter and aggresive tone is clearly reflected. In the poem, Slaughter seems to be doubting his participation in the war and what he did, purely beause he knows there were many other compatriates out there that did not get invloved. Therefore, we can believe that he was jealous of them, for not getting onvoled in the wa. Consequently to that, we can infere that Slaughter fought in the war to purely follow the protocol and not because he was madly convinced by the reason of it. This demonstrates that Slaughter only came to sense with hinself and thought over the matter after having participated, and is now left with anger, confusion and regret to deal with.
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teresita eyzaguirre



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PostSubject: Re: Weekly Task One: Poets and social commentary   Mon Aug 02, 2010 12:26 am

In the song "Heal the World" written by Michael Jackson, it is shown that the progressive destruction of the world is only to be blamed to us humans, therefore, the author's ultimate message in the song is to abolish peolpe's obliviousness to how important their role is in "making a better place". The song also depicts themes such as poverty and death, and how again, it is only us humans that can help. The author manages to gain people's attention through his direct speech, as if talking directly to "you", shown in phrases such as "there are ways to get there if you care enough for the living", ergo, it is left in humans hands to redeem what they have done to The Earth.
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