Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wislawa Szymborska

Here is a brief bit of info on the Polish poet Wislawa Szymborska, writer of the poem "True Love," which we read in class.
Wislawa Szymborska was born in the town of Kornik in Poland, and made her first appearance as a poet with "I Am Looking for a Word" (or in her native language, "Szukam Slowa"). From 1953 to 1981 she worked as a poetry editor for a literary publishing in Krakow, Poland. She has published a total of 16 collections of poetry. She won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1996. Her other awards and honors include the Goethe Prize and the Herder Prize. 
The biography I found was very simplistic to say the least. However, I enjoyed her poem in class, so I will take it upon myself to look for a bit more information concerning her background. Any new information I find will be posted here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Robert Frost

Here is a bit of information on the classic American poet Robert Frost, whose poems we read in class and I quite enjoyed.
Robert Frost was born in San Francisco (a little contrary to his homey descriptions of nature...) in 1874. We can see his roots in literature early on, as his father was a journalist. When his father died, he moved with his mother to Massachusetts, where he attended Lawrence High School and met his future wife, Elinor White. In 1892 he enrolled in Dartmouth College, and dropped out shortly thereafter. In 1894, he sold his first poem to a New York magazine, and he married Elinor in 1895. He enrolled in Harvard in 1897, stayed for two years, then dropped out and moved onto a farm in Massachusetts. He met with hard times as a farmer, and subsequently began teaching. During this time, he had six children, two of whom died at an early age. In 1913, after moving to Beaconsfield, England a year before, he published his first book of poems, A Boy's Will. In 1915, because of World War I, he was forced to move back to America, and took up residence in New York City. He then proceeded to purchase a farm in New Hampshire. In 1924, he wrote his first of four Pulitzer prize winning books, New Hampshire. After a few more successful books, tragedy struck; his daughter Marjorie died of puerperal fever in 1934, and his wife Elinor died of a heart attack in 1938. He himself died of a series of embolisms coupled with a heart attack while receiving surgery on his prostate in 1963. 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Earworms (Songs stuck in your head, not anything gross.)

Okay, for the record, I am terrible at writing about whatever is on my mind, because no matter how far my mind wanders, it usually doesn't approach any subject of interests. 
Recently I've been reading the book Musicophilia by Oliver Sacks. Sacks is a psychologist, and the book recounts the many strange cases of music and the mind that he has experienced throughout his career. One chapter in the book was about earworms, the little songs that get stuck in your head. While for most people they can merely be annoyances, to some with certain conditions they are unbearable. Occasionally, mine are unbearable, because occasionally, like today, I will get several songs stuck in my head at once that do not go together at all. Throughout the course of my day, more songs got stuck in my head until it felt like someone had left several stereos blaring somewhere out of sight. While walking to class this morning, Bob Dylan's "Tangled Up In Blue" was steadily going in my head. Around lunch, "Yesterday", a short acoustic ballad by the Beatles, and the theme song from The Office joined in. You can imagine how badly these things mixed. Occasionally, during my final class, Opeth or Porcupine Tree would make a brief appearance. When I got home, I added 3 David Bowie songs to my internal playlist; "Space Oddity," "Life on Mars?," and "Ziggy Stardust." Even as I write this, "Happiness is a Warm Gun" and "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" by the Beatles are joining in. So let's just count the genres here; we have 60's rock, folk, space rock, death metal, 70's glam, and whatever the theme from The Office is, all rolled into one. Makes my head hurt a bit. 

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Blogs I've read.

As part of my assignment, I looked up two blogs online, hoping that they would be interesting enough to write on. To some degree they were. The first was located at, and was just a general blog about music. It's purpose was not really to attack any kind, but just to generally talk about interesting music, mostly within the Indie genre. Opinion was present, but that's to be expected when dealing with music.
The second blog I read was a Myspace blog of my friend's which I unfortunately cannot link to since it is a private profile. The title is "The 'Reset' Button", and it describes a method of regaining control over oneself during times of great stress and turmoil, basically involving dropping everything remotely stressful for a couple of days and doing whatever feels right to you within rational bounds, while of course being fully prepared to face the consequences of shirking one's responsibilities for a couple of days. Despite that small flaw, I have full faith in the practice, having done it before. The purpose of this blog was merely to suggest an idea. But yeah, that's it for post number 1.