On March 15th I went to the Maud Casey reading in the 4th floor programming room. Maud Casey is a professor at the University of Maryland and has written the novels Genealogy and The shape of things to come, as well as a collection of stories, Drastic. Although I found her presence and enthusiasm rather dull, I did enjoy the excerpts that she read from her novel Genealogy. While listening to her read, I could tell that she does a thorough job at capturing family madness, love, and loss. She also incorporates a sense of humor applies it to the details of everyday life. The novel is incredibly real and I personally felt that the truthfulness of it is what made Genealogy so intriguing to listen to.
I enjoyed the poem “Directions for Resisting the SAT” by Richard Hague because I felt like the SAT’s were absolutely awful. I even met with a private tutor once a week to try to improve on the SAT shortcuts and quirks that would increase my score. This poem is very literal, but at the same time hints at things only people who have taken the SAT’s would be able to pick up on. Also, the structure of the poem almost mimics the SAT’s. When it says “Go down with the ship – any ship” it means stay true to each decision that you make because your decisions are what will determine the outcome. The tedious directions and exercises pull you away from who you are so it is important to “live whole”, and “listen to no one.” The line that says “Make your marks on everything” stands by itself and is the last line in the poem. This structure and phrase mocks the “DO NOT MAKE ANY MARKS” directions that are repeated continuously on the answer sheet. This poem basically tells the readers to stand true to themselves and be proud of what they know they are capable of, not the score that they receive from some stupid test.
The poem “First Practice” by Gary Gildner tells the story of a coach speaking to his team at the beginning of the season and letting them know his expectations. The first stanza is the coach telling them whom he is and what he stands for, then the second stanza is the acceptance from his players. The coach was previously in the army and believes that “dogs eat dogs” and hates to loose. He teaches the boys that they need to fight for what they want and what they wish to accomplish. In the end of the poem, he has each of them face each other and prove that they have the drive to win. By doing this, they will realize that in order to win as a team; they must first have the drive within themselves. This reminds me of dance when my classmates and I had to work together to prepare our routine. Before everyone works together and produces a beautiful dance, each individual must have determination and be aware of the desired outcome.
“A Father”, written by Baharti Mukherjee, tells the story of an Indian family that moves to the states. Without support from the government, Mr.Bhowmick struggles for years. He beliefs lie within his traditional practice of Kali-Mata. His wife and daughter begin to think that he was praying too much: “He wasn’t praying, she nagged; he was shutting her out of his life.”(Mukherjee, 907) The truth is he wasn’t praying “too much”, his wife and daughter were beginning to become Americanized and let go of their Indian traditions. In the end, the story takes a shocking turn when he attempts to injure or kill the baby in his daughter’s stomach. Throughout the story, we see Mr.Bhowmick’s reaction to his daughter’s pregnancy and are aware of how excited he is to see his grandson crawling towards him. When he finds out that a sperm donor, American technology, created the baby he goes into a rage, possibly killing his future grandchild.
“Serving Up Hope” was a truly inspiring story about a couple who provided recovering drug addicts such as Tyrone Lewis and Jennifer Brock a preface back into society. By giving them the opportunity to work at their deli, they were able to start fresh and begin to put their drug-addicted lives behind them. The reason that this story touched me is because I have a cousin who has been in and out of jail numerous times because of his addiction to drugs. Although he continues to disappoint his family, we know that by offering him our support and showing that we care, we will help him get one step closer to the drug free life he has always hoped for. The encouragement from the Sampsons and well as the love and support my family has given Chris, has shown me that everyone deserves a second chance; it just takes an immense amount of care and determination.