Poetry Memes

When given a list of words about the internet, I couldn’t help but underline the terms that stood out to me the most. There were quite a few words listed that I did not know, one being something I saw on different websites constantly.

What are memes? I’ve seen this term mentioned on Youtube, Deviantart, and almost always on Tumblr. I’ve had a general understanding of the term, but I always wanted to do more research, to understand the term more in depth.

I quickly looked up the word ‘meme’ to make sure that my previous understanding of it was accurate. Of course this website would be the first one to pop up… Regardless, I clicked the link because I was looking for a quick definition, nothing more. Apparently a meme, in general, is “an idea, behaviour or style that spreads from person to person within a culture.” In this case, I believe a culture would be the internet. This definition was not really the way I knew a meme, so I also looked up the term ‘internet meme’. After typing a quick definition search, I got what I was looking for. An Internet Meme is ‘used to describe a concept that spreads swiftly via the Internet’.

I always found internet memes to be a sort of inside joke that spreads and is repeated by those who ‘are in on it’.

Curious to see whether there were any poems relating to an internet meme, I quickly searched Google and came up with this.

Here is a poem written by a boyfriend to his girlfriend. He brings up a very common internet meme, Pokémon. I find it very funny and current, because I’m ‘in on the joke’. I know about the Topic mentioned because I’ve seen and read about it many times, as have many other people.

Seeing such a poetic twist on a modern topic made me wonder if other memes have been expressed through poetry. I plan to investigate further, and search for other appealing memes, hopefully about ‘trolling’ (if there is any out there… )

If not, I’ll write a witty sonnet about trolling myself. It’ll be ironic and hypocritical! >:D

An interesting Idea

I remember finding a silly poem on the bus, on the way to school. I didn’t really give it much thought, but now, here in writer’s craft, as we study poetry, that poem on the bus is all I can think about. It made me think about how simple it is for us to come across poetry nowadays, especially with our access to the internet. I remember how back in the days, we would have to look up poems through books and news papers. It was not available to us at our fingertips. We could not choose from a variety, but had to work with what was available in hand.
I remember being given a little assignment in grade 4 or 5 where we had to pick a ‘type’ of poem, and find an example. I chose ‘love’ and was lucky enough to find an example in a poetry book at the school library. Some of my other friends, unfortunately, were not as lucky. They struggled very much to find a poem about ‘life’ or ‘winter’, in their limited amount of resources.
I’ve realized now how lucky our generation is to have the works of such great poets and writers at our fingertips. We can simply search a theme, as silly as ‘maple tree’ and find amazing poems to complement it. John Clare wrote a great poem about the maple tree, which I immediately regret calling a silly theme.
I’ve always loved poetry, but never truly explored it with the internet. I only looked into when assigned to do so. I hope to use my free time and look up more poems no matter how ‘silly’ they might seem at the time. The internet is full of poems of every genre. Maybe I should put up my own poems and see if other people will research it.


Wanting to research a fun poetry style, I quickly went onto this site, and selected tongue-twister.
Already knowing quite a bit about tongue-twisters, but still wanting another person’s intake on the poetry style, I went to Wikipidea and had a quick read.
Apparently, a tongue-twister is a phrase that is designed to be difficult to say out loud properly, where mispronouncing or stuttering at certain words are quite common to hear.

They are usually used as word games, better known for their humorous outcomes, which many find amusing.

There are many types of tongue twisters, which surprised me, because I thought it was simply a hard-to-say phrase, nothing more. There are types of tongue-twisters that may rely on rapid alternation between similar but distinct phonemes, types that use a combination of alliteration and rhyme, and even kinds where the form of words or short phrases are repeated rapidly, thus making your tongue twist and turn, reaching for the correct pronunciation yet uttering something else completely.
I’m not going to lie, I spent most of my ‘research time’, looking up different examples of tongue-twisters, and trying them out myself. It’s amazing how many fun phrases are out there.
This website was full of many interesting phrases! I highly recommend you go check it out… but I warn you… you WILL be distracted for quite some time. I suggest you prioritize before going on this link. You will lose at least an hour of your precious time.
I have to admit though, reading a few of the more common tongue-twisters brought back a nostalgic feeling. I remember trying to do “she sells sea-shells” with my friend at recess instead of playing on the playground like “normal” kids.
I know what you’re thinking though, how can tongue-twisters be a poetic style? Quite simply; poetry comes in many styles, as long as you frame it as such.
Here’s a good example of a tongue-twister poem called “Mr Knott and Mr Watt on the Phone”
Who’s calling?
What’s your name?
Watt’s my name.
Yes, what is your name?
My name is John Watt.
John what?
… I’ll call on you this afternoon.
All right, are you Jones?
No, I’m Knott.
Will you tell me your name, then?
Will Knott.
Why not?
My name is Knott.
Not what?
Not Watt. Knott.
We know that this was a tongue-twister, but because I called it a poem, I labelled it as such that you looked to it as a poem. Cool eh?
After reading all these tongue-twisters, I have a strange urge to write a few of my own. I’m glad I chose this instead of a Haiku.

Michael Ondaatje. Poet?!

After reading ‘In The Skin of a Lion’, our English class was given a poem also written by the author, Michael Ondaatje. I was initially surprised to find out that he wrote poems as well. This assignment gives me the chance to research him a bit more, which I plan to take full advantage of!
After reading his biography on this website I learned quite a few interesting facts about Michael that I did not know before. For example, he did not start with poetry until in 1967, where he published “Dainty Monsters.” Also, he was born in Sri Lanka, moved to England, and finally came to Canada, where he gained his B.A at the University or Toronto, as well as his M.A at Queen’s University. Ondaatje published many poems and books in his time, his most famous work probably being “The English Patient”. It was fascinating to learn that Mr. Ondaatje gained a lot of his poetry and story ideas from looking at historical documentations, a great example of this being “In the Skin of a Lion”. This takes place in Toronto within the Macedonian immigrant community, which Ondaatje had relied heavily on historical documentation for inspiration before turning this novel into a fictional story.
When I first read this article, it made me wonder why Michael Ondaatje did not write about the life of Sri Lankan immigrants, but of Macedonians instead. Surely he had more information about Sri Lankans compared to another foreign minority. When my parents moved to Canada, they stayed close together with other Iranians, because together they could support each other financially and emotionally. It was at this point that I suddenly remembered that Michael Ondaatje first moved to England before following his brother to Canada. After further research, I found out that Ondaatje spent many months in the archives of the City of Toronto and researched newspapers of the era. *http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_the_Skin_of_a_Lion(The City of Toronto Archives, if you were wondering, holds records created by the City of Toronto government as well as the records of private groups and individuals.) Ondaatje took in this information, and implemented it into his book, which I found quite interesting.
When authors write about someone or something, they tend to relate it to their own lives. The fact that Ondaatje initially wrote “In the Skin of a Lion” about a life he read about, and not experienced, was quite interesting to me.
I hope to read more of Michael Ondaatje’s work, especially his poems. I’ll definitely look more into it next time I find myself grasping for something interesting to read.

Phyllis Webb: A Canadian Poet

Phyllis Webb was born in 1927, in Victoria, British Columbia. She attended the University of British Columbia as well as McGill University, earning herself the title of a Canadian ‘Writer and Poet’. She has published many collections of poetry, a well known one being “Wilson’s Bowl”. Although this book’s nomination was overlooked for a Governor General’s Award, many other famous Canadian poets went out of their way to collect money to award her with. In total, they collected $2,300, stating that “this gesture is a response to your whole body of work as well as to your presence as a touchstone of true good writing in Canada, which we all know is beyond awards and prizes”. They collected the money because they believed that she earned the award for her amazing writing.

Phyllis Webb had a few different kinds of careers, teaching being one of them. She taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria, and the Banff Centre. She also worked for CBC ‘s radio program “Ideas”, where she displayed and discussed many of her thoughts with other broadcasters. This is an audio link of the program, where she is the topic on her own “Ideas”. It’s quite interesting to listen to. Her life is slowly unraveled in this audio recording, and we are given a better idea of who she is and how her poems were influenced by her life.

An example would be around the middle of her career. Phyllis Webb was dramatically influenced by the impact of feminism. Her broadcasts, poems, and writings were where she responded to ageing, death, and despair. One of her colleagues squarely states that Ms. Webb’s poem were always questions. Instead of giving people a pronouncement, a place that’s closed, she asked questions. These questions were never claiming an idea to be correct or incorrect. Her questions were neutral and inspiring, as was she as a person. We are lucky to have such an amazing poet, Phyllis Webb here in Canada with us.

A Poem for Poems

At first, I thought poetry was something structured.
You needed stanzas, rhymes, and the proper amount of syllables in order to make it
But every time I read a poem with these characteristics,
the words did not seem to flow, but rather
It sounded forced.
The emotion was there, but it was hard to find expression.
It was as though the poem was being read in a monotone voice.

Poetry should contain feeling and expression.
It should have meaning, but more importantly, it should make you think.
By that, I mean the readers should know that they are reading a poem.
I’ve come to learn that any language can be poetry if properly framed.
In a book, a passage would simply be considered a passage.
But in a poetry book, a passage is considered a poem.
The readers are aware that it is a poem,
And therefore analyze it as a poem.

In conclusion,
Poetry is all around us as long as we are aware of it, and looking for it.
In fact,
If I portray this investigation as a poem, I’m sure you,
The reader,
Would read it as such.

Famous Sounds

While scrolling down for sound ideas, I came across something titled ‘Famous Sounds’. Curious to see what sounds were hiding under this link, I clicked with vigor!

There was a list of sounds to choose from, so I chose what I thought sounded like something I normally wouldn’t pay attention to, even though it was a sound that I could easily make. I chose Korg M1 Pole, which is the sound recording of Kim Aikin tapping a metal pole.

This recording was very interesting to listen to. The sound of the metal pole was a long sound that dragged on. Each sound clip made a distinct ‘ding’ sound, although the pitch would range from very high to very low.

Upon further research, I discovered that “Korg M1 Pole”, as well as the many other links, are sounds that were used by one person, liked, and reused many times by other people, thus ending up being considered a classic sound.

This struck me as an interesting comment because it never occurred to me that people reused others’ sound ideas for their own music. I immediately began listening closely to my own music, catching little sound effects that might have been used in other songs. I now understand why people complain about a song sounding the same as another one. It probably is.
I am personally glad to have discovered this link before my other sound assignment was due. I now know that I do not have to think up every little sound bit up from scratch, but rather take one already made and tweak it a little to fit my preferences.
I cannot wait to explore different sound ideas and learn how to apply them into music!

Static Language Sampler

While doing this assignment, I came across a system in the Language Removal Services website labeled “Static Language Sampler”. Unsure what the sampler did, I decided to listen to Marilyn Monroe’s audio. This piece was kind of awkward to listen to, because it just sounded like a woman moaning and taking in deep breaths… So of course I’m going to post the link for you guys to listen to with me. Here ya go ;D

I assume that the static language sampler only detects the sound of static. Its sounds as though they took clips of interviews or audio recordings of Marilyn talking, and only documented the very beginning or ending of her speech, where the most ‘static’ would occur.

This piece intrigued me in the sense that static was not the only thing I heard. The title of this program led me to believe that I would hear nothing but static, but Marilyn Monroe’s voice did not go unheard. At first, there was indeed nothing but ‘static’, but throughout the duration of the audio, her voice did escape quite a few times.

This discovery made me think about the way we talk. Do we vocalize as we inhale? Or do we just inhale so fast that by the time we’re talking, the intake (or static noise) we’ve created goes unheard- making it sound like we’ve begun talking instantly?

This audio actually made me think about punctuation. I tend to write more with comma’s then periods, resulting is a lot of ‘inhalation’. Marilyn Monroe has subconsciously helped me shorten my sentences to help it flow better.

It’s a shame you wont see these sentence structure improvements any time soon.

The Long Count

When first listening to The Long Count, I was honestly waiting for some sort of animated vocalization to occur. I, of course, was wrong. This piece contains what seems to be the panting of men, as well as their inhalation of breath before beginning to talk. This site, in which I received the audio from, had a bit of information written about whose voices these were.

The voices were apparently of Sonny Liston, Muhammad Ali, George Foreman and Joe Frazier. These men were boxers, which lead me to wonder if the audio clips were taken of them talking, or boxing. I concluded that it was of both.

After further investigation on The Long Count, I found out that ‘The Long Count’ was actually a famous boxing rematch between world Heavyweight champion Gene Tunney and former champion Jack Dempsey, where new rules regarding knockdowns were initiated. One of these new rules included giving the fallen fighter 10 seconds to get back up on their own when knocked down.

The reason why I find this so interesting is because the audio seemed to follow this story a bit. At the beginning were the opponents, sizing each other up. Then followed the actual fighting before the knockdown occurred. Most of the audio’s panting was of the different boxers collaborated together, but at one point, there seemed only to be the panting of one person. I assumed that one person to be the one knocked down on the floor, struggling to get up.

This audio clip is actually very interesting to listen to if you know the background story.

Christian Bök

Christian Bök, in the opinion of many, including me, is an amazing Canadian poet. He published the book Eunoia in 2001, which was claimed to be “Canada’s best-selling poetry book ever.” I personally think is an appropriate title, seeing how it took him 7 years to write.

In this book, Christian uses only one vowel in each of its five chapters. In the book’s main part, each chapter used just a single vowel. In order to successfully write this book, Christian had to read the dictionary 5 times, compiling his own list of vocabulary words essential for his completion of the book.

Curious to learn more about what Mr. Bök was doing, I quickly went onto Youtube to see if he did any interviews. Low and behold, I found this.
While watching this video, Christian began talking about his new project the Xenotext Experiment. He was talking about genetic codes and poetry.

‘Ho- . . . what? ‘ (was my initial reaction to this news)

Once again, driven by curiosity, I quickly googled his experiment, and came up with this link. Apparently, Mr. Bök plans to create a poem in the form of a genetic sequence and insert it into a strain of bacteria. This bacterium will not only carry that sequence around with it, but give us the opportunity to reclaim that sequence and decipher its meaning. Bök also intends to have this encoded poem be a set of instructions that will allow the organism to build a protein, where yet another original poem can be found. Christian Bök basically gives a bacterium a poem and receives one back in response. Cool right?

I’ve got to say, this Canadian poet is very different from the others. Yes, he is clever and witty and comes up with amazing poems, just like many other poets, but there is something relatively different from his work, if we were to compare. Christian seems to take on huge challenges that others would quickly disregard or label ‘too hard’.

His friends and fellow poets were probably a huge influence on him and his drive to do what he does. Micah Lexier, a Canadian artist collaborated with Bök to produce this piece of art, that was displayed on a window of a store in Toronto.

I’ve said this at the beginning of this investigation, and I’ll say it again. Christian Bök is an amazing Canadian poet.

« Older entries