Archive for November 8, 2011

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. * 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.