Monday, August 4, 2014

Memory and Our First Text, a poem

Where do we begin? I think where and, more importantly, how we begin this course is key.

In many ways, you should pay attention less to what I say and more to what I do. To what extent are my words and actions aligned?

I have chosen to begin this course with a poem. I stumbled on this poem over the summer when I was actively searching for poems that explored the idea of memory.

Associating history with memory appears to be a natural starting point.

As a group, some of us have better memories than others.

All of us, I am sure, can acknowledge the limits of our memories, as well as the power of memories.

When was the last time you stared at a photograph, wishing you could enter it, even if just for a moment.

The past is an idea. It is no longer, yet it shapes who we are, in ways that we are aware and, often, unaware.

As much as we might hope, our memories are incomplete and often inaccurate.

But if it is a loved one we are remembering or a cherished moment we are reflecting on, we hang on them.

Do we recognize that as we change so do our memories?

Memories are not like photos, fixed and unchanging.

They are more real and frequently less reliable.

The poem we have looked at was composed by a Ms. January O'Neil.  

I wonder when the thoughts in this poem first appeared in her mind. And where and when did she first compose this poem? Did she hand write it? Or type it? How many drafts did she complete before it took its current form?

Though we do not know the author, she is revealing herself to us through this poem. She may also be revealing details about the time period and society she is part of.

I picked a poem, such as this one, because I want us to think about the act of remembering, as well as the act of writing.

So much of what we do in this class is going to revolve around memory and the written word.

(The author reading her poem.)

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