In-Depth Post Number Three

Alright before we begin I’d like to thank Shaw internet for the stellar internet I have been getting this weekend and today, and for getting my blog post out like three days late. So here we go.

We have been working some more on reading and beginning to appreciate poetry. Format and form are being taken note of and we are discussing the virtues of different types of poetry. Hopefully soon we can continue to some actual writing, but immersion is good for setting me up for success in my writing.

4. Our mentor relationship, being long-distance, has inevitably gotten a little rocky. Whether through the fault of the aforementioned Shaw internet, or the always reliable Yahoo email, or some issue on my mentors end, I haven’t gotten through to Bay for a while. It’s a logistical problem that I did expect but didn’t really plan or prevent for it.

2b. Our interactions started fairly formally, with introductions and such, all nicely spelled and formatted. We’ve started to become more colloquial in communication however and I think that’s a good thing. With formalities out of the way, we can more easily get on to what’s really important, and that’s the poetry.

5. My three strategies for improving mentor interactions are both logistical and educational. A different method of communication may be beneficial, such as Skype to better communicate with my mentor. A second strategy would be on my part, to ask more questions and take some ownership in interactions with my mentor to enrich my experience. A third would be to take some initiative outside of my mentor’s advice and read and discuss poetry as often as I can.

I realize I’ve not made much headway, but I’m doing everything I can to make week 8 a more fruitful fortnight.

 

 

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Document of Learning – The Puritans, History, and The Holy Bible

 

The thought came to me while Mr. Jackson was talking about the criteria for the project. Not the holiest of ideas but I’m probably damned anyway – so I figured I’d go for it. With total certainty now, I decided I was going to chop up a bible.

I went home and found a bible in my basement. Don’t worry, it wasn’t nice and I don’t think (?) there was a curse inscribed in it. I brought it upstairs, then looked online. The search ‘controversial bible verses’ yielded some good results. I found an article describing the chapters where I could find words on genocide, rape, and even slavery, which was perfect. Something I never thought I would say about those things.

So I looked them up in the bible, and without further ado, I put them under the knife, cutting out the right verses. The next step, after I had them all out, was to mount them on something. A cue card nearby was conveniently placed, but also the right size. I pasted the verses together, making them say what I needed them to. After mounting, I finished off my project but taking a sharpie to some parts of it – effectively redacting the parts of the verses that weren’t in the message I was going for.

I snapped a picture, photoshopped it excessively, and here is the result:

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Sorry, that may be a little hard to read. But essentially, it is every section of a bible that mentioned controversial things that I could find.

My question was “How is the selection of bible verses by the Puritans to justify genocide, slavery etc. different from that of modern religious extremists?”

What I believe this represents is the justification of the Puritans in the 15 and 16 hundreds. They selected verses of the bibles that best fit their actions against the natives to justify actions against the natives, enslaving hundreds and killing thousands in the name of God. My question asks if this is somehow different than the cherry-picking of biblical lines by groups such as the Westboro Baptist Church to justify opposition to things such as homosexuality or foreign people in America.

The cutting and pasting of the verses for me indicates the picking and choosing that went on and still goes on throughout history, as well as the sharpie lines that effectively redact and eliminate words or phrases that do not fit with the actions. Additionally, I have cut out some independent words and pasted them together to form messages, such as in ‘striking eachother with their swords‘ I think this represents the use of two verses, likely from different chapters or possibly even from different testaments, put together as one to justify actions. An example of this is by the Westboro Baptist Church using both verses from the Titus chapter, and from the Matthew chapter to justify their picketing of the hilarious comedian Jeff Dunham. I’d link the post, but a) the URL (godhatesfags.com) is not something I want to blacken my blog with, and b) I’d hate for them to get the page views of you checking it out.

At any rate, I find many parallels between the Puritans and modern religious extremists, most of all their picking and choosing of bible verses to act as a shield of holiness. I believe the bible is not a get out of jail free card for anything, and that simply stating that you do it for religion is not protection for actions from genocide, to slavery, to being extremely homophobic.

In-Depth Post Number 2

I found a mentor, hooray! And in probably the last place you would expect.

Yes, reddit! I headed onto the r/poetry subreddit, which, for the uneducated, are categories. I made a post under the [poetry help] tag, explaining the project, telling them who I was, and finally asking for a mentor-ship. I was excited and nervous, hesitant yet sure that yes, yes this is how I would find my mentor. So I hit the big old blue submit button, and I waited.

My heart leaped as I saw the orange light beside my username – (1) New Comment. I scurried and very nearly killed my computer rushing to see what it was. However, waves of excitement were soon replaced by waves of disappointment. PoetryBot had graced my post with an automated comment.

All well. I closed the tab for a while and went off to do other things. Soon, however, I was back on reddit, praying for a response from a human or maybe just a semi-sentient robot.

What if I don’t find a mentor, master Skywalker?

And lo and behold, four new comments!

“Simon Cowell smiling? I thought it was just legend!”

I had three people offering to mentor me online, all very experienced with poetry, as well as one person offering feedback on a part time basis. I was so excited – I hadn’t really expected to get anything!

While all three of my potential mentors seemed great, one of them definitely stood out. Username PoetessBay, she boasts some amazing qualifications. She is a published poet, having two books of poems published and out in the world. She is also an editor for a poetry magazine – and a moderator on the poetry subreddit to boot! I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor short of Hemingway descending from the clouds.

So we have been talking over email. We are currently talking about form and different styles of poetry, and we’re looking at different poems to enforce these. I look forward to writing some poetry soon, but I want to know as much about as I can first. My mentor, who’s name is Bayleigh has shared some of her work with me, including a poem called Thin which you can read in it’s entirety here, an excerpt of which I will exit with:

Really, my ship, the body, 
came into the fire before 
the pain of it made sense, 
before the wood became 
  
heavy with flame and flame 
became mine. 

-Bayleigh Fraser