Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Letting My Geek Flag Fly

By ned * Other ned Posts

When needing to create an on-demand poem, part of the allure of using the haiku form is a western affinity for the mystical arts of the east. Another attraction is a desire to let your geek flag fly as the band Tally Hall does in the song titled “Haiku” where all the lyrics are themselves haikus. Likely the biggest draw is the form’s rather brief 5-7-5 syllable structure, which appeases our need to be lazy. To truly make a haiku, though, your first two lines need to consist of two seemingly separate thoughts with the last line tying the ideas together. The delight is in juxtaposition. (5)

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Generating a hate/mildly-loathe relationship with the framework – most have struggled with composition, paragraph flow, and thesis and closings statements of the essay. Beating out caffeine, fried food from the JE Buttery, and my ability to procrastinate, essays are the number one reason for my college all-nighters. Unlike the lines and cadence of a poem, the essay is structurally defined by how you order paragraphs and sentences. The “five-paragraph essay” and its thesis statement, a rite of passage for every grade schooler, demonstrate how the paragraph and sentence are core to the form. The word “essay” derives from the French word meaning “to attempt.” This strikes me as appropriate. Perhaps not as elegant as a line of poetry, the paragraph and sentences allow for mental meandering – even when constrained by a strict structure. (7)

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Seeing Girl Talk sweat over his PC on stage, you realize that sampling music is no easy task – even if it pushes the boundaries of free speech. Danger Mouse’s "Grey Album" exemplifies this method by craftily combining the songs of Jay-Z’s “Black Album” and the Beatles “White Album.” The “mashup” assembles hooks, beats, and phonics from different songs to create “new” music. This genre is a product of the digital age because of both the equipment and the access to information it requires. Just as mixing rap and rock in music has proven successful, perhaps the mash-up thought process of combining seemingly different forms could be applied to other artistic disciplines. (5)

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