“Introduction” chapter in Songs of Gold Mountain

  1. You should be reading: i) the attachment of today’s email, and ii) the “Introduction” chapter in Songs of Gold Mountain.
  2. The class now focuses on Chinese American creative (literary), beginning with the early Chinatown poetry and rhymes. Before we go into the basics on poetry analysis,  perhaps, you can put some thoughts on what poetry is and how to do critical read on poetry. Here is an exercise and, if you respond by email next Tuesday (Feb 16), you may earn some brownie point to better your final grade. 
  3. What is the following poem all about? Why do you think that is what it is?  How do you analyze it to support your response(s) to this poem?
  4. Here is the poem:  
    There is no way to show it 
     No way to even break it or 
     Burn it or throw it away. 
     It is with me, and yet 
     There is nothing I can say 
     and nothing I can do that 
     Will make it work. 
    It is with me. 
    A fish swimming in silence 
    A fruit ripening on a tree 
    A bulging in the back of my mind 
    Like a fat insect caught on threads. 
    The title of the poem: “Threads”, authorship withheld here, so that you can read and critique this poem absolutely free of external bias (or what I call “information pollution”), i.e., I want you to trust your own instinct and initial reaction.  As literary critic I.A. Richards once said, in reading literary works, the reader’s initial response is the most genuine response. Of course, that should follow with: “how and why do I feel that way about this piece of writing?”
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