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so a few weeks ago, i saw this national poetry day competition on twitter. the challenge was to “submit a free write Haiku on any topic” where “the most creative and intriguing Haiku will win.” i typically don’t write haiku but i decided to give the contest a shot anyway. lo and behold, i won.
below is the winning poem + the usual background for this series. to show how much thought that can go into the smallest of poetic packages, i went a bit more in-depth with breaking it down. feel free to share any comments or questions.
“How does war make peace?”
“Kill noise and you sip bloody
silence. Winter bliss.”
this poem started out as something i wrote a few years called “conversation on war and peace”:
war make peace? Well,
if one side kills all the noise, all
you’ll have left is
looking back on it, it’s not that great of a poem. still, it touched on something that i was still interested in so i decided to flush it out for the contest.
– the title: i was thinking about going with something like “ask your favorite dictator!” (direct but silly) before settling on “dear leader.” reading it as a letter/question intro sets up the poem’s dialogue between an inquirer and the political leader. “dear leader” was also a name for the former north korean dictator kim jong-il.
– “how does war make peace?”: i wanted to keep this from the original since it inspired me writing the poem. luckily, it fit the five-syllable requirement for the first line. within the poem, the question is asked of the political leader while extending to anybody else who might miss (or ignore) the clear conflict in using violence to produce peace.
– “kill noise”: the leader’s response plays on the different connotations of the word “peace.” using “noise” speaks to the sonic quality of peace. closer to the question’s political intentions, noise here represents any people/ideas that are a disturbance the leader’s notion of social serenity. equating war to simply “killing noise” shows how the leader downplays the costly casualties of strife.
– “sip bloody silence”: the enjambment in the middle of the phrase helped with the syllable count for the 2nd and 3rd lines while adding some sinister imagery to the first clause’s violence. as you see, the noise killing isn’t just something that the leader does out of the necessity. this leader enjoys it. focusing on “bloody silence,” there’s the direct link that the silence comes from bloodshed. moreover, applying the more vulgar form of “bloody” says that peace resulting from violence isn’t as pure or simple as the leader might want you to believe.
– “winter bliss”: i read somewhere that classic haiku often refer to the seasons and winter’s my favorite (rather be cold than hot, snow!, the feeling after bundling up, seeing your breath, etc.). more related to the poem though, with winter there’s an absence of life due to death, migration and hibernation. similarly, the leader finds bliss in killing off his/her opposition (death), which may force/scare others to flee (migration) or stay in suppressed silence (hibernation).
update: you can also find this poem in wordjar’s “haiku” anthology.
© Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this poem without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carlton Williams Jr. and atolemdro with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.
earlier this month, congress’s fair sentencing act went into effect, reducing “the 100-to-1 disparity between minimum sentences for crack and powder cocaine to 18 to 1.” the documentary “planet rock” explores what created that large inequality in the first place and why there’s still more work to be done. synopsis via vh1:
Narrated and executive produced by Ice-T, “Planet Rock: The Story of Hip Hop and the Crack Generation” is the first documentary to focus specifically on the connections between crack and hip-hop. Based primarily on the first-person accounts of four famous dealers-turned-rappers, the film also widens its lens at points to show how crack changed America culturally, socially and politically. Using rare footage, photos, and animation, all set to the beats and rhymes of the iconic hip hop tracks of the day, the documentary explores how media hysteria, racism and political reaction produced policies and laws that have left us with the largest — and most disproportionately African-American — prison population in the world.
yesterday, rep. joe crowley (d-ny) delivered this unspoken word performance on the house floor. and who says cspan is boring?
this month, president obama proposed a 3.7 trillion dollar budget for 2011. ny times breaks down it in a nifty infographic. it not only gives an idea where the money will be spent, but it also highlights changes from last year’s budget. check it out here.
president obama sat down for an interview with bill o’reilly and fox news. at times, the president was on auto-pilot with stock answers and bill flashed some of his trademark abrasiveness, but overall, it was a good exchange. in part one (which aired before the super bowl), they run through relevant topics like the civil unrest in egypt and health care in america but also touch on obama’s experience as president of united states. check after the jump for part 2, which aired the next night on the o’reilly factor. in it, they cover the war in afghanistan, fixing the american economy, the need for civility in the media and president obama’s opinion of fox news.
thedailybeast.com got together with 24 macarthur genius fellows to rank the people whose innovations will most “define the technological, scientific, and social milieu of the decade.” their criteria:
• flashes of brilliance that occurred or came to a head in 2010
• intelligence in action
• overall smarts
pictured above is a sample of their picks (from left to right): “the grandmother of performance art” marina abramović, daily show host jon stewart, education wonder woman michelle rhee, and music superstar kanye west. check out the full list below (ima be on it next year #newyearsresolution).