Monday, May 16, 2016

Greetings 05.16.16


Almost there.
So close.
We got this.

I'm gonna go on a few road trips I think, movement always feels somewhat cleansing. First one cross country in an old Volvo my friend Danny bought in San Francisco. I love the kind of blue it is, I'm excited. What are you all up to this summer?


Junction Function Tuesday, very soon. We've accomplished a great deal and we have so much to look forward to. We deserve to celebrate our time and efforts and to welcome whatever comes next in the company of friends. Congratulations to us.

Love,
Alec

Poem of the Week 5.16.16


Something Old, Something New

Summer means something different for all of us: for some, it's freedom and relaxation now that school is out, for others it means getting a job or an internship, still others are studying abroad in far away places. Regardless of where we go or what we do in the summer, however, I think all of us can remember at least one strange, dreamlike, perfect summer day. And, like most feelings, there's a Sylvia Plath poem for that:


I really love this poem--I love her diction, the alliteration, the painting and almost fantastic imagery--but most of all, I love the feeling it gives me. It reminds me of the endless quality of a summer day, the way that twilight seems to hang in the air for hours and the slow bleed of day into night into day. Summer always seems to last forever (for better or for worse), suspended in time like a painting, but when it does finally come to close it seems that everything has happened too quickly. 

Poetry that is powerful and evocative like Plath's always reminds me of what poetry can do. Modern publishing is so weary of poetry, and I often hear people saying that 'no one cares about poetry anymore.' I hope that's not true, and I don't think it is. 

To keep everyone reading this summer, I've compiled a list of new and extremely buzzed poetry collections that I think will be perfect for this summer. I think poetry can work for everyone, whether you have time to read a whole book in a day, or just a few minutes for a poem or two between responsibilities. 

Look by Solmaz Sharif (Graywolf Press)
Rapture by Sjohnna McCray (Graywolf Press)
Shallcross by C.D.Wright (Copper Canyon Press)
Collected Poems 1950-2012 by Adrienne Rich (with a forward by Claudia Rankine) (Norton)

Happy Reading,
Rachel

Currently Reading 5.16.2016

                                         
                  Summer Reading: From the Shelves of the English Major’s Counselors 

With Summer approaching, there are some of us - particularly Literature Majors - who schedule our summers with a dose of literary fare. Here at the English Major’s office, we sit down with one another and discuss what we are reading on a daily basis. Personally, I am often in awe whenever I hear each others experiences with books I have read - especially when they differ from mine. Sharing our personal experiences with common literature is not only a pre-requisite for being a Literature major (I say Literature major as an umbrella term here for majors that require heavy literary reading - say English, Comparative Literature, Creative Writing, etc.), but also a spiritual experience. Over the weekend, I discussed The Odyssey with my friend Sarah, which led to a discussion as to whether we preferred The Iliad over it. My response was visceral and preachy. Long story short, I take literature seriously. It’s a resource that fills a spiritual void in my life, and it gets me through life. Sometimes I feel I take it a bit too seriously, and it is great to see eyebrows raise from my fellow colleagues in the office whenever I hear any deficiencies in their literary repertoire; however, they have all read things and experienced things that I have not and I am forever grateful whenever I can discuss literature with them and others who are willing to talk books. 

With that, I leave you with The English Major’s Counseling Office’s Summer Reading List and their quips, wherever available:

Anna:

- The Collected Works of Carl Jüng 

- Anna Akhmatova’s Requiem and other poetry

- Joseph Brodsky


Lisa:

- In the Break by Fred Moten: its an amazing book about the relationship that Black people have to the musical tradition, he argues that Black people don't create music, but that the music is literally an extension of us, embedded in and reflects the complex experiences of a group of people connecting through rhythm #Diaspora #TheLanguageInThisBookisHardAsHell


-  The Signifying Monkey by Henry Louis Gates Jr.:  it's all about the importance of Black Vernacular and the culture embedded in it.

- Scenes of Subjection by Saidiya Hartman: this summer I will be working as her research assistant at Columbia University.


- Lastly I will be reading and re-reading my thesis "The Power and Strength of the Story Teller: Reproductions and Repetitions of Trauma in The Works of Patrick Chamoiseau." I am presenting my thesis at my first profession research conference as a graduate student in Haiti at the renowned CSA (Caribbean Studies Association). Some Brooklyn College professors are also presenting there this summer so I will try my best to steal all the ideas I can from my senior scholars.

Renee:

- The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan: I'm currently in the process of writing a post apocalyptic Young Adult novel, but I haven't read YA in a while (let alone post-apocalyptic/dystopian) so I want to read this book to see what it has in common with my vision, and what I can do to stay original.



Christian: 

- Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones: I heard from somewhere that it's nice. I don't quite recall where. I've been told it's different from the film. Also, it's nice to read a children's book after a semester full of large texts. :)

- 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami: I got a copy of it for Christmas and have been meaning to start it since. I last read the Wind-Up Bird Chronicle and fully enjoyed it and have planned on reading more Murakami.


- I also picked up Ramsey Scott's The Narco-Imaginary and plan on thumbing through it throughout the summer and I've also been meaning to read through some of Lovecraft's stuff and maybe reread Harry Potter.


Clinton:

Samguk Yusa by Il-yeon: It's a super old Korean text that is a compilation of stories of "Old Korea." It contains several of Korea's foundation myths, as well as historical accounts of events dating as far back as the 1200's. 


Luis:

- Silence by Shūsaku Endō: Soon to be a motion picture directed my Martin Scorsese, it tells the story of Portuguese Jesuit Priests in seventeenth century Japan enduring a period of the persecution of Japanese Christians. I have a fascination with the Kakure Kirishitan, as it is such a private, hidden culture in Japanese society. This book gives a glimpse of what led to the group’s inception.


- Horses, Horses, in the End the Light Remains Pure: A Tale That Begins with Fukushima by Hideo Furukawa: 3/11 is a date that will forever be imprinted into contemporary Japanese history. Its affects on its nuclear culture has yet to be seen and studied. What we have here is a panorama of sorts inspired by the Fukushima disaster, and it’s something that I continue to closely follow.



- God in Pink by Hasan Namir: This was a recommendation by my friend Nabil, who is Lebanese and, recently, out of the closet. I think it is incredibly brave to be out as a gay Muslim nowadays, having to bare the labels of two repressed and clashing minorities. It’s even braver to be gay and in the Middle East, especially in Iraq circa 2003, the setting of God and Pink. 




- I will also be cramming for the upcoming JLPT exams in the fall. I am taking the N1 exam, in hopes of becoming officially certified as fully proficient in Japanese. So, I guess, we can add the tons of JLPT-N1 textbooks I currently have stacked beside my bed. 
Professor Natov:


My summer reading will contain at least these 3 authors and these books:

- The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

- The Thin Man, Dashiell Hammett

- The Big Sleep, Raymond Chandler

- Strangers on a Train, Patricia Highsmith

- The Talented Mr. Ripley, Patricia Highsmith

So there you have it. The last Currently Reading for the year: a diverse list of what we are reading. So, what's on your list of summer reading?

-Luis

Currently Eating 5.16.16

Their Milkshake Brought This Boy to the Yard...


... And I'm like~~~
This tastes MAAAD GOOD!!!!!!! :D

Sooo... It's like getting all Summer-y, right?
Then...
... It's about that time.
For this thing that I do...

*cue dramatic story telling montage*

There's this thing that I do.

Every so often, I'll go to 16 Handles.



Most people go there for the frozen yogurt.
I am not most people! (Mwahaha Mwahahahaha... *evil laughter*)

Clinton goes to 16 handles for the cheesecake bites!
I roll up in there, take the smallest respectable modicum of frozen yogurt possible, then FILL THE ENTIRE BOWL with cheesecake bites~~~ YUM!!!
*gains ten pounds just thinking about the sheer deliciousness*

Sooo...
Here's what happened:

Some time last week, I was headed towards 16 Handles, and then I spied with my littles eye a LONG @SS LINE~~~ MAD bodies!!!
And so I kept on walking... internally weeping at the Hellish, cheesecake bite- less monstrosity that my life had become...

*cue super sad Sarah McLachlan music... is that redundant..? Has this lady EVER made a HAPPY song??? Like seriously!!! >_>...*

ANYWAY...

16 Handles had betrayed me...
Lonely...
Disenfranchised...
Healthy...

I trudged my way along down the street... Then, a new HOPE appeared...


Chelsea Milk

*cue superfast Super Mario Bros. theme music [like when you're running out of time, and the music is all like "Come no man! Redyeye like...  Leff di coin den fi one next time! Gwan go jump pon Koopa head before him kill off di Princess! Coulda bright... Yuh too nuff!!! >_>]* ~~~> That's how fast I ran up in there!!!

UNFORTUNATELY...
They don't have cheesecake bites at Milk... ;(:::...

HOWEVER...
They have a lot of other super cool stuff!!! :D

I haven't tried everything yet (Not that I plan to... *hehe*), but here's what's awesome!

At Milk, they have this cereal milk flavor thingy going on.
You know like when you finish eating your cereal, and you have all that super cool, super awesome, super delicious cereal- infused milk left in the bowl??? That's totally a flavor!

They also have a bunch of different toppings... Everything from cornflakes to chocolate chips and beyond!

I suggest the fruity cereal milk flavored milkshake!

AND I suggest trying the soft serve ice cream swirl, which is half regular cereal milk flavor/ half fruity cereal milk flavor. *yum yum yum yum yum DELICIOSO!*


Also, there are these cool "innovative" cookie options! ~~~
I (once again) suggest the corn cookie. It's like... Part corn bread. Part cookie. Part HEAVEN.

At Milk, there are so many different ice creams and milkshakes and cookies and pies and cakes-- 

*Cake, cake, cake, cake,
Cake, cake, cake, cake,
Cake, cake, cake, cake,
Cake, cake, cake
Ooh baby, I like it
You so excited
Don't try to hide it
Imma make you my---*
Oops! It's not that kind of party on the Boylan Blog!!!

ANYWAY...So many different sweet treats! Check them out!!!


Dude... If they ever get cheesecake bites, I am sooo moving in! ENJOY!!! :D

P.S.

It looks like this Milk place has totally been a thing for a while now...
Unfortunately, as with most things regarding popular culture, I didn't know about this until like... yesterday. :(

I sure hope you didn't just waste your life reading this... :D

P.S. P.S.

It has been a seriously ridiculously awesome pleasure blogging this semester! :D
I hope everyone has a super duper crazy wild awesome LIT  (LIT as in LITerary, of course! :)) SUMMER VACATION!!! WOOOOOO!!!!!!

See you guys next semester!!!

~ Clinton out---

Currently Watching 5.16.16


Summer is near, which means warm weather, trips to the farmer's market, and free time! And if there's anything I need after this crazy semester, it's free time. I have big plans for the summer. No, I'm not leaving the country, or going on a road trip. I'm going to stay in NYC. In my home. In my bed.
Relaxing.
I mean, of course I'll leave the house often, since I will have time to do things I love, like exercise and write and buy food and cook. But the most precious thing about vacation will be the opportunity to just do nothing.
Part of me is scared that after being so busy for so long, I don't even know how to relax. The rest of me, though, is excited for movies and binge watching.

I have a lot of shows to look forward to watching without guilt or worry that I'm using my time unwisely.
For instance - there's the rest of Orphan Black's current season, season 2 of Mr.Robot, and season 4 of Orange is the New Black. There are shows I've heard so much about over the past year but never had time to watch, like Jessica Jones and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

And then there are movies that everyone has seen but I haven't, because I have become a human comprised of 80% busy and 20% recluse, using all of my free time to sleep or scroll through Instagram. 

This summer, I'll finally watch Captain America: Civil War (except I still have yet to watch Winter Soldier, kill me), and maybe even waste my time watching Batman vs. Superman. I'm definitely going to watch X-men: Apocalypse because I've been waiting for that, but I'm also gonna watch The Lobster and Sun Choke, which I found out about through watching trailers on IMDb.

I'm going to watch reruns of Inuyasha and Sailor Moon for nostalgia. I'll watch old episodes of How to Get Away with Murder with my friends who haven't watched it yet, holding my tongue because I know what happens next, but wanting to scream because I missed so many signs the first time around. 

I will stay up way too late. Flip my sleep schedule upside down so I end up watching the sun rise while I lay to sleep. I'll watch myself grow as a writer, grow stronger in the gym, grow into a better cook. I will watch over my new nephew and new niece because I won't be the only one in need of relaxation this summer. I'll ride the ferry back and forth and watch the sunset, the water, the boats, the people. I'll watch myself climb out of the pit I've been in and genuinely smile more. And in the end, I'll watch the summer go by way too fast, probably wondering by the end of August where my days disappeared to.

Currently Listening 5.16.16



Summer's almost here, even if it doesn't feel like it and it's got me thinking about free time. "Free time" has become so foreign of a concept to me that I couldn't remember if it were a compound word or not. Also, my free time and my not so free time look a lot alike because they both seem to be spent writing, only differing in the rate and the content and whether I bother to correct comma splices. I love my own comma splices. 

A couple of weeks ago Prof. Natov asked us interns what kind of music our parents listened to and I didn't answer then because I couldn't remember my parents listening to music when I was a kid. I'm sure they must have, but when posed with the question, the answer escaped me. And then recently I was in a department store and this song came on and I remembered cars. I remembered my Dad's blue  Ford Explorer and my mom's black Mazda Miata and hopping out the backseat of one and going directly into the other, and that this one song would be on in both cars. Thanks to the power of Siri and the mystery of memory, I was able to find the song-- Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason."
According to iTunes, it was a pretty popular song in the summer of 1995, which would have made me three going on four years old, which also happened to be the first year of my parents' divorce, which would make that spotty image I had of being transferred, eerily accurate. 



So I kept digging. And although it probably would have been easier to just lookup Chapman's entire discography online, I wanted to know the specific songs or if it were just this one so I invaded my mother's iTunes library and went directly to her "Top Twenty Five Most Played," and low and behold there was another Chapman song sitting right there in the top spot: "Fast Car." This one was a little bit before my time, but still I felt that the song was somehow a parent to the type of stuff I like to write, even though I could have sworn I'd never heard it before. I know, I know, this is all very corny and bizarre but look at the lyrics:


                                                               "Fast Car"

You got a fast car
I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Any place is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
Me myself I got nothing to prove

You got a fast car
I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
Won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living

See my old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
His body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so we can fly away?
We gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way

So remember when we were driving driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
We go cruising, entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a bigger house and live in the suburbs

So remember when we were driving driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving

So remember when we were driving driving in your car
Speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
I had a feeling I could be someone, be someone, be someone

You got a fast car
Is it fast enough so you can fly away?
You gotta make a decision
Leave tonight or live and die this way




I don't know man, memory is weird. I found my self questioning my own authenticity after this, but I shortly let that go. Post modernism says nothing is new and I'm cool with that, or I'm fake-- an unaware copycat, and I'm cool with that too.

I'll be spending this summer preparing for the first year of my MFA, trying to be the best copycat I can be, and hoping to remember more songs that have somehow made their way into my stories, or not. Who knows?

-Chante

P.S Here's Fast Car:


Culture Corner 5.16.2016



For my last blog of the semester, I would like to share some of my summer plans as they relate to Culture Corner.  First of all, I'd like to announce that I will be graduating this semester (woohoo!) and I have A LOT of transition ahead of me in the very near future.  I will ultimately be moving out of state.  After calling NYC my home for the past five years, I am moving out west to begin "Volume II" of my existence.  Before this happens though, I will be in a state of utter suspension...a gypsy...a nomad, so to speak.  After leaving NYC in June, I will be going back to my native Florida for a couple of weeks (need a break!!).  Next, I will be joining the company "Carbony Celtic Winds" on a tour of some of Europe's world/folk music festivals as a vendor of hand-made musical instruments.

Carbony Celtic Winds, is a company founded by my friend Rob Gandara.  The company is based in Corvallis, Oregon (about an hour outside of Portland).  Rob received his engineering degree from the prestigious MIT, and was able to combine his talent for engineering with his love of Celtic/World music instruments.  As a result, he began manufacturing instruments made out of his unique recipe for carbon fiber, which he calls "Carbony."  Carbony is a patented and innovative wood-alternative that will not crack, break, rot, or warp as other instrument materials are prone to do.  You can read more about my friend's company here: carbony.com.

Carbony Celtic Winds booth featuring bagpipes and flutes
 in France, 2015.

We are set to fly into Brussels, Belgium and crash at a friend's place there for 2 nights.  After that, we will rent a car and drive into Germany to visit some of Rob's friends, as well as work at festival number one: "Rudolstadt."
The red pin is Rudolstadt's location ;)

The Rudolstadt Festival is reputed to be the largest World music festival in Europe.  It takes place from July 7-10, 2016 and along with working there as a vendor, I will be camping during the festival.  There is such HUGE diversity among the performers who are set to play at this festival.  Everything from Sitar-playing masters (Anoushka Shankar, who is Ravi Shankar's daughter), to Colombian bands will be there.  

People jamming at Rudolstadt

After Rudolstadt, we will pack up our stuff and drive from Germany through France - to a town called "La Châtre."  It is here that we will be vending at the Folk music festival "Le Son Continu," from July 14-17, 2016.  I will also be camping at this festival (god, help me! LOL). 
Location of La Châtre, France.

Now, the coolest part about "Le Son Continu" is that it takes place around a castle, namely, Château d'Ars.  Château d'Ars dates back to the fourteenth century!  **SIGH** I'm a sucker for French history - especially Medieval and Renaissance era :))).  (This must be a dream)  Anyway, Le Son Continu attracts a lot of folk artists and Bohemian people, so this should be "intéressant!" 


So here ya go folks!  These are some of my plans for summer vacation.  Wish me luck because I REALLY need to brush up on my French and German (Yikes!!!).

Au revoir!
Sheena