Perusing Poetics: End of the Poetics Journey

I started out this blog talking about the two different parts of me, and how they work together. I’m going to end it by talking about how they stand apart. Granted, I’m going to be focusing more on my Writing major, just because the Poetics is a Writing Department class, but trust me when I say that the point I’m about to make is applicable to my English major too.

Yes, this post is required as a final project. Yes, there are question guidelines. I’m about to do a very odd thing and copy them out for you (sorry Professor. I swear there’s a reason for this):

  1. What do you make and is it similar in any way to the art practices we’ve read and/or talked about in class?
  2. Why do you make it, and do you see your ideas aligning with or being similar to the “why” of anyone we have read and/or talked about in class?
  3. What is the relationship of language to what you make, and is this relationship in any way similar to anyone we have read and/or talked about in class?

Using your digital archive and ideas, address

  1. What are your influences and how have they influenced what you have made up to this point? Who or what do you admire in your field, and why? (Use videos, images, other archives, etc.)
  2. What do you aspire to create, and what have you learned or encountered in class (if anything) that may affect your processes going forward? (Note: this can be a negative effect. That is, “Now that I’ve seen how horribly wrong thing XYZ can go, I want to avoid that route…)
  3. What was the most influential/important reading and/or concept to your own processes of making?

You know what I’m absolutely sick of? Realizing there are two ways I want to answer these questions. Then realizing that one of them is just another story I’m afraid to tell.

“What I mean is that within the University there could exist a relationship with word, language, thought, tradition, and power that might run counter to the relationship a poet might want to have with word, language, thought, tradition and power.” – Sarah Vap, End of The Sentimental Journey

Recently, in my Renaissance Literature class, the professor asked us what we were going to be reading over the summer. My answer would have been Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Thorns and Roses. But I didn’t answer, because people starting saying “Milton” or “Absalom, Absalom.” My answer didn’t seem like it fit.

So, today, when I answer these questions, I’m not going to do any of us the disservice of lying or telling you half-truths. I’m going to tell you BOTH truths. I’m going to answer you from the

Academic

and from the

Personal

Bear with me.

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ARC Review: “Throne of Glass” by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass (Throne of Glass #1) by Sarah J. Maas

Goodreads | Amazon

After serving out a year of hard labor in the salt mines of Endovier for her crimes, 18-year-old assassin Celaena Sardothien is dragged before the Crown Prince. Prince Dorian offers her her freedom on one condition: she must act as his champion in a competition to find a new royal assassin.
Her opponents are men—thieves and assassins and warriors from across the empire, each sponsored by a member of the king’s council. If she beats her opponents in a series of eliminations, she’ll serve the kingdom for three years and then be granted her freedom.
Celaena finds her training sessions with the captain of the guard, Westfall, challenging and exhilarating. But she’s bored stiff by court life. Things get a little more interesting when the prince starts to show interest in her… but it’s the gruff Captain Westfall who seems to understand her best.
Then one of the other contestants turns up dead… quickly followed by another. Can Celaena figure out who the killer is before she becomes a victim? As the young assassin investigates, her search leads her to discover a greater destiny than she could possibly have imagined.

5 stars

This review is of an ARC received from NetGalley. You can pick up a copy for yourself on August 7, 2012.

There are few beautiful things in this world. This is one of them.

That right there was my ONLY Goodreads status update over more than 400 pages of reading. I read this in one day, in nearly one sitting. (It would have been one sitting if my dad hadn’t interrupted with things supposedly more important. There is nothing more important than this.) This book was impossible to put down right from the get-go.

The main character of Celaena is initially very stiff. For the first few pages, I was wondering if I was going to like her at all. Then she opens her mouth to speak and the snark pours out and I decided I wanted to be her best friend. I found it wonderful how her character unfolds over the course of the novel, and you find out more and more about her as the pages go past. Even in the end of the book, you’re finding out a few more things that add loads of depth to her character and yet add more questions that need to be answered. Despite having no idea what it would be like to live her life, I found myself connecting with her all the same.

Originally, I wasn’t very excited by the idea of a love triangle forming between Celaena, Dorian and Chaol (or Captain Westfall, as the blurb names him). After all, you know how I feel about love triangles. (Hint: I hate them.) However, this one wasn’t badly done. Celaena is absolutely NOT a air-headed girl, and the guys played it out nicely. There was no brooding testosterone match. Plus, the love triangle was hardly the focus of the book AND it ended interestingly. So yes, believe it or not, I have found a love triangle I approve of.

No, pigs are not flying. Yet.

I had heard this world likened to that of George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, and I can certainly see why. For one, I’m pretty sure there is only a handful of names in either books that I am actually sure how to pronounce. Another is that you have to try to keep track of a lot of country and character names. (Throne of Glass, however, is nowhere near as bad as Game of Thrones in that regard.) Also, to mention layers again, there are SO MANY. In a time when YA world-building is sometimes circumspect at best, Maas blows it out of the water with rock solid skill and precision.

All and all, I basically have no idea why you haven’t already pre-ordered this book. High fantasy seems to be an abandoned realm in YA fiction sometimes, yet Maas clearly shows that it is possible to have amazing world building, big character casts and countries and still keep it YA. The romance is wonderfully written, and it hardly takes over the novel. There’s a little bit of magic, a lot of snark and a whole bunch of utterly fantastic fight scenes. There are few times that NetGalley makes me ridiculously upset because I don’t own a print copy of this book, and this is one of them. I could lose myself in this world again and again and never get bored.

Book Review: A Clash of Kings by George R. R. Martin

Yes, yes, this is an older book, but *I* just jumped on this train, so here we go!

For all my complaining, I did end up liking this book in the end. The beginning was good, the middle was a little boring and confusing, and the end was “OHMYGOD THINGS ARE HAPPENING.” To be entirely fair, this series is hardly the kind I would ever pick up on my own, and for good reason. I’m easily bored, and I end up skimming a lot in these books. This is hardly new for me; I do that for Clive Cussler too, and I adore those books. However, in A Clash of Kings I found myself either repeatedly bit by this habit, or there were a few things that were just “…what.” For example, the entire character of Melisindre. Just…what. She seems to have no purpose or even any kind of a real root of believability in the story. Except for giving Stannis the ability to magically kill people, which makes my eye twitch. For all the things GRRM goes on and on with explaining and giving us back story for, there were plenty of examples in A Clash of Kings of things that just seemed thrown in there; things that were too easy and left me dubious of their plausibility. Also, with all that explaining that he does, his habit of skimming over some of the story’s most interesting and exciting points by having the POV character told them after you’re certain all is lost does NOT give the event a harder punch into my gut. It annoys me.

I had ugly feelings about the switching of POVs and storylines, but I have a confession to make. I honestly cannot tell you which storyline or POV character I’m more excited to read about anymore. Characters who I barely thought of after A Game of Thrones are suddenly worming their way into my heart. Jon, Daeny, Tryion and Arya were always favorites, and now I’ve added Bran to the mix along with Theon, just because I want to see Theon’s face smashed in and more of his sister. Also, give me more Robb gosh darn it, don’t give me all of my Robb through his mother. Catelyn Stark was a nice character in the beginning, but now she bores me.

Despite being bored by some of this book, it did still manage to surprise me. Like I said, for all my complaining … I’m hooked. Despite of the length of A Game of Thrones and A Clash of Kings, there are still so many unanswered questions, unresolved issues AND GRRM managed to make up new ones. As if this world wasn’t convoluted enough. I already picked up my copy of A Storm of Swords, and plan to start reading shortly. Let’s start this most lovely form of torture all over again, shall we? 😀