At times poets will find themselves intrigued by a certain topic that can be expanded upon in more than one poem. This leads to a poetry series with poems that are all loosely related, but they oftentimes can still be understood separately. The topic surrounding a series could be a progression of events. It could be a person in the poet’s life that they have watched grow up. The series, in this case, could be a poem about the birth of a person, that person coming into themselves as a child, a teenager, or later on in life. It could be a series about a particular place and the different experiences had there. Basically, the series could be about anything that speaks to the poet. In my opinion, poetry series can be really interesting to follow as each poem is able to stand on its own, but can tell a story when read together.
Recently I have become infatuated with the auras of people around me. The energies that people have, to me, may look like a certain place or thing, or maybe even a season. I have recently taken time to observe my friends and write about how their personality looks in a more physical form and then break that down into how that person is represented by their particular symbol I have chosen. While one friend may be a bike ride in Paris during autumn, another may be the sand of the beaches in the spring, or a snapdragon in the beginning months of summer. When writing these I had to figure out whether or not their energy was chaotic, stoic, gentle or abrasive. Their energies could quite possibly be a mixture of multiple opposing things depending on time and place. I tried to do each person’s aura justice in who they are and how they make me feel. Below is an example of a poem I wrote within this series.
He’s an orb of water
suspended in refracted
an image of likeness
like his eyes,
like his ever changing shape,
like the depths he withholds
and reveals upon his own command.
like his smile,
like the rhythm of his swagger,
like his laugh
that rests upon the transformed aura within a room.
To warm or burn,
to cleanse or drown,
the illustration of multifaceted chambers
that rise out of need not vanity,
the essence of baptism all the same.
His life in dedication to both
waves and flames,
forming in the shape of
that settle comfortably
upon his crown with pride--
the white noises of our mindless humanity.
You ran before the storm to join me
Threw your arms open, slammed your eyes shut
Inky hair blown back in the gale
Purple heat lit the horizon and illuminated our pining faces
Two beautiful fools dancing in the warm rain
Trembling at the taste of the terrifying truth.
In our modern world, it feels like every other day is a holiday; this past weekend had National Sons Day, National Beer Drinking Day, as well as the National Bunny Day. But in the midst of this uptick in holidays, we shouldn’t forget about some older but just as important traditions. One such tradition is Banned Book Week.
The last week of September has been Banned Book Week since 1982. While books aren’t officially banned in the US (they can always be purchased privately), they are still frequently challenged and removed from school libraries across the country. In remembrance of this important week which celebrates the freedom to read, here are five of my personal favorite previously challenged books:
The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (1999)
Reasons for Challenge: Description of masturbation, sex, drugs, and profanity
First challenged in 2002, Perks of Being A Wallflower is a modern coming-of-age story which follows Charlie as he navigates his freshman year of high school. While the novel tackles a wide variety of difficult subjects, this is precisely what makes it so endearing and touching. It is when we are presented with new situations and new perspectives that we are truly able to grow.
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (1997)
Reasons for Challenge: Offensive language, violence
A real modern day classic, Captain Underpants has often topped lists of frequently challenged books in the US. It follows the adventures of George and Harold, as well as the titular superhero Captain Underpants, as they battle a revolving cast of villains such as Doctor Diaper, Turbo Toilet 2000, and Wedgie Woman. Although the book certainly offers examples of misbehaving kids (as well as hilarious pranks), this series is an overall harmless yet exciting series for young kids. The biggest danger has to be the flip-o-rama as the high level action can sometimes be too much for the pages.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (1937)
Reasons for Challenge: Language, blasphemy, violence
A short but incredibly impactful novella, there is a good chance that Of Mice and Men was taught at your high school despite it being listed as one of the most challenged books of the 21st century. It follows two friends, George and Lennie, as they move from place to place during the Great Depression. This book is as endearing as it is heartbreaking, and while there is some strong language at times, this is no excuse to try to censor such a powerful story.
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (1971)
Reasons for Challenge: Environmentalist Message
I think it is safe to say we are all at least slightly familiar with the works of Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), from Green Eggs and Ham to The Cat in the Hat. However, The Lorax is a bit unlike the rest as, while still having the wonderful illustrations that are the trademarks of all of Seuss’s books, it also has a much more compelling message to take care of the Earth. Like the Lorax famously says, he “speaks for the trees.” This message did not go over well in California amidst the foresting industry in 1989 and was promptly challenged by members of the community. There will always be an argument about what ideas young kids are exposed to, but The Lorax is still a fantastic book which will hopefully remain on the shelves of libraries across the US.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1925)
Reasons for Challenge: Language and Sexual References
An amazing novel that follows Nick Carraway as he unravels the story of Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan. A true classic, the novel has been challenged for many of the same reasons as the other books on this list: language and sexual references. While it is true that this novel, just like the other books in this list, has items that can be questioned, going so far as to keep it away from libraries seems like a step too far. Children will always encounter challenging ideas, but the immediate response to things that challenge us should not be to ban them.
CLASSIC HORROR: FRIDAY THE 13TH
Only a year away from its 40th anniversary, the Friday the 13th franchise stands alongside other film series like Halloween, Evil Dead, and Child’s Play as a classic, acquiring unwatchable sequels, a considerable cult following, a surefire reboot and a killer whose powers are irritatingly vague. But what is it about this hockey mask-wearing, machete-wielding star that sets him apart from the roster of synonymous slashers that almost seem to be the same character?
If there’s one thing to be said about the Friday the 13th franchise, it’s that its main character never stays the same. While contributing to the plot’s convolution over the course of the series, Jason’s changes are partially responsible for what helps shape his overall character. He goes from a muddy lake-child in the series kickoff to a space villain in Jason X over the course of nearly forty years. This is partially due to the constantly shifting property and studio rights, writing, and direction changes and the need for something new to invigorate the next chapter.
His changes in wardrobe are almost constant; he goes from his first actual appearance in Part II, wearing a feed-bag mask, to the classic hockey look and ultimately turning to a metallic, space-age fit that looks like it belongs to a different series entirely. Things across the series change up a bit beyond outfits, though. There are almost no constant characters outside of the killer (who even changes up from time to time) constantly leading the audience to a misunderstanding of what’s happening. The only thing that’s constantly original is the violence, which never seems to disappoint in any of the movies.
The problem with a constantly evolving character is the set around him trying to evolve at the same rate. The concept of a summer-camp slasher doesn’t exactly carry well over the decades, but sequels still need to be made. The first bit of convolution comes at the end of the first movie with one of the greatest plot twists of the 1980s with the death of Jason’s mother and Jason’s first appearance as a child out of the lake. He then goes on in the sequel as a fully-grown man--taking place mere months after the first film--killing the happy camp counselors of Crystal Lake once again. It becomes even harder to understand as the series carries on after Jason is miraculously resurrected from multiple deaths and even changes personalities (i.e. Roy Burns, who pretended to be Jason in Friday the 13th: A New Beginning). Things like this ultimately kill the character and make the plot-lines even laughable for the following audiences.
While plot and story-development may not be the franchise’s strong suit, creative brutality is what seems to be constantly bringing people back. From people being stabbed through beds to being staked to doors to being thrown down flights of stairs in a wheelchair, the series never fails to deliver in violence. The writers and set designers continually find new ways to kill teenagers in the franchise, even going so far as to making Jason X (a space adventure that’s arguably the worst film in the franchise) a copy of the Ridley Scott classic, Alien. Comical, but creative.
. . .
Overall, the Friday-franchise is a campy, facetious series of films that draws in the viewer through nostalgia, mainstream pop-culture, and the classic cheesiness of the 80s that made it as unwatchably watchable as it is. If you’re a viewer looking for serious scares and unsettlement, look elsewhere; Friday the 13th is a classic revisited for the laughs and a silly 80s funk that never fails to deliver in an age that’s so stuck to billion-dollar budgets and special effects so real, you can’t separate them from reality. It’s nice to know that these films are still around to keep us grounded in a world where horror has become too real and too watered down.
Consider the following:
Is this "art"? The general consensus for this question isn't clear.
Everybody loves memes. However, they're not always given the honor of being considered art. For some, that distinction is reserved for more traditional forms of creative expression such as painting, sculpting, literature, cinema and the like. On the other hand, some are open to recognizing more contemporary art forms like video games. It's entirely subjective.
I asked our staff to weigh in on the discussion. Here's what they had to say:
Should memes be considered art? Why or why not?
"Memes should be considered art because they convey meaning through the use of visual stimuli and they normally contain things that are universally relatable and human. Some art conveys sadness, some frustration, and some exists for the sake of existing, and I can find a meme to represent each of these concepts." – Katherine Kaczmarski
"Yes. Memes are a creative outlet for whoever makes them. Whilst they aren’t traditional in a modern art sense, they still follow the theme of art." – Hannah Skinner
"This is simple, art imitates life. Therefore, when we see memes that highlight humanity and therefore imitates life, it is 100% art. This can also be turned around in saying that memes are also life." – Madison Wakefield
"Memes should definitely be considered art. They're made to invoke emotion, which is pretty much the sole purpose of art." – Davis White
"Memes should be considered art! This topic has been on the art world radar and is discussed quite frequently. I believe that we are entering a new age of Dadaism/Surrealism through these memes." – Hannah Rivers
As you can see, the consensus among our staff is pretty clear: memes are absolutely art. And now that we've settled that, feel free to submit your best (original) memes to The Chronicle for a chance to be featured in our next magazine! I happily await them.
XAVIER CHARLOT- BLOG EDITOR
“La Haine” is a film about life at the bottom of the socioeconomic totem pole. The story goes as such: In a neighborhood of impoverished housing projects on the outskirts of Paris, riots broke out the previous night in response to the vicious beating and hospitalization of a neighborhood resident by police officers. Our protagonists—a trio of friends named Saïd, Vinz and Hubert—spend the following day bouncing around different locales in the neighborhood, observing the aftermath of the riots as well as engaging in their usual shenanigans.
Through each protagonist, we are shown a different mindset held by people living a lower-class life. Vinz leans towards aggression and violence; he participated in the riots and yearns for the chance to violently resist the system. Hubert, on the other hand, wants to put his past of criminal activity behind him; he wants to escape the projects and live in peace. These two are often at odds as Vinz tries to escalate things and cause conflict while Hubert tries to reign him in.
Saïd doesn’t much care for either side; he prefers to go with the flow. For example, he objected to participating in the riots, not because he thought it was morally wrong, but because they interrupted a drug sale he was trying to make. Saïd is often tasked with keeping his two friends from fighting each other. He epitomizes a repeating theme of the film: “so far, so good”, the idea that people in the projects are just biding their time until disaster eventually strikes.
All three main characters are done fantastically. They each have a lot of depth. When they clash over their differences, they play off each other in such a way that each perspective is explored thoroughly. The actors do a great job bringing them to life, displaying a wide range of emotions and coming off as completely authentic. Most importantly, you can tell that, at the heart of all their interactions, there is an unbreakable bond of friendship. They’ve always got each other’s backs. Even at their lowest points, you can still tell that they care very much for one another.
Another area in which the film shines is its ability to completely immerse you in the setting. The trio’s adventures take them all around the neighborhood and beyond, giving you a large scope of the environment. This point is well exemplified in one of my favorite scenes: A DJ is blaring music out of his fourth-story window for the whole neighborhood to hear. The song is a remix of 90’s American hip hop and the classic French song "Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien" by Edith Piaf. The camera slowly retreats from the window and pans downward to the residents below, giving a bird’s-eye view. Children are running around playing on the playground. Then the camera rises, showing a vast array of drab, uniform apartment buildings stretching across the horizon. This scene truly made me feel like I was there.
This movie made me feel a lot of different things: joy, laughter, sorrow, anger, and every possible combination therein. I’ve watched it several times and each time, I’ve found something new to appreciate about it. It’s truly a masterpiece in my eyes and I think everybody should see it.
XAVIER CHARLOT- BLOG EDITOR