English IO Reflection

What was the hardest part of the task?

• The hardest part of the task was keeping to the time and making sure that I didn’t ramble as at some points

• keeping on track onto the topic

• saying “um” or “uh” all the time and making sure not to end in an awkward way like “so… yeah”

• even while writing my interpretation of the two pieces i found it hard to explain the complexity of emotions that Sappho has felt. In single lines of the poem there is so much emotion packed in that it is not only difficult to unpack but it difficult to express it in words and do so in a short period of time. Since the IO was limited to 8-10 minutes.

• it was also the first time i have compared texts or different genres

What do you feel was the most successful part of your effort?

• while I was talking about the topic (the last point, my conclusion) I realized that I never made the connection between the deaths of all three characters – echo, Sappho and bruce who eventually killed themselves for the same reason – unrequited love a point which I never wrote in my outline but mentioned in my recording.

In what ways was your outline incomplete? What did it leave you to keep track of in your head? 

• At first, it was too text-heavy and I placed all my notes in the same area so that it read like a fragmented essay – so that made sense to me

• However, when I had to take the text out of the outline, it became to skeletal and there was very little for me to base my talking off of, I had to base a majority of what I said on what I remembered.

What did you “leave out” that you wanted to say (or wish you’d said)? 

• I could have connected Sappho and fun home more and in a better way

• the second point that I had of having multiple identities – which I tried to show through the first sentence of the poem wasn’t explained well enough and I left it very dry so there wasn’t any in-depth explanation of why I chose that line and what it represented.

• I also didn’t explain the idea of jealousy that was in the poem which was actually a case which happened to Sappho in real life – if had I had more time I could have done so by quoting other poems by Sappho which expressed her jealousy towards men who stole the women of her affection away from her.


English reflection on poetry assessment

I think that there are quite a few areas I should work on for analysing a poem as I didn’t do as well of a job as I have done before. One of the things that I need to do is be more clear about what my topic sentences are. I need to have my points beforehand so that my ideas don’t stray. I should also constantly remind myself of the importance of sticking to the PEA format. I would also think that I need to have a better grasp of the different literary devices, as I only focused on connotation, which held me back from all the other devices I could have used.   I also forgot to mention the title and poet which was unpardonable of me!

Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this? Reflection

Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this? (Marylin Hacker)

“Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?
Before a face suddenly numinous,
her eyes watered, knees melted. Did she lactate
again, milk brought down by a girl’s kiss?
It’s documented torrents are unloosed
by such events as recently produced
not the wish, but the need, to consume, in us,
one pint of Maalox, one of Kaopectate.
My eyes and groin are permanently swollen,
I’m alternatingly brilliant and witless
—and sleepless: bed is just a swamp to roll in.
Although I’d cream my jeans touching your breast,
sweetheart, it isn’t lust; it’s all the rest
of what I want with you that scares me shitless.”

In the poem, “Didn’t Sappho say her guts clutched up like this?” by Marylin Hacker, Hacker portrays how her love life is very similar to that of Sappho, who experienced a number of intense emotions for expressing her love towards a woman. To convey the emotions that Hacker tries to suppress, she uses allusion, tradition and rhyme. In the poem, rich with allusions, Hacker connects her life and emotions to Sappho’s and suggests that her love for a woman had similar consequences to that of the Greek poet. Hacker demonstrates her emotions in the line, “by the events as recently as produced” (6) which provides a dual reference to Sappho’s life and her own. This is done as she hints to the audience that the word “events” suggests the meeting of a woman or leaving her. The idea of meeting a woman and falling in love and a woman leaving and experiencing heartbreak is a common theme in Sappho’s poems, for example, the poem #94. Sappho describes her heartbreak as her female lover leaves her for another. However, she uses positive and feminine words to portray the lingering beauty of the situation, unlike Hacker who uses negative and harsh words to express herself, like “guts clutched”(1) and “torrents are unloosed”(5). Similarly, there are references to political correctness which are represented by tradition (the global issue of culture, identity, and community). By using tradition to portray the idea of political correctness, Hacker depicts how her character is politically incorrect as she articulates her love for a person of the same gender, a type of emotion which isn’t openly practised or accepted in society. In the line, “not the wish, but the need” (7) she illuminates how the love that she is expressing openly within her society is a necessity and not a desire or want, it is something that she feels to be as tormenting as a normal love. To her character, unfortunately, falling in love, heartbreak and yearning are synonymous. This is also shown in the line “Did she lactate again, milk brought down by a girl’s kiss?” (3-4). The tone of the line is very sarcastic as she expresses her dissatisfaction and the sense of self-deprecation when she belittles herself as she is let “down” by the fact that she and her lover are unable to have a future together as the line refers to “milk” and lactate”, suggesting family and children. So, not only are they restrained socially, but also physically (as to produce, both male and female are required). This leads to the character’s self-criticism and self-derision which is caused by the guilt of being compelled by her own nature to behave in a politically incorrect manner.  To further portray the unfulfillment that follows lesbian love, the poet uses rhyme. The inherent contrast in the words, “unloosed” (5) and “produced” (6) depicts the sad outcome of their love. While the word “produced” comes with connotations of having a future and children, the connotation of the word “unloosed” achieves different nuances of meaning which run through the body of the poem. “Unloosed” refers to the sense of the assumed immorality of gay love. It also makes a reference towards the emotions and sexual arousal that run out of control which is symbolized with the satirical reference to diarrhea which is released throughout the poem. The poet Hacker, portrays the difficulties of having a relationship with the same gender. She also portrays that although gay love can be divine and just as true as normal romance, the judgment of society casts a dirty shadow on gay relationships, an event that both Sappho and the character here have experienced.