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Ana V. '15

Nov 25, 2012

Engineering Poetry

Posted in: Miscellaneous, Academics & Research, Life & Culture

The last post I made was about my summer, and I haven’t even written about August yet. If that doesn’t give you an indication of how fast time is going by for me, I don’t know what would. Since then, I’ve been pondering about life, setting new goals, realizing even further what it means to work hard and play hard, and helping out with Terrascope.

And because I enjoy life-pondering and expressing it, I’ve also been taking a great class—Poetry Workshop. This is a class in which we share our poems and criticize/ comment on them. We meet every Tuesday for three hours in the evening, and each week there is a different theme for our poetry, but we’re not obligated to make it fit the theme so long as we’re reasonably inspired by anything else. For three hours we read and talk poetry. You’d think it's an insane amount of time to be doing this, but it’s not. (This is mainly due to how awesome and entertaining these poems are.) 

For example, this pantoum, written by Heather '13—

“Institvte”

To learn anything at MIT
you must be willing

to ask the difficult questions
that haunt your mind, and

you must be willing
to set aside your assumptions
that haunt your mind and
make up your past

To set aside your assumptions
for the benefit of the world,
make up your past
to fit in with the extraordinary.

For the benefit of the world,
forget who you were
to fit in with the extraordinary,
to be accepting.

Forget who you were
before choosing to attend this institution. You must be willing
to be accepting
of why it’s impossible.

Before choosing to attend this institution, you must be willing
to ask the difficult questions
of why it’s impossible
to learn anything at MIT.

Or this poem by Alexandrya ’15

“Reverse Amnestic Disorder”
(or “I see everything”)

I was tar-trap black in love
with you. I knew, in spite
of sane, splenetic truth.
Von Hippel-Lindau-me.
evidenced quite perfectly,
juxtaposing misfit
mind of morosoph-mine-
with eyes that could not see.

Blindness began a remnant
of genetics. I fixed
it right: autophagy.
(Slack sight deceptively
enables dereliction;
surely sightlessness should
guarantee no less than
amorous conviction!)

Upheld by histrionic
pride, perfectionism
branded me neurotic:
pilgrim-desultory.
I doted, drifted, detached
when you wrote you never
cared for color-contrasts
in blood or loyalty.

You’ve been interred too long,
old love—
your brains’ve got grubby.

 

You wouldn't expect MIT to have such poets, but for me, anyway, writing poems is a way to become grounded in reality after working with math for hours straight. This poem, for example, I wrote on a crazy rainy day-- I thought I lost my ID, but it was really under the cover of my laptop all along. (I spent too much time running around campus trying to look for it and getting soaked.) That week's theme was a prose poem: 

 

"Spirits"

You open your mouth because a terrific and horrible rumble of thunder as you open the door and sweaty sneakers snap and no umbrella or plastic bag! How ever would you go back to musty home now-- with fuzzy lights green, well now red. You wait and wait and splash in a bubbling, murky puddle with a frown. Artificial tears run down your face and you splat across the street with a lit walking man, lit blinking man as your beakon, mocking sunshine. Nothing happy about this--maybe for trees and green things with no jeans, but not this. Two blocks of eternal swimming? Might as well snap a couple of shots--a click-- and now you'll remember when the sky relieved itself and the pavement was slick. Turn the key, and tug door open. Things are better when they've broken. Leave a trail of outside in. 

Photobucket

 

In any case, more proof of MIT students and poetry: 

"MIT is the place in which we learn. 

MIT is the fire in which we burn."  ~Anon

~Image credit from the interwebz. (Also on Reddit.)

 

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