Jasmine Carter Blog #2 Still I Rise

Still I Rise by Maya Angelou

  You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.


Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops.
Weakened by my soulful cries.

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own back yard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Still I Rise is unquestionably one of Maya Angelou’s most famous pieces of writing. Maya Angelou always writes with a purpose. A purpose that fulfills her life walk as well as many other strong and independent humans lives. Similar to a few of her other poems such as; Weekend Glory, Momma Welfare Roll, and Phenomenal Woman, this poem, “Still I Rise,” reveals a person maintaining strength, pride and joy. Yet this motivational poem still has its uniqueness through the different metaphors, similes and rhyme scheme.

Maya Angelou’s “Still I Rise” is about overcoming all the battles, insults, lies, backstabbing and all evilness that comes into her life. For example, the line, “You may kill me with your hatefulness, But still, like air, I rise.” This line reveals that she clearly has haters and they are doing all that they can to kill her spirit. However she shakes it off, lifts her head and keeps living her life.  Next, Maya Angelou reveals her refusal to let people think that she is less than what she knows she is by stating, “Does my sexiness upset you?” Her mighty ego provides her with the strength to overcome the flaws and negativity of the world.

Throughout the entire poem Maya Angelou writes with a positive and powerful tone. The point of view is so that it seems like the person in the poem is actually talking to the readers. This provides the poem with a more comforting and personal read. Although the entire poem is serious, Angelou added a slight shift on stanza five when she stated, “Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines diggin in my own back yard.” Before this line Angelou was not joking around. She was being straight forward and stating her purpose. Yet at this line she starts to chuckle. She is still in her serious mind set, however the mood is a little lighter.

Maya Angelou used literary techniques very precise in this poem. Her rhyme scheme, with the exception of the last stanza is A,B,C,B, which works wonderful for a powerful poem such as Still I Rise. It provides room to emphasize words and to recite or read this poem with a lot of emotion and authority. She prestigiously uses repetition with the words “I Rise” to reveal how powerful it is to ignore the trash of the world and overcome it with no fear. Angelou provides several similes as well as metaphors. Her simile, “But still, like dust, I’ll rise,” is used to once again show the readers that she is rising up no matter what. Then her metaphor throughout the poem consists of all the fancy things she states, such as the diamonds, gold mines and oil wells. Angelou is proving that she is she as valuable and precious as those things.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gantt Bone- Vernal Observations by Elizabeth Alexander

The forsythia cascades quiver

No breeze blowing any where else?

Gazing, again, ah the blossoms

A goldfinch constructing her nest!


This being a four lined poem, and one of the three poems she has published, the selection was hard and this analysis will be even harder. Firstly, I would like to take the chance to say that upon reading this I did not know what the phrase “Vernal Observations” meant and after reading it, still had no clue. Thanks to trusty dictionary.com, I was able to get a better understanding. I knew that the speaker was clearly observing something, who knew what. The definition of vernal is “of, or relating to spring”. Great! Now the poem can be analyzed based off of the title. Alexander is observing the spring time. 

The best way I can think to do this analysis would be line by line. The first line, “The forsythia cascades quiver”, does not mean a whole lot to me. Once again, i do not know what forsythia cascades are. To Google! A forsythia is a type of flower. A cascade of them would be a lot of them. They grow on a bush and are plentiful and blooming during the spring time. They are yellow with long pedals. This is her first observation. 

In her second line “No breeze blowing anywhere else?” she is asking a question. This can be interpreted as if she was expecting more and is appalled that there is no wind. It is spring time, where is the nice warm breeze? By now i was able to put a few pieces together in my mind about what she is seeing. So far we have a lot of yellow flowering bushes not blowing in the wind. This would lead me to infer that she is somewhere wooded on the mountains where these flowers are native. The wind could possibly be buffeted by the mountain, having come from the other side. Being in the woods during spring time, the growth will be in full effect and there would be massive amounts of green in the trees, the leaves. Flowers would be blooming everywhere, from yellow, white, red, blue, to even orange. This image in my mind gives a peaceful effect, which is what I believe to be the main purpose of this poem. 

The third line says “Gazing again, oh, the blossoms”. Once again, it is spring time. The flowers are in full bloom and everything is beautiful. She is in awe of this, as seen in the line marked by the word “oh”. Seeing as though she is in awe, it can also be inferred that she is not accustomed to being in the mountains and seeing this. Either that or she loves it so much that every time she sees this sight she stops in admiration. Another thought that comes to mind about this scene is that it is somewhere reclusive, not affected by any outside cause. It is said that there is beauty in nature and Elizabeth Alexander has found it. 

The fourth and last line says “A goldfinch constructing her nest!” First, take a look at the exclamation point. This signifies some sort of excitement or anger, most likely excitement. It is spring time, the flowers are in full bloom, and the animals are at work! It is truly amazing how nature works, God’s perfect design. I believe she thinks the goldfinch is beautiful as well, based on the excitement found in this last line. The beautiful bird constructing her home in this beautiful bush of flowers. As said earlier, the flowers are yellow as well. This yellow/gold is a contrast to the green foliage surrounding these flowers in the trees and other shrubs, yet this contrasting bird has found the perfect place for a home that will protect it from the eyes of predators. 

This poem has taught me to fully appreciate and analyze nature. Something so little and insignificant can have so much meaning and purpose, just like every person on this earth. 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment



Rising up through battles

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Miriam Jones Poetry Blog Post #2

Bob Dylan performance of his poem The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol

Video | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Miriam Jones Poetry Blog Post #2 The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carrol

William Zanzinger killed poor Hattie Carroll
With a cane that he twirled round his diamond ring finger
At a Baltimore hotel society gath’rin’.
And the cops was called in and his weapon took from him
As they rode him in custody down to the station
And booked William Zanzinger for first-degree murder.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face –
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

William Zanzinger, who at twenty-four years
Owns a tobacco farm of six hundred acres,
With rich wealthy parents who provide and protect him,
And high office relations in the politics of Marilyn,
Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders
And swear words and sneering, and his tongue it was a-snarling,
And in a matter of minutes on bail was out walking.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face –
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

Hattie Carroll was a maid in the kitchen.
She was fifty-one years old and gave birth to ten children,
Who carried the dishes and took out the garbage
And never sat once at the head of the table
And didn’t even talk to the people at the table,
Who just cleaned up all the food from the table
And emptied the ashtrays on a whole other level,
Got killed by a blow, lay slain by a cane
That sailed through the air and came down through the room,
Doomed and determined to destroy all the gentle –
And she never done nothing to William Zanzinger.
But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Take the rag away from your face –
Now ain’t the time for your tears.

In the courtroom of honor, the judge pounded his gavel
To show that all’s equal and that the courts are on the level
And that the strings in the books ain’t pulled and persuaded
And that even the nobles get properly handled
Once that the cops have chased after and caught ’em
And that the ladder of law has no top and no bottom,
Stared at the person who killed for no reason,
Who just happened to be feelin’ that way without warnin’,
And he spoke through his cloak, most deep and distinguished,
And handed out strongly, for penalty and repentance,
William Zanzinger with a six-month sentence.
Ah, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears,
Bury the rag deep in your face –
For now’s the time for your tears.

Bob Dylan came up with another poem that had effect the process of the reality of life. During the time period that Bob Dylan was in, which was during the 60s and 70s, where racism was almost like a epidemic of discrediting race. Mostly, this affected the African American culture of discrimination and betrayal of people they thought they would be able to trust, but at the end caught in a trap. The poem, The lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll, was based on a true story that took place in Maryland. It  consist a trace theme of equality and humility of mankind It was a well known story that was placed inside the newspaper following the trial of William Zanzinger. The title of the poem was a representation that expressed how her death was cold and alone to be murdered by a stranger for no reason.

The poem starts of saying to the reader that William Zanzinger murdered Hattie Carroll with one blow from his cane. Then the cops came to the hotel and arrest him for murder. This scene gave a imagery of sadness and shame for William, but he felt no remorse. The last three sentences of the first stanza states, “But you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears, Take the rag away from your face – Now ain’t the time for your tears”. Bob Dylan was trying to expound on how there are philosophers that “criticize” everything, but what really matters to society. Instead, he was expressing that they need to stop for one moment and don’t fill their hearts with sorrow, because we have to fight the wrong that has been committed.

In the second stanza, this gave a background of William Zanzinger life. He was well known in the community by his parents wealth. “He also knew many political people that were in high positions in the state of Maryland”. The next sentence says that Zanzinger ”  Reacted to his deed with a shrug of his shoulders”. Stated in the previous paragraph, William Zanainger had no remorse. He can be best described as numb to the entire situation. Again Bob Dylan tells the people to hold the tears, because the time has not come yet.

Int he third stanza, Bob Dylan gives the background information of Hattie Carroll life just as he did with William Zanzinger. He explained that Hattie Carroll was a maid that took care of her ten children. Every single day, she worked her butt off cleaning tables, taking out the trash, and serving others to get her pay to provide for her family. Then Bob Dylan emphasized the fact of being hit with a cane for no apparent reason. but still he tells the people to hold the tears, because it is not the end.

The last stanza uses imagery to describe the trial day of William Zanzinger. The statement “the judge pounded his gavel To show that all’s equal”, was putting on an impression of ho racism really did not exist. As the poem continues, the judge gives William Zanzinger only six month sentence for a first degree murder. Then Bob Dylan states at the end, “Ah, but you who philosophize disgrace and criticize all fears, Bury the rag deep in your face –  For now’s the time for your tears”. The meaning of the last three sentences was taking the trial as being unfair, because he deserve more than six months. Also he was expressing to the philosopher that arguing is a way of life for you, but you won’t criticize equal rights.

In conclusion, Bob Dylan took a true story to make it his own song that created a epidemic of society realizing how equality is necessary.


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gantt Bone- Blues by Elizabeth Alexander


I am lazy, the laziest
girl in the world. I sleep during
the day when I want to, ’til
my face is creased and swollen,
’til my lips are dry and hot. I
eat as I please: cookies and milk
after lunch, butter and sour cream
on my baked potato, foods that
slothful people eat, that turn
yellow and opaque beneath the skin.
Sometimes come dinnertime Sunday
I am still in my nightgown, the one
with the lace trim listing because
I have not mended it. Many days
I do not exercise, only
consider it, then rub my curdy
belly and lie down. Even
my poems are lazy. I use
syllabics instead of iambs,
prefer slant to the gong of full rhyme,
write briefly while others go
for pages. And yesterday,
for example, I did not work at all!
I got in my car and I drove
to factory outlet stores, purchased
stockings and panties and socks
with my father’s money.

To think, in childhood I missed only
one day of school per year. I went
to ballet class four days a week
at four-forty-five and on
Saturdays, beginning always
with plie, ending with curtsy.
To think, I knew only industry,
the industry of my race
and of immigrants, the radio
tuned always to the station
that said, Line up your summer
job months in advance. Work hard
and do not shame your family,
who worked hard to give you what you have.
There is no sin but sloth. Burn
to a wick and keep moving.

I avoided sleep for years,
up at night replaying
evening news stories about
nearby jailbreaks, fat people
who ate fried chicken and woke up
dead. In sleep I am looking
for poems in the shape of open
V’s of birds flying in formation,
or open arms saying, I forgive you, all.

The content of this poem is exceptionally accurate to my life. As much as I hate to admit, I can relate to every bit of this poem. From the title, you may think this is a sad poem. Come to find out, it’s not sad in the sense of “boo-hoo” but rather pathetic. The speaker accepted her pathetic nature and found a way to move on. It seems as though she is happy with her state and would not care to change a thing. She knows what it is like to be responsible and clearly does not like it or she would still be doing the same as before.

In the first stanza she gives an overview of the extent of laziness she accomplished, or rather, does not accomplish, each day. What specifically draws me into this poem is how in depth she goes to her daily activities. Most poets would not venture into the descriptive realm of poetry, aside from Shakespeare and Petrarch describing intensively the aspects of the girl or man that is the subject. By far the most interesting line in this poem is “Many days
I do not exercise, only consider it, then rub my curdy belly and lie down.” As stated before, she knows what it is like to actually care, she just does not want to.

The second stanza is there as a flashback to what she used to know. She only missed one day of school in her entire childhood, she went to ballet classes four times a week, everything was repetitive to her- beginning and ending the same each day. She was always taught to work for what she wanted and save. She was even taught that slothfulness was the only sin. She KNOWS what to do and when and how to do it, as stated before, she just does not want to.

The last stanza goes to show what lead to her laziness. What I can take from this last part is that for the longest time she did not sleep because she was afraid she would not get everything she needed to done. After finally getting tired she rested. And rested. And rested. she still is in this state of rest. Once she started there was an addiction formed and she could not quit. This poem could relate to almost everyone because everyone was once a student, everyone had to work for what they wanted, and everyone has been tired at some point in their life. The only way to heal tiredness and sickness is rest. This is god’s natural design and nothing works better.

Overall, the message of this poem is that working hard for what you want has it’s rewards. She worked her tail off in school and had her “industrious” routine, and now she can enjoy herself, doing what she wants. The theme would have to be work hard, nap hard. Nothing ever comes from nothing (aside from the government handouts now a days, but we see what state the country is in right now). Enjoy your work and regardless of the outcome, at least you have fun doing what you love.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
“East India Grill Villanelle” by Cecilia Woloch
Across the table, Bridget sneaks a smile; 
she’s caught me staring past her at the man 
who brings us curried dishes, hot and mild. 

His eyes are blue, intensely blue, hot sky; 
his hair, dark gold; his skin like cinnamon. 
He speaks in quick-soft accents; Bridget smiles. 

We’ve come here in our summer skirts, heels high, 
to feast on fish and spices, garlic naan, 
bare-legged in the night air, hot and mild. 

And then to linger late by candlelight 
in plain view of the waiter where he stands 
and watches from the doorway, sneaks a smile. 

I’d dress in cool silks if I were his wife. 
We try to glimpse his hands — no wedding band? 
The weather in his eyes is hot and mild. 

He sends a dish of mango-flavored ice 
with two spoons, which is sweet; I throw a glance 
across the shady patio and smile. 

But this can’t go on forever, or all night 
— or could it? Some eternal restaurant 
of longing not quite sated, hot and mild. 

And longing is delicious, Bridget sighs; 
the waiter bows; I offer him my hand. 
His eyes are Hindu blue and when he smiles 
I taste the way he’d kiss me, hot and mild. 


    Upon first reading the title, “East India Grill Villanelle,” I imagined a restaurant, filled with delicious food. I did not picture a love scene or the connection between two people. After reading the poem, I realized how incorrect I was. This poem is so much deeper than the title eludes to.

      The first tercet is a sneak-peek at what will be discussed. “ Across the table, Bridget sneaks a smile;
she’s caught me staring past her at the man who brings us curried dishes, hot and mild.” She obviously does not know the man, because she refers to him as “the man.” She is caught up with staring at him, but she is caught. My first question is, “Why is she staring at him?” I have narrowed it down to three options: he is extremely handsome, his outfit is out-of-this-world crazy, or she is hungry to the max. As we move on to the next tercet, our question is answered. The author lists the qualities in the man that she finds attractive. “his hair, dark gold; his skin like cinnamon.” The author is very intrigued by this man whom she has never met. She is captivated by him.

        Throughout the poem, there is a recurring phrase- “hot and mild.” In the first stanza, she uses it to describe the food. The hot is obviously not spicy, because the next word is mild. The curry-filled Indian food is described as hot and mild. The third stanza uses the phrase to describe herself. She and her friend are out for the night in their awesome outfits. It is interesting that she uses the same words to describe her food and her clothes. “The weather in his eyes is hot and mild.” This metaphor evokes a sense of passion. She is talking as if she is in love with this man- a stranger. From the first stanza to the very last, “hot and mild” is used to describe things she really enjoys- from the food to his kiss.                                                                          

        In the second to last stanza, the author has a moment of clarity. She realizes that she can not continue to have those feelings. After all, she does not even know the man. We are given the idea that the waiter has feelings for her as well. He takes her hand and smiles at her. She pictures a life with him and what it would be like to kiss him.

         The overall theme of the poem seems to be desperation. She really wants to be with this man that she does not even know. She smiles at him and he smiles back-sometimes, but it is almost as if she is embarrassed. She says she gets “caught” by Bridget. She may just be making up the connection in her head. The author creates a very moving analysis of how this women feels around the man she likes. She desperately wants to be with him, and we can clearly see this through the poem.

       This poem has a slant rhyme in every other line. There is no consistent meter, though. 

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment