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Kierston Sharp English 1101 October 1, 2012

Defending Poetry

Throughout this Multi-Modal Literacy project I was forced to dig deeper into my own personal meaning of literacy and the importance of it. The freedom we were given is what gave me the most trouble when deciding what genre I wanted my final narrative to be in. I chose a poetry book to convey my literacy history because poetry has always had a special place within my life. When we are first introduced to literature whether it be at home or in school, it is usually very standard. Our adult teachers would not want to throw too much to us at once; so for the longest time I thought that all writing was composed in a certain structure. Eventually I was introduced to poems but they were all whimsical with no real meaning or feeling behind it. Then, when I was about nine years old my sister showed me a poetry book that she had checked out from the library by a lady named Nikki Giovanni. Almost as if I was in a lovesick trance, poetry became my life. Even at such a young age, I was the newest family poet. I had learned via exposure to her books that for one, anyone could write poetry; for two, my topics could be about real life things, not just silly Shel Silverstein characters. Coming from an African American family, my perspective on life was much different than the white kids I interacted with in school. I identified with the struggles of being a minority and a female which were the topics of many of Giovannis poems. I wrote poems pertaining to

the way that I saw life once I realized that it didnt matter if my white teachers or friends could relate. It had clicked that I could express myself without using punctuation, complete sentences, or a specific format. It was the most freedom I had ever experienced with words and it has stuck with me ever since. This profound effect is why I chose to put my literary history in the form of a poetry book. A lot of times poetry is the best way for me to express myself so I thought it would be the most efficient and logical means of conveying my entire literary history. This genre has taught me what is appropriate to put in certain types of literary works. Theres a distinct difference between an essay and a poem because of the guidelines. Though Id much rather write without rules, theres a time and place for everything. Being so good at defying the common laws of writing with poetry, has increased my formal writing skills as well. When I engage with other texts, errors jump out at me so not only am I a better writer but Im also a tedious editor as well. Now that Im getting older and assignments like this allow more freedom I value poetry much more. I can take liberties that arent allowed in standard writing to add depth to the message that I am attempting to convey. In my opinion, good writing does not have to be proper and uniform. The only requirement is that it gets the meaning across to your audience in the way that you intended. Anyone can write a paper when given a guiding principle with a standard format, but it takes inventiveness to come up with your own poem; especially a book of them that are telling a story. In my poetry book I used many different types of poems in an unconventional way. I used an acrostic, or name, poem but instead of using just one word for each letter, I told about how reading impacts me and made the lines flow into one another. I used a couplet in my

Reading through the Ages poem because of the whimsical rhythm it tends to convey. As the poem progresses, however, the meter gets more complicated as I talk about myself at an older age. I did this to add depth and symbolism within. The main topics of my poems are my literary sponsors and my perspective of the world. I chose to write the poem on a page made up of sticky notes because they stand for the different phases of my life and how I felt about reading at the time. I used the poem about my community to explain what people outside of the military say and how it correlates to military jargon. Semicolons were used to create a pause in the text so that the audience got a better understanding of the differences. Though the formatting of that particular poem is odd and created by me, once the audience realizes the pattern, I think it will be appreciated and much easier to read. Another literary sponsor I spoke about was Northeast Creek Park back in my hometown. Id often go there to think, read, write, and clear my mind. I decided to display this poem in haiku form to represent the nature feel I was trying to convey. My favorite selection is about being literary freedom via poetry. It embodies my entire reasoning for writing a poetry book. It introduces my favorite poet/inspiration and my intentions for writing a poetry book. All of the lines have end rhyme which is the most uniform part of the poem. I add capitalization to emphasize, questions to make the audience think, and my beliefs to make them comprehend the message that Im trying to get across. I was also able to add alliteration and a sort of pun with the phrase literal liberties to add flavor to an already thought provoking poem. It is the epitome of self-expression but in a way that average people can understand and relate regardless of their background or exposure to this type of text. The last poem pertaining to my exterior appearance and the judgment that Im often given is to show my point of view. Im very well read and educated yet when people hear me speak theres often a look of utter shock because of

how confidence I am with my oratory skills. I am instantly labeled unintelligent because of my skin color, piercings, or quirky style of dress. This poem was to all of the people who expect less of me just so that I can show them that my exterior does not affect my mind. By adding a poem like this I feel like I added texture to my book. It is a real world problem, faced by many people on a daily basis. The key theme I wanted to emphasize with this book is the ecclectiveness of my poems, poem types, topics, and formats in which I put them. My personality is very vivacious and chaotic most of the time so I felt the need to put my book in a format that would express my beliefs, my history, and my personality. By using different textures and fonts, and accents like string and duct tape, I feel that I succeeded in making an eccentric book that instantly makes you wonder what is going to be inside. Just like my appearance makes people wonder what I have to offer as well. A poetry book for me stands for the freedom of self-expression. It doesnt matter if the topics are imaginary or real-world issues; anyone can author their own life in that format. It was the best way for me to convey my experiences because I have loved poetry since it was first introduced to me and it goes so well with my free-spirited personality. It enabled me to tell stories, represent my sponsors, and most of all, I was able to convey my literary history in an abstract but comprehensible way.