07 February 2011

Fields Beyond Fields

The title of this post refers to a poem from Alison Stine's collection of poems, Ohio Violence. Her poetry is filled with violent images, images of road kill and drownings, of rape and murder. I chose some of her poems to discuss in my Literature and Composition class because the topics connect to the same rural underpinnings of our small town and I had hoped my students would be able to connect a bit more to poetry if they felt that the topics voiced are ones that they live.

Alison Stine has an interview on her website in which she talks about the understanding of violence, how being surrounded by violent imagery such as say, road kill, anesthetizes us to the horror of such deaths, and indeed to the lives we participate in. There was some lively discussion surrounding the poetry, but the idea of violence proved to be a sticking point for some. That violence, if accidental, somehow negates the act as being violent.

I could see my students struggling with the concept, the idea that our lives contain violence that goes beyond intentional acts forced from one individual to another, that a violent death is its own kind of violence. We carry multiple definitions of the word within us, and this word is malleable based on personal perspective.

Life here up north is incredibly and viscerally violent in ways we don't often discuss and I hope that even the more narrowly defined concepts of violence that some of my students hold has been cracked open a bit.

Outfit consists of:
Dress: striped cotton dress by maple found at Goodwill
Sweater: brown cardigan found at Target
Necklace: Aimee necklace found at Tree & Kimball
Belt: skinny brown belt found at TJ Maxx
Tights: brown tights found at TJ Maxx
Shoes: turquoise ballet flats found at Gap Outlet

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