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Ingenuity Among the Dead

Thursday Verseday with Arlinda

T.S. Eliot once wrote “no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison, among the dead.” While the statement may seem slightly morbid, the notion of poets and artists drawing inspiration from the past is still very alive. As writers, we are constantly looking to the past: what has been written and what are we going to write? We twist the confines of the past to form new tales, retellings of old stories, and various adaptations of previous art.

Edgar Allen Poe’s poem “Annabel Lee” was published in 1849, and more recently it was used as the inspiration for Cassandra Claire’s newest edition to her fantasy series, The Dark Artifices: Lady Midnight. Poe’s poem portrayed the immense connection formed within love and felt even after that love is ripped away. In Poe’s poem, the speaker states, “And neither the angels in heaven above/ Nor the demons down under the sea/ Can ever dissever my soul from the soul/ Of the beautiful ANNABEL LEE.” These lines became the basis for the mystery surrounding Cassandra Claire’s novel.

In Cassandra Claire’s novel The Dark Artifices: Lady Midnight, she plays on the elements of fantasy to create a world in which angel warriors called shadowhunters separated a warlock from his true love Annabel Lee, and buried her in a tomb in which he could only access in an underwater cave surrounded by demons. Edgar Allen Poe’s poem was incorporated into the novel as the explanation for the villain’s driving force throughout the story.

Lady_Midnight_book_cover

It has been over 150 years since Edgar Allen Poe’s “Annabel Lee” was published, and still it lives on in the works of authors such as Cassandra Claire. Although Poe died many years ago, his works are still appreciated and valued in literature today. We constantly find inspiration in works written by poets that have long since died, but the creativity they produced still lives on. As writers and artists, we look to the past to aid us in determining what we want for the future. Cassandra Claire became a best-selling author, as labeled by the New York Times, by finding ingenuity among the dead. Cassandra Claire has attained success through her innovating novels while incorporating works of the past with her brilliantly constructed fantasy fiction. Through authors such as Cassandra Claire, it becomes clear that we can broaden our imagination by looking to the past for inspiration. The next time you sit to write a poem, or create art, look to the past and find the work that will inspire you.

~Arlinda Mulosmanaj

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Rat Queens: The Baddest Version of Myself

Kat’s Music and Comics Corner (Issue #10)

The eccentrics. The outcasts. The weirdos. These are the kind of people I’ve always been drawn to in the world of art. From film characters like Wednesday Addams in the Addams Family to television show characters like Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds, these have been the most relatable characters, because they’re usually the ones who don’t quite seem to fit in but at the same time totally own it. These are not negative titles. These kinds of characters are far from unlikable, in fact, they’re completely lovable. They slash their way through your heart with sharp-wit, sarcasm, and sass and never say sorry for doing what they do best (unless they’re really in the wrong). These are the kind of women set as the cast of characters in Kurtis J. Wiebe’s and Roc Upchurch’s Rat Queens.

The story is chock full of elements of fantasy, and each of these totally “bad” (the best kind of bad) women are types that you could find in a Dungeons and Dragons game, but they’re ten thousand times better than anything that’s ever been imagined before. They slay in the realm of cool, fashion, bed, and literally slay dragons and other terrifying creatures. They’re the most irreverent, unapologetic babes that ever met the pages of comics.

Upchurch’s art punches you right in your gut and then waits for you to take a big gulp of air, then punches you again. His style is such a marvel to behold and it’s nice to see thick, meaty women instead of generalizing the female body as this one size fits all body shape. We are able to see curves and folds and the raw beauty of the female body that is mostly untapped. His work reminds me of Kelly Sue DeConnick’s work in Bitch Planet, in terms of diversity in the human body.

As for Wiebe’s writing, I found it really, really hard to put down Volume 1 of Rat Queens. Holy crap, these women are the kind of amazing, underdog, screwups that I aspire to be. Each has a unique voice and personality that makes up the band of misfits who are just so darn hard to not fall in love with. They’re definitely far from perfect, but that’s what makes them so bad. They’re the bad version of myself I’ve always wanted to be.

– Kathryn Fornier

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Night

The novel Night, by Elie Wiesel is a an account of Wiesel’s experience within the Nazi concentration camps during World War Two. He was fifteen years old when the Nazis came to his hometown of Sighet, Transylvania, and at his arrival in Auschwitz his mother and sister were killed, while he was forced into slave labor. Months later the Germans evacuated the camps, and forced any survivors on a death march, which very few survived (Wiesel being one of the few survivors) by the time the Americans arrived. Wiesel wrote the memoir and novel in order for him to remember his past, and the capability of humans to commit such heinous crimes , as those committed during the holocaust. The story is a relatively sad and dark one, with little to no faith or hope being found from Wiesel throughout the book, giving us a look into how dark the holocaust was. There was no light to be seen throughout his suffering. His depiction of his experience is important because it doesn’t allow the holocaust to be seen as anything else but horrific and tragic. For him to go back into such a dark past, and write about his memories, evokes the message of how important it is to remember and acknowledge the past no matter how hard or painful it is. Being unwilling to acknowledge the past can lead to forgetfulness, which can lead to past mistakes and tragic events to recur. Remembering allows us to learn and find a way to create a better future, with the memories of the past helping to keep us on the right track.

-Gabrielle

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India’s First Gay Web-Series: Romil and Jugal

CINÉMONDAYS WITH HARDIK

ROMIL AND JUGAL

(Indian web-series)

Three claps for India right now. Well, it may not be the most gay-friendly country on this planet, but it deserves some love for showering love on homosexuality through its first ever gay web series. It’s called Romil and Jugal and it’s based on Romeo and Juliet, (SPOILER AHEAD) except for the tragic climax. No one dies, how un-Shakespearean! About that spoiler, don’t you worry: it is not that much of a spoiler, since this web-series does not have subtitles unfortunately, and also you have to pay to get the content beyond 5 episodes. And if that is bugging you, this should relax you a little: this is not the best web series out there, not even near it, unless you like it like I did. For a reason.

For the same reason this deserves attention: it is the first ever gay web series in India and it doesn’t feed on the stereotypes that face gay men on-screen. And plus, India has taken so much liberty with adapting ‘Romeo and Juliet’ (with straight pairs) that a same old remake would go completely unobserved.

Now how much attention this one grabs is for India to know and introspect.

~ Hardik Yadav

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Lucid Sight

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Floetry Fridays with Nicole 

This week’s poem is called “Child” by Sylvia Plath. It is an endearing, but saddening poem about the realities that children face when they are newly entering the world. We all face this fear of sheltering those we love from the scary and disturbing truths of the things around us, especially those younger than we are. It can be quite painful to face the eyes of such an innocent mind and know that they will someday endure heartbreak, suffering, isolation, rejection, and crushed hopes and dreams. It is something that we wish to fill with blossoming flowers and warm summer days, so that the corrupt nature of this world never touches them. This poem is also relatable to all adults who find it hard to survive as a changing adult, while trying to stay attached to the colorful beauty around us that keeps us children at heart.

“Your clear eye is the one absolutely beautiful thing. /I want to fill it with the color and ducks,/The zoo of the new” starts off the poem and emphasizes an unstained eye. One not filled with color nor experience, but clear and ready to be filled with the gorgeous breath of all the world has to offer. All of us are born free of the sorrows that stay tattooed in our irises. It is not until we learn our morals and build our values that we then open doors to things that can entrap us, rather than expand our minds. Here the speaker is placing immense value on their willingness to share these revelations with these fragile and transparent eyes. However, the second part of this poem states “Not this troublous/Wringing of the hands, this dark/Ceiling without a star.” Which brings to the forefront, what is beyond the bright and peaceful things. The darkness that will engulf these eyes that the speaker cannot shield this young, small and unblemished soul from. That we as humans cannot control the sweet things from turning sour, no matter how much we try.

This poem was also written about two weeks before poet Sylvia Plath committed suicide, which leads to speculation that this was inspired by her baby son, and revealed hints of defeat in her inability to shield him from the pains or the world, or possibly herself. It is an incredibly powerful, but short piece of work that serves to some as her final thoughts of this dimmed universe within her mind. We all must protect and nurture our own eyes from the horrid nightmares that may end up haunting them, all while accepting them and finding a way to utilize that pain into strength. An innocent mind cannot be marked by what they have been taught cannot hurt them.