I’m so weak for sonnets. Here’s my other one (probably the better of the two.)
if you must know, I’m worried about lots:
I can’t tell if these words are helping me.
I’ve been in some pretty laughable spots
and I’ve never been freed by poetry.
people ask me “can I read what you’ve writ?”
and before I can correct their grammar
they’ve noticed that it’s all just angsty shit
“it’s, um, ‘written,’ not ‘writ,'” I stammer.
but you took no for an answer, my friend,
you didn’t press on – and for this, for you
I have a certain prize, a certain end
to show you my appreciation true:
next time I’m angry and writing a piece,
if it’s about you, I’ll desist and cease.
Shakespeare makes me weird.
It’s a wilting flower, it’s a clock, it’s lipstick. It’s more self-explanatory than the other ones I posted. This one has nothing to do with gender.
Beauty and time, my friends. Beauty and time. Shakespeare talks a lot about these two concepts in the sonnets, as well as seasons changing and the imagery of flowers dying. Hence.
I worked very hard kissing pieces of paper to make these visual representations of Twelfth Night and Troilus and Cressida.
Basically my thought process is this: both of these plays deal with gender in one way or another. What’s more heavily gendered than lipstick? And how can I alter the appearance of a simple smooch to address some more themes in these plays?
So here they are:
Twelfth Night on left, Troilus and Cressida on right (in case the quotes weren’t obvious.)
Kisses are more popularly recognized as small acts of romance which is present in both of these plays, but as I said earlier, my goal here was to use one obvious symbol in different ways.
In the Twelfth Night piece, the lipstick represents makeup, costumes and disguise. One half of the mark is intact, representing Viola and her complete femininity, and the other half is smudged, representing Cesario and his apparent lackthereof.
In the Troilus and Cressida piece, the lipstick is lust and the sword is war. In our society, some women are seen as ‘false’ for wearing makeup, and this ties in as well. Not only does Cressida become false because of what she says to Troilus (with her lips, get it?) but for acting on the lust between herself and Diomedes. I drew the sword in because war is literally half of the plot, and I think it works to create a sinister contrast between something sexy and comfortable and something undesirable and dangerous.
After talking about sonnets 1-17 (sometimes called “the procreation sonnets,” which I love) in tutorial last week, I thought it might be interesting to use Voyant on all of them to visualize the discussion we had.
This first one was really boring and didn’t really reveal anything so I edited it to take out prepositions and pronouns and other fluff words. After doing that, it was much more reflective of the actual content.
The second Voyant prominently features the two main themes we noticed: beauty and time. The other often-used words are exactly what you would expect. “Make” and “art” are there along with “sweet,” “world” and “love.”
I recommend clicking through to the larger image to see the most interesting part. While this word cloud looks pleasant from afar, there are a lot of tiny words with negative connotations that Shakespeare used to form his argument. “Winter,” “widow,” “wilt,” “unused,” “tomb” and “waste” are all used only twice in the span of the 17 sonnets but pack a powerful punch in context.
This cirrus did a better job than I expected of opening my eyes to the true nature of these poems. They’ve got layers of flattery and dire consequences, sweet and sinister. But if this boy was attractive enough to write seventeen sonnets to, I think I’m on Shakespeare’s side and I hope his genes are alive and well somewhere.
if I could put my body over there
and never have to see myself again
I’d give me something beautiful to wear
and walk away with paper and a pen.
for some things go unspoken, some unseen,
I wish sometimes that I could go un-both.
my life is better lived behind some screen;
my love is better written down in oath.
for you I remain visible and loud,
although my quiet instinct disagrees.
you find it hard to lose me in a crowd,
I find you put my worried mind at ease.
if ever you need me to disappear
I’ll hold my tongue, my love, but I’ll stay near.