Ending The FURSCA Chapter

Well, this is sad.

Even though break will be nice (and I’ve been craving Chinese food, which I live next to back in New Jersey), I’m really going to miss staying on campus writing poetry. FURSCA has been great, but just spending the summer here as been interesting within itself. For example, I couldn’t go to Baldwin everyday, and I really didn’t want to eat subway all the time, so I dedicated time looking for recipes for cheap and tasty dinners. It was really fun cooking for myself and experimenting. I can now say I’ve made chicken parm, burgers, fried chicken, bbq chicken, fried shrimp, shrimp and pasta and just wide variety of things I know I’ll cook once I live on my own again.

This is also my first time being in Michigan for the summer, since school always starts at the end of August when things are starting to cool down. I didn’t expect it to get so hot, but I loved it! Also, this campus never sleeps. I assumed the campus would be pretty dead since school wasn’t really going on (except for summer school) but this campus is still heavily active with other activities. It was pretty cool sitting on the quad and wondering why people were on campus.

Back to FURSCA. I must say this has been my best summer so far because of FURSCA. Getting paid to do something I’m interested in, and hearing about things other people are interested in was a blast. Honestly, it made me feel as though my ideas were important.

It’s great seeing that research isn’t just a science term and that the college lets non-science students perform their own type of research. I’m pretty much a FURSCA fan girl, but I believe the praise is deserved!

I know of a few people who are thinking about trying FURSCA but seem somewhat nervous. I say GIVE IT A TRY. It’s worth a shot.

Presentations!

Though it’s been about a week or two since I had to present my research to my fellow FURSCA researchers, I’m still hung up on it. It’s was a pretty scary experience for me…but also invigorating.

I feel as though my presentation was a little more out of the ordinary because my research and my findings are my poetry. While some people can show data, or show something that they’ve found, I had to recite my poetry in order to prove my point. So essentially, I had a poetry reading. Since I’ve never really done that before, I was bouncing off the walls with nervousness and excitement. I wanted to make sure my Powerpoint was straight and to the point, that my explanations of what I was doing was thorough, and finally that I was happy with my poems. That was definitely the hardest part. I feel as though no poem can really be done, because there are so many options to take, but there is a point where you’re satisfied with where you stop, and I wanted to reach that point before reading my poems to an audience. I feel as though I did that, so in the end, I’m extremely happy.

Really, for anyone who has to present anything, whether it’s a poem, or data, or really anything, just make sure you’re happy with what you’re showing. You don’t want to go in nervous, upset or anything negative like that. Just be happy. And if you’re anything like me, calm down!

Since then, I’ve had a few people tell me they enjoyed my presentation as well as my poetry. That is such an awesome feeling; working hard on something and seeing positive results.

This is pretty much me saying FURSCA is awesome and if you want to work hard at some sort of research project, you might as well just sign up right now, because it’s great.

Free Verse vs. Form

I never realized there was an issue between those who prefer free verse and those who prefer form. Just so you know, when I say form I mean things like Sonnets, Villanelles and Sestinas. Free verse is when a writer kind of writes with their own rules in mind, which could be no rules at all. It depends on who you talk to, but some people seem to have negative feelings toward free verse now-a-days, because of the effect it’s having on new writers. I can say from experience that my friends who are fellow writers started out writing free verse first, and learned about form along the way. They eventually grew to dislike forms because they felt as if they couldn’t express themselves as easily as they could in free verse, causing their poetry to weaken. Simply put, they believe free verse is just easier.

When free verse started, it was an act of rebellion against “the oppressors.” In the black community, free verse was a way of completely rebelling against the slave owners. People like Walt Whitman was also in favor for free verse because of that rebellion as well. Back then free verse had a reason for its existence, and writers today who favor formed poetry believe free verse now has no reason and is causing poetry to kind of become stale. Also, because newer poets flock to free verse, they aren’t learning about form, and because they don’t know too much about the past styles of poetry, their poetry isn’t as strong. This is what I interpreted from the essays I’ve read, anyway.

From researching about this I can tell that I’m a fan of both. And to be honest, I see form in free verse as well. By reading collections by poets and then writing my own poems, I’ve noticed more and more different styles in free verse. They may not be as strict as writing 14 lines with a rhyme scheme and a volta, but form is still working within free verse. What I love about free verse is that it’s changing up form to suit the poem. There are tons of poets who will write a sonnet but break a few rules so it can help the poem. So it’s not an exact sonnet, but it’s still a sonnet.

I do wish more writers (like my friends) were more fans of form, but really I think it depends on what the poem asks for.