Friday, December 21, 2012

Adam Falkner performed his personal poem entitled My Father's Family. In this poem he talks about the struggle of growing up with a drunken father and a family that hadn't been able to attain a higher education until he broke the cycle. He also talks about how he coped with his problems.  after listening to his moving words I transcribed my thoughts and feelings about what he said into a poem of my own:

It's hard to be put in a box.
Told that the four walls surrounding you so black, and so plain, is the home of your brain.
Jammed in tight spaces you can't escape you're just stuck, thinking and knowing only what makes it's way past the thick walls keeping you in.
It's hard to be put in a box.
When all you know is the rough, acidic taste that you swallow but with time and abuse turns to swallow you.
The tall empty glass bottles distorting the world around you is all you grew up with.
Because your mind becomes cluttered that maybe this is it. Maybe this is what I'll be. Because you haven't seen anything else.
It's hard to be put in a box.
 A box that extends to your whole community, and it's all you see.
Racism poisons the minds of your neighbors, there's no escape.
Forbidden fruit dangling from the trees limp and lifeless. Silent. Hushed. Tortured.
Eyes no longer innocent from the sights they have seen.
Things they have heard. Scared. So the eyes run away to save what's left.
Sweeping hardships and scars under the shelf.
And now that they're older. No longer beady and hard but wide and open.
The box holding the memorabilia of all those memories. 
All those tears. All that strife..
Can be opened an explored as part of the history of life.
And the mystery of forgiveness and delivery.

-An Inspired Listener

An image of Adam Falkner found at this website
Adam Falkner uses a variety of different kinds of literary devices in his works; for example doggerel. The definition of a doggerel is comic verse composed in irregular rhythm. He makes fun of the things he did when he was younger in a way that lightens the seriousness of his poem "The Definition of Privilege". He talks about how in his younger years he rebelled and began to change the way he acted and began to abandon the way he acted "By quitting classical piano lessons and growing my hair out". By doing this the audience he presented to was able to laugh and really appreciate the story he was telling and not just the poem aspect of his performance. He also used amplification. By definition amplification means an addition of extra material or illustration or clarifying detail. An example of amplification can be found in all of his work; as he does use excess detail to create depth and meaning in his poetry. A piece of poetry which can be found on his website here he writes in line 15  
He falls to the rough carpet in tears, Bangs his head
Like a racket ball against the metal shoe-sizer on the floor,
Whimpers in a heap like a kicked dog.
He truly paints the picture of this boy in the shoe story through his diction as well and use of imagery.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

      A very honorable thing that I personally admire about the way that Adam Falkner writes is amplified in his work "The Definition of Privilege". In the recording of his performance of this piece he first talked a little about what he thought about in order to write this piece and different ways he uses to find something to write about. He says he thinks about the silences. Aspects of either his life, his environment, or his feelings that he doesn't speak about. Then he asks himself why he doesn't write about his. What makes it uncomfortable. How he feels about it. Then reflecting on those thoughts he writes; which resulted in the production of his piece "The Definition of Privilege", which is a reflection about racism, about why he chooses to act the way he does, and flashbacks to different moments of his life. By utilizing the literary device of flashbacks he increases interest in his poem by walking through his life and showing the progression of this pressing issue and it's affects throughout several different time periods of his life. In the beginning of the Poem he opens with a story about some of his childhood friends Nathan and Davis. From the poem an audience may assume that Nathan and Davis are African American. Falkner  talks about how he, Nathan, and Davis were walking and Nathan and Davis were treated unfairly and brutally while Adam and his other Caucasian friends were left alone, to watch, while they were around the age of 9. By showing this large contrast between himself and Nathan and Davis he creates a foil. By making this contrast he gets his point across easily and obviously. "The Definition of Privilege" was defined by the end of his poem by a teacher who asked him why the fact that he was white bothered him. He replied by saying that he wasn't bothered by the fact that he was white; but then he changed his mind and said that he never had to think about. His teacher then replied," Not having to think about it sounds like an amazing privilege". This poem was both moving and true.

-An Inspired Listener
Theres something about the sound of two voices in unison...
Two tunes being blended into the sound of one, connected, purposefull and thoughtfully. 
It's so beautiful and meaningful.
Eyes play tricks on the mind because though I see two I hear one. And I know that there are no new thoughts under the sun so I know...since this meek world has begun I haven't been the only one...to think what I have thought or do the things that I have done.
There's something about the connection between two peoples experiences...
They show so many things, they show that they're not alone; though they've outgrown, the warm musky arms protected by the tufted black hair of a father figure. 
You're not alone. You're not unloved. Because theirs someone in this world. Whether they're taking your coffee order, standing in front of you in line, pushing past you on the street...but someone.
And they're going through it...just like you.
There's something about the touch of another human.
The brush of fingers, the clasp of those knuckle-breaking handshakes, the feel of wandering fingers that sends messages to the brain. They whisper, "Hello, I know you've been alone in there but just let me ease the pain because I can and I will. The time that we will spend together will mend your heart again I'm able to promise that; I can and I will. You just need this moment, you just need these minutes, you just need this acclimation of momentary love and that heart. That broken heart. The heart that all those past lovers left on the curb to dry will be flooded with the feeling of belonging. Of love. I can and I will." That's what those tender fingers whisper. And people often listen. People too often give in.
There's something about the words thank you...
Words uttered so often, so unmistakable so commonly these hidden subtleties.
Thank you.
To the past I've been delivered from that people may never know
Thank you.
To the person that bumped me in the street knocked me into an abyss of confusion and frustration through their words, through their looks, through their actions. And even though I may try and fight back through a poisoned and uncontrollable tongue lashing the ugly words I swore to my mother I'd never use from the bottom of my heart..
I say Thank you.


- An Inspired Listener
And this is Adam.
 His last unmistakable prayer, his frame. 
Straightforward he's naked no need for clothes to cover his shame.
 Bearing his soul for the world to see. 
Through his metaphors, imagery, and use of simile.
 His voice so rhythmic and mesmerizing the room is silent.
 When he’s speaking and telling his story the room is silent.
 Painting the picture of his hard life growing up with a parent caught up in the world’s strife, illuminating the details of his life, the air could be cut with a knife...the room is silent. 
He doesn’t dress dazzled up to impress. 
No hand made suit or tuxedo dress. 
A black shirt is what he wears against the back-drop of white all you see is him.
 All you hear is him.
 He’s no average Tom, Jake, or Jim.
 This is Adam.
He stands tall and raises his voice. 
No tremble or fumble with the diction of his word choice.
 He stands strong like a triumphant soldier after his battle is won.
He spews out the most beautiful story.
About his life and his glory.
And it all started with him thinking underneath stars as everyday people can do.
Me and you.
Can look up at the stars and realize the things we need and feel like a fresh clean table that's finally been uncovered. 
Ourselves have been discovered.
What we've had and what we've lost, all by sitting under the stars some time and thoughts are the only cost.

-An Inspired Listener
        Through research of Adam Falkner, I've learned that he has many talents and accomplishments worth recognition. One of these being the start of his own non-profit organization, called The Dialogue Arts Project", which would help countless high school students in need of new ways to express themselves. His goal is to generate dialogue about hard topics and conversations through creative writing and performing arts. Adam Falkner has seen the benefits and progress in his own class of students in Brooklyn and is now working to help other students through his developing program, and the curriculum he has built.
        How the curriculum is set up is that artists, performance poets, or just a special speaker in general (who creatively expresses themselves) would do so by presenting a work which they have written speaking about their social identity. After the presentation students/ participants would be given half an hour to reflect and freely write about a social identity of their own. After the time has elapsed and participants have had time to reflect about the piece they'd written the large group is brought back together and are given the opportunity to share their pieces to the group. From there, the program ultimately results in conversations about who one's self identity is and more self-reflection about the choices we've made and our lives and how they've all led up to where we are now.
      Without being asked "Where have your choices gotten you?" or "Why do you think you are where you are?" All these questions are achieved without asking them, but just by asking students to sit down, and think. Adam Falkner truly believes that through these conversations that much more can be achieved, especially with the help of the arts; and I couldn't agree more! Especially because I myself have had the benefit of participating in this workshop and enjoyed it thoroughly and hope that more students will have the chance to be touched by his words and his gift.

- An Inspired Listener

Learn more about this wonderful program by clicking here!