Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Levine Project

Awesome idea with the icebreaker questions! Reminds me of my recent experience volunteering in middle and high schools these past few semesters. For what it's worth: that is also is one of more rememberable work experiences. Throughout the course of of my volunteer hours, I have gained a greater appreciation for building relationships through informal questions that aim to find out crucial details about people that are oftentimes overlooked. For me, when I need musical motivation, I can always turn to The Roots. Currently, my anthem of choice is Walk Alone. 

Regarding Question #4: After reading Levine's What Work Is, I would describe the image that the speaker conveys as distinctly Detroit and, as a result, Americana in all it's splendid glory. Whereas Whitman's Song of Myself delivers what I believe is the image of New York, I believe that Levine's poem illustrates America through the cultural eye of the heartland of the United States. 

After perusing through the suggested photos, the following two images stood out for me:  

For me, what these images represent is something that neither Walt or Levine has been able to convey to me in any of the poems that I have read thus far: the despair and sense of being a part of the history of a nation that continues to overlook and misrepresent you. Similar handwriting can been seen scribbled on the walls of buildings in images following Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana. "God has left Detroit" is the poem that captures the essence of the images.  As of last year, during my last visit, I can only assume that whomever the god is that whomever the speaker was referring to still hasn't returned based strictly on my observations. So what does it all mean? Honestly, I don't know. Here is a link of one of my favorite poets lamenting on Detroit following a series of accidents at nuclear power plants in the heartland of the United States. 


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  2. The Roots!! When I thought about what song gives ME motivation, I thought of How I Got Over, The Day, Kool On, Mellow My Man, Clones... list goes on. The Roots are too good.

    I first heard that Gil-Scott song when I found out Kanye sampled it for 'The People' by Common. It's really great. Just to be fair to Levine though, I think if you did read more of Levine's work (beyond our suggestions), you might find that he does touch on despair and misrepresentation, usually in reference to the working class he was raised around.

  3. Ken, would you believe it if I said that the importance of icebreakers dawned on me just last year when I took a year off to volunteer at an Oakland middle school through an AmeriCorps program? My co-workers and I used to run an after school program and we would use icebreakers to not only help us transition into whatever lesson/activity we had that day, but to help students realize how they had many things in common with one another (but also enough differences that they had things to teach one another).

    Thank you for sharing that link to "We Almost Lost Detroit".

    "That when it comes to people's safety
    money wins out every time."

    Definitely captured in Andrew Moore's photos. Big corporations come in, do what they want, and then leave destruction in their wake.