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Week Two: Amanda Gorman’s Call Us What We Carry Read-a-Long

For this 2nd week, we read the 3rd and 4th sections: Earth Eyes and Memoria.

Here are a few questions to get us started:

  • In Earth Eyes, what do you see are the main themes and how do they relate to the collection’s title, Call Us What We Carry?
  • Gorman has a lot of visual forms for her poems, how do they impact your enjoyment of the poems?
  • In Memoria, what do you think Gorman is saying about memory and the act of remembering?
  • What are some of your favorite lines or poems in these two sections?

I’ll be monitoring the comments and replying throughout the weekend. Can’t wait to see what everyone thinks.

Comments

  1. I admit that I liked the first sections better than these two. I still found some poignant lines and enjoyed the overall flow, and I liked the bit of narrative-style in the poem dealing with racism and disease names and response. I felt that really emphasized the points she was making. But this section had a little too much of this word means this and then this; the repetitive aspect of that distracted me.

    These are the lines I enjoyed most in this section:

    From “Lucent”
    “Our scars are the brightest/Parts of us.”
    (I just thought that was beautiful)

    From “Alarum”
    “Listen. We are the loud toll / on this planet. / Our future needs us / alarmed. Man is a myth / in the making.”
    (However, I found all the slashes in this poem distracting and not sure if it added to the meaning. Maybe I just missed it?)

    The poem where she compared animal behavior in captivity to humans in COVID lockdown was interesting as well. There was A LOT going on in this section. And I think I might have enjoyed it more had I sat with the poems and pondered them more.

  2. I love the lines “we stalked ourselves for days in our own house,/Absolutely abulic, incessantly incensed” as much as I dislike the hyperbole of the following lines (“we chewed our nails to the knuckles,/Ground our teeth to stardust”). I also like the form of “Captive,” with the inserted descriptions of behaviors demonstrated by animals in captivity.
    My favorite poem so far is “Who We Gonna Call,” because it starts with a hint of humor and explores what humans make of memory. I certainly agree (note my blog title) that “if we are to summon/anyone or anything,/Let it be our tender selves.”

    • I liked “Captive” also, but the visual form for “Pan” just seemed unnecessary. I thought the visual form of “Earth Eyes” was interesting, but I’m also not sure it lent anything of significance to the poem itself.

      I think “Memoria” is the stronger of the two sections here, with lines like “trauma is like a season, deep & dependable, a force we/board our windows against/” and “poke the scar until it speaks./This is how memory starts.//” I like how she’s looking at scars and trauma that we repeatedly poke, almost to see if we are still alive, rather than living our own lives.

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