Literature

The Love Series: “We Real Cool”

When you think about poems that talk about love, I am sure this Gwendolyn Brooks poem is not the one that comes to mind. It is more rhythmic, jazz-inspired, and atmospheric. It does not make you think about intimate love; it makes you think of hanging with your very best friends being cool. That is precisely why I think it is a love poem.

I am especially interested in the subject ‘We’ in this poem. The ‘We’ provides the atmosphere, the rhythm, the pacing of the experience. 

I like this unifying idea of an ‘us.’ What is it about ‘us’ being together that makes it cool? Are we cool all on our own? Does getting together make a particular rhythm and establish a certain atmosphere that is cool?

The thing about love is that it involves two selves who become a ‘We.’ Most importantly, ‘We’ does not only mean our sexual selves. Sisters, brothers, friends, parents, family, and so on can compose a ‘We.’ Anyone you see as a part of your unit, someone that composes you and your experience in this world, is the ‘We’ that is cool.

I think it is a love poem about finding that unit, a group of people whom you can freely experience life with. 

Here is the poem:

We real cool. We
Left school. We

Lurk late. We
Strike straight. We

Sing sin. We
Thin grin. We

Jazz June. We
Die soon.

Gwendolyn Brooks. Blacks. Third World Chicago Press, Chicago, ILL. 1987. pp. 331
Books, Writing

What is Your Theme for 2019?

I have a theme for the year, something that I will work on as the year progresses. I decided on “love” as a theme. This may seem hokey, but I spend a lot of time alone and largely invisible to most people; however, I think about relations and relationships quite a bit, including the relationship that I have with myself.

So, my exploration of love means finding ways to love life and work even when I feel completely over it all. Finding ways to love people is, of course, at the top of the list, but also finding a way to love change, uncertainty, and weakness.

I have decided to do this by increasing my reading, or rather, changing what I read on a regular basis. As an English professor who primarily works in Cultural Studies and Critical Theory, most of my reading is historical, philosophical, and theoretical in nature. I rarely have time for fiction. Yet, I have a bookcase full of fiction books, so I have decided to give them my full attention.

Fiction can teach us a lot about love. Of course, experience is the best teacher, but I am more interested in how we conceive of love. How do we understand it, talk about it, or think about it?

And from love, especially self-love, what makes a relationship? From there, what makes a community, a region, a society, and so on. Books can be very instructive here.

My first book of choice: Thomas Moore’s Utopia. I have not finished it yet, but so far I can say that the man was a master of the dependent clause. His sentences are long, really long. However, the book is really short, about 80 or so pages. I will do a write up on it later.

Another thing I would like to do, specifically with this blog, is include poetry. Since my theme is love, I thought it would be fun to go on a love journey through poetry. I will post daily poems that make me think of love or demonstrate love in some way.

If you have any recommendations, send them my way!

-K

Uncategorized

Happy New Year

2018 is finally behind us. While I recognize that some probably had a great year, I found the year to be deeply troubling, personally and professionally.

I’m glad it’s gone.

Hopefully, there will be no repeats.

I look forward to 2019, to new beginnings and do-overs. Deciding to leave things behind (when it is possible) is such a wonderful thing. Looking forward to what is possible is equally wonderful.

For this year, I have but one goal: to be unapologetically creative, artistic. That’s my goal. I plan to write like a fiend and to be unapologetic about what comes out. This has been my life-long dream, and now it is time to make it happen.

Let’s go! Happy New Year, everyone!

-K

blog

Do You Ask Questions During Your Job Interview?

I have a job interview today for an instructor position at a great university in a great location. In my preparations for the job, I have been trying to anticipate the types of questions the interviewers would ask, and fortunately, it is not too difficult to find a variety of interview questions via a quick Google search. From there, it is not too difficult to get a sense of the kind of questions that interviewers will ask.

While doing my Google search, I started thinking about the tone of a job interview. Interviewees can absolutely set the tone of an interview. In fact, they should. Interviewees should always want to give the impression that he or she wants to actively participate in their working environment. Participating in an interview means anticipating the interview questions and asking questions about the culture of the workplace.

At the end of every interview, there is always that moment when the interviewee has the opportunity to ask questions of their prospective employer. Too many interviewees let the moment pass without asking any questions, and that is not a good idea.

A job is where we will spend a good portion of our day. It is a good idea to know a bit about the company environment before accepting the position. Knowing what questions to ask are important, so while prepping for a job interview, job candidates should take some time to think about what questions they need to ask of the interviewer. These questions can range from how companies evaluate and measure success to what type of challenges a new hire might face.

Here are some of my favorite sites and articles that give great tips and sample questions that interviewees can use:

While there is some overlap in the questions that each article recommends, they all offer great insight into why these questions can help the interviewee know if their prospective employer is a good fit.

In any case, take the time to prepare for the job interview and, most importantly, prepare for the place you are going to spend a good deal of time. Make sure it is somewhere you want to be.

-K