Monday, March 3, 2008

Margaret Gibson's "Newspaper Photograph"

1. Gibson, Margaret. "Newspaper Photograph." One Body Poems. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2007. 23-24.
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2. This poem describes the speaker's sight and consequent interpretation of a modern newspaper photograph depicting the tradition associated with migrant women carrying stones in an Indian quarry. The seemingly serenity and beauty of the photo turns when the speaker realizes the desolation and daily torment that this labor puts the women through. In the end, the speaker asks God to help her see, recognizing that all images have a purpose.

3. The striking imagery is what drew my attention to this poem, depicting the most minute details in the most beautiful manner. Having heard it read aloud by Margaret Gibson herself, I felt the passion which responded to each carefully choosen word used to describe that rudimentary but necessary tradition. When the poem transitions towards the broader scope of sight, it concretes the sense that everything happens for a reason. As a result, the reader feels enlightened and at ease with the up and downs of life.

4. Margaret Gibson's "Newspaper Photograph" is comparable to Keat's "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles." The hardships associated with the life and death of humanity are clearly presented in both poems. Whereas, Keats' speaker has to deal with each "imagined pinnacle (line 3)" moving towards his or her inevitable death, Gibson's Indian women must overcome their daily affliction to "make a wheel: wheel of life and death (line 20)" Keats' speaker struggles with the inability to become immoral like the Elgin Marbles, but consequently becoming immortilized by this poem. The Indian women are indirectly immortilized through the continuous cycle of tradition, the newspaper photograph and Gibson's poem. After reading Keats' structured sonnet, the reader has a sense of confusion, ultimately asking why such different concepts are linked together. Whereas, after ready Gibson's poem, the reader has a clear understanding of how the story of the Indian women is linked to a greater understanding of the present vision and how it affects the future.

Keats, John. "On Seeing the Elgin Marbles." The Norton Introduction to Poetry. J. Paul Hunter, Alison Booth, and Kelly J. Mays. 9th edition. New York: Norton, 2007. 344.

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