Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Big Cheese: Chevre & Other High End Goat Cheese

It's been awhile since I explored the world of cheese through the outlet of Caponomics, but I have done my best to keep up and active with cheese as much as I possibly could. I finally got to visit Murray's (even if it was the one at Grand Central Terminal) and had such an excellent experience that I had to give them my business at buy at least a quarter of a pound. Next time, whether I visit the one in Grand Central Terminal or on Bleaker Street, I'm going to engage in some more tasting and I'm going to buy more. Before I talk about the cheese I got to taste, I shall shift the topic of discussion and talk about goat cheese. If it's the proper kind of goat cheese, it can be an absolute treat and play an excellent partner to plenty of simple snacks. On many of occasions, however, it falls slightly short since it's not the right make. That's where things will get exciting when it comes to pointing out what you should and should not get.

I'm almost positive that with every notion I made about cheese, simple terms are worse. For instance, "Swiss" cheese is the least Swiss of Swiss cheeses and that Emmentaler is "the original Swiss." Then you have American cheese that is processed, thus does not qualify. Goat cheese follows the same notion as Swiss cheese. When you buy goat cheese as GOAT CHEESE, it's in a longer package and cheaper than a smaller package that goes under a different name, such as Chevre. The goat cheese labeled as "goat cheese," however, is not as delicious. It's much pastier and flavorless as something in the class of a Chevre. Just as plenty of aspects in life, bigger is not better and that great things do come in small packages.

As for Chevre, while you're spending more money and getting less to the package, it's delicious. The best possible pairing (in my mind) is with a slice of bread, preferably Italian. It plays an excellent fill-in to butter or cream cheese, depending on what role you want it to. Again, we as a society have defined cream cheese as the CREAM CHEESE. Chevre is a soft, creamy cheese as well and the goat milk base allows it to stand out so that the flavor is subtle, but this allows it to rightfully serve its purpose. Honey is often used as a partner to Chevre, but someone who enters cheese tasting with a very simple mind like myself can go either way. Chevre stands just fine on its own.

Chevre is not the consistent cheese for somebody who has a low budget, but it's a cheese that should be looked upon every so often in order to provide a reasonable treat for the household of one or more. As butter and cream cheese have become preserved to great extents due to massive sales, Chevre wouldn't be a bad alternate on occasion due to what probably features a more natural base, as you would find it in the section of imported cheeses by the Delicatessen as oppose to the dairy section next to several of the prepacked one. Its smooth, creamy pairing should provide you with such a delightful side at any time of the day and I'm sure it'll be satisfactory.

Every two months or so, I encourage you to change things up and lean your attention away from bread and butter or a bagel and cream cheese and look at small slices of Italian bread and Chevre for a delicious consumption. In France, goat cheese is quite a staple, and Chevre, a major goat cheese for them, is bound to be taken seriously. It should see the same kind of notion in America and across the globe as well.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Literary Gladiators: Coming In February

I mentioned in my Christmas post that I was working on a literary web show that I thought up after being inspired by the discussions that were held in American Literature class. The only major difference would be that instead of a moderator coming up with various ideas that we would add in to, the moderator would have the simple task of introducing the topic in the form of a question that a panel of four English majors would answer to the best of their ability. From there, I constructed what would be a first season containing just so many episodes that we would release weekly. Well, ladies and gentlemen, we filmed a pilot and ten episodes, we plan on filming an additional segment toward the end of the month, and on Tuesday, February 11th, we plan on going viral!

My original plan was to invite my American Literature instructor to serve as the moderator, but that didn't fall through, so we found a friend that expressed enough interest to attend each of our gatherings to which we filmed the pilot and ten episodes. We're going to call him "Mr. Moderator," for he spends the series behind the camera and feeding us our questions that we feast on each episode. While American Lit I and II inspired me environment wise, I was also inspired by my chemistry with two students from each class respectively. Jim from the first class has expressed a lot of wit and charisma, and he's one of the most intelligent individuals you will ever set your mind to. He doesn't hold back any punches and I cannot promise you he will remain clean. In my second class, I attended with Charlie, who's going to be the lovable goofball of the series. In addition to his regular status on the panel along with Jim and I, he is also the musical director who will come up with the opening. To quench his love for drumming, Charlie opens up each show with a drum routine that is bound to change each episode. I should mention that Charlie as loves cookies and vacuum cleaners.

When I brought the idea up to Jim, he told me I should stop talking about it and start acting upon it, providing me with enough confidence to move forward with the web show, which would be deemed Literary Gladiators. Aside from Jim, Charlie, and I, we thought about bringing in a rotating guest that will sit alongside us each episode. On that note, we will be bringing in Christine, Nicole, and Brianna. Christine, in addition to appearing in plenty of episodes, has been deemed the video coordinator. She's in charge of anything having to do with uploading videos and editing them so they look good. She's also the only one that can prohibit Charlie from eating cookies while filming. With Nicole and Brianna, you have someone that has a feisty, fiery personality for literature and someone who has a thorough range in literary work, especially Transcendentalism.

As for my role, aside from appearing on the panel, I am also the creative director, arranging sessions, material, and panelists. I do take suggestions from those who are interested (Jim has plenty) and fit rotating guests into the episodes they feel works best for them. After all was said and done, we came up with this lineup for season one...

"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost (The Pilot)
"Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
"Preface to a Twenty-Volume Suicide Note" by Amiri Baraka
"Araby" by James Joyce
The Stranger by Albert Camus
"We Are Seven" by William Wordsworth
Ragged Dick by Horatio Alger
"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg
The Poetry of Emily Dickinson
Emerson vs. Thoreau
The Work That Inspired you to Become a Literary Enthusaist

This may be the order of release as well, but that will be to be determined. If the first season comes off as a success, we hold high interest in taping a much larger second season. We're already deciding what we plan on discussing and how many and which rotating guests we plan on having on the show.

Literary Gladiators will release new episodes on Tuesdays for eleven weeks (the first week will likely have two). If you enjoy reading my posts (especially the literary based posts) on my blog, you should enjoy watching what I have to say. I'll upload the episodes as they release and I encourage you to subscribe. I will provide updates as they come about.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Happy Old Rock Day

Just about any day can be viewed as a holiday. Of course they will never see the status of being federal holidays to the point that everything closes down for their observance (unfortunately for Star Wars fans, that means May 4th will not be a date in which businesses close so that all of their employees are able to watch all six films in whichever order they wish). However, they can be promoted for those who may take a bit of time out of their busy schedule to observe it. For those who have nothing else to do during the day are also welcome to observe the holiday and take all they can get out of it. Perhaps we shall start a trend and my fellow bloggers can randomly write about the holiday that occurs on this date during the year.

Today is January 7th. That means it's... Old Rock Day!!!

Old Rock Day refers to the rocks that you see on the streets, in the yard, in parks, on the beach... that kind of rock and not the genre of music. Old Rock Day provides you with an opportunity to explore nature in a fashion that you don't always engage, which means taking your time as you walk outside instead of just treat the outdoors as your one-way ticket to your next destination. Of course, on a day like this, perhaps the overall coldest day since I don't know when, it is incredibly difficult to participate in a holiday such as Old Rock Day. There are individuals that are fascinated with rocks and what they have to offer, but anybody that can care less will not hold a bit of encouragement to participate.

Those into archaeology or paleontology should definitely be all over this holiday, for Old Rock Day points heavily to ones interest in fossils. The fossil is what remains of animals that were around during the prehistoric era and is crucial in research on dinosaurs, even if we say that animals such as lizards and birds have relative connections to the dinosaur. Even on a nippy day where the wind is cutting your skin like a knife, those who are fascinated with prehistoric research would be out in this weather as they continue to expand on their vast knowledge on dinosaurs and prehistoric creatures. If they knew today was Old Rock Day, they may be placed on the spot to engage in some more research just to keep up with the impression and say that they were on the ball.

A topic of interest would be this: Who were the creators of this holiday targeting when they created Old Rock Day during a time that is usually cold to the point that most people would want to go outside and observe this holiday in the fashion it was meant to be observed? If this holiday was created in a country such as Australia, it may garner a lot of attention from individuals who are going out in what is now their summer. If this holiday was being celebrated in Florida, they may be interested. Those who aren't consistently interested in rocks or prehistoric times will probably not hold interest in going out in the heart of winter to look at rocks. If they pretend to be interested, they'll pick up a rock, examine it, put it down, and call it a day. Their interest in dinosaurs would likely be minimal.

Chances are Old Rock Day will only be celebrated by those who have rock collections, are geology fanatics, or are into archaeology and paleontology. There's a better chance you'll be seeing people celebrating Tempura Day, a foodie holiday that satisfies their tastes and today seems to be the kind of day in which they're stuffing themselves. Why not eat some deep fried fish???

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

My Ten Favorite Short Stories

When taking Creative Writing class, I was known for pointing out that I'm a prose person. I write more and read more prose than I do poetry or plays, as the three make up the most broad genres in the bunch (and no, I have no plans on creating a list of my ten favorite plays... or at least not yet). If creating a list of my ten favorite poems was an intriguing task, creating a list of my ten favorite short stories was much easier, even if it was still intriguing. The difficult part was deciding what I should include and what I should leave out for the time being.

Like my list of favorite poems, these will be in no particular order and will include spoilers to the degree that they are used to describe what this story truly means. Some of these stories were introduced to me through school (middle school, high school, or college), while others were introduced on my own time. I highly recommend 75 Short Masterpieces edited by Roger Goodman, which holds plenty of excellent pieces from world literature that happen to appear on this list. I also named it the tenth best book I read in 2012. Some of these other stories can be found in anthologies from various authors or simple short story collections from individual authors.

Anyway, here we go with the list...

"The Monkey's Paw" by W.W. Jacobs- I love a story that will leave you thinking even when it's come to an end. "The Monkey's Paw" is the quintessential story to which you're left wondering, "was he or wasn't he?" in a story that reminds you that it's not very smart to play with fate. Mr. and Mrs. White and their son, Herbert, are enjoying a nice evening, even during a rough period of time when a man comes to their door with a monkey's paw that gives them three wishes. They wish for a certain amount of money and it happens to come out of Herbert's compensation when he's killed in a factory accident. The second wish is to bring Herbert back, but just as they're about to let the figure (presumably Herbert) in, Mr. White wishes him dead. This story provides me with such an afterthought that to this day I'm continuing to figure out, but that's exactly what Jacobs wants me to do. The fact that he's achieved such a feat is brilliant!

"A Sound of Thunder" by Ray Bradbury- Bradbury is one of my favorite authors of all time. I read four of his novels and plenty of his short stories and enjoyed all of them thoroughly. As I mentioned in my list of favorite books for 2013, I also said I would reread Fahrenheit 451 in order to provide myself with a clear opinion on a modern day classic. What Bradbury did so well was feed us "what if" thoughts that provide the reading experience with much more excitement and "A Sound of Thunder" was among his best. Here, he writes about a hunter who goes back into time to hunt dinosaurs. The only issue he has is there's a butterfly on his shoe that he accidentally kills, leading to drastic changes that include weird misspellings to our standard when he returns to the present day. Bradbury plays on what is known as "the butterfly effect," in which any minor change that is made during the past changes everything regarding what is to follow. The way that this story plays on such a concept is highly impressive and very much thought provoking. A high school teacher of mine recommended that I read this and a rightful recommendation indeed. This should definitely be a part of an ideal English lesson plan.

"The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Allan Poe- I was introduced to Poe and this piece of madness back in seventh grade and have enjoyed the work of Poe ever since. Being a writer from the horror background, this happens to be one of my favorite short story pieces from a writer that has played initial influence in the horror genre. This 1840s tale is told by an insane man who kills an old man, because of his evil eye. While he's easily able to hide the evidence, his beating heart exposes him to the police. The fascinating thing about this story is that it could have very well been created as a "what if." While taking a trip to the Edgar Allan Poe Museum in Philadelphia, I learned that like many of people during the era, people would have a piece cut out of their floorboards to put their money. Poe may have thought to himself, "what if I chopped up a dead body and put the remains in a space beneath the floorboard?" This is the piece that made me an Edgar Allan Poe fan as well as the piece that introduced me to real horror fiction.

"A Hunger Artist" by Franz Kafka- Becoming an English major has introduced me to plenty of fascinating authors, but there are few that are more fascinating than Kafka. Kafka was a tortured soul who lived under his tyrannical father who did not see much in him, which led Kafka into lacking self-confidence. His most notable work, "The Metamorphosis," touches on a man becoming what he feels and living under his father's shame. By the end of his life, he became influenced by two ideas: his Judaism that he longed to pursue and the tuberculosis that would kill him. "A Hunger Artist" was one of his last works and it centered around a man who held an exhibit to which he wouldn't eat for forty days, which touches up on the idea of fasting. However, he feels hopeless about life and staves himself to death, admitting that the reason he didn't eat was because there was nothing that appealed to him. Individuals with tuberculosis are unable to swallow food, which may have led to either using "A Hunger Artist" as a method to console or as a pipeline to such an idea. There was actually an art of hunger artistry that was being practiced earlier on where people would exhibit themselves starving to the general public. The brilliant thing about Kafka's work is that many of his shorter works mirrored the man he was and how much he continued to hurt.

"Charles" by Shirley Jackson- Most readers know Shirley Jackson for her short work "The Lottery," which is often studied for its irony. My favorite work from her happens to be "Charles," for it conveys the childhood psychosis of imagination. In this story, everyday after school, a young boy named Laurie comes home and tells his mother stories about a fellow student in his class named Charles and how he's always causing trouble. When the mother finally goes to their "back to school night," the teacher mentions how Laurie's struggling, but he's beginning to get better and that she should see improvement. When the mother brings up a Charles, the teacher mentions there isn't a Charles in the class, leading us to believe that Laurie misbehaved during class and made up a boy named Charles to shift the negative attention away. Since reading it back in middle school and then again on my own time, "Charles" continues to stick into my head. Quite a clever little way for Shirley Jackson to convey the perks of raising a child!

"Button, Button" by Richard Matheson- Along with Bradbury, Matheson is a master in creating the "what if" story. Matheson was known for I Am Legend and The Shrinking Man, but his work "Button, Button" has also made its way into the household entertainment of today's individuals. A few years ago, a movie titled The Box came out and was based on "Button, Button." In this story, a woman has the opportunity to press a button. If see presses it, she will receive a large sum of money, but a random person she does not know will be killed. This story holds one of the greatest twists to come about in literature that plays like an ideal episode of The Twilight Zone. So many discussion points can come out of the idea of such a story, which is exactly what an author is trying to accomplish as he writes. Matheson does just that, as he does on several other occasions as well.

"The Lottery Ticket" by Ventura Garcia Calderon- Is 75 Short Masterpieces the only place I would be able to find this excellent, frequently overlooked short story by Calderon? When I checked, Calderon doesn't even have an English Wikipedia page, which must mean he is highly unfamiliar in America. This story should definitely not be overlooked, for it captures the honesty behind prejudice and how others perceive what society sees as "fun." In this piece, during a bullfighting event, a lottery is being held to which the winner will walk away with a gorgeous woman. The winner happens to be a minority that chooses to rip the ticket up as a sign of "sticking it to society." The crowd is outraged and goes after him. Reading this always provides you with the feeling of getting even with that dominating force that scolds you from not being of the crowd. In this case, it's a close examination of how minorities are treated and how they would react to such poor treatment. If you haven't read this, definitely read it!

"The Open Boat" by Stephen Crane- "The Open Boat" is a key piece for two driving factors in literature: naturalism and circumstantial irony. Four men are on a small boat out in the middle of stormy tides, just longing to make it to land so they will find the opportunity to live out their lives. On the boat are the Correspondent, Captain, Cook, and Oiler (named Billy). With the Captain injured, the Oiler and Correspondent do most of the labor, which leads to the conclusion of when they finally fall into the water and are required to swim to shore. You would think that all of them would die or all of them would survive, but it's the most able of the men, the Oiler, that is too exhausted to swim to shore and washes onto the shore dead. Behind such a story is an element of naturalism to the highest degree, proving that nature is indifferent and does not hold preference or bias to any one individual or group of individuals. In "The Open Boat," what happened is what happened, which is what led to the circumstantial irony of losing the person we least expected to lose.

"The Queen of Spades" by Alexander Pushkin- When I began reading Russian Literature, I learned about Pushkin and immediately took a liking to his work. Pushkin was a driving force in defining Russian Literature as Russian Literature, through both poetry and prose. In "The Queen of Spades," a man accepts an offer to play a game of cards in which the three cards he predicts will pop up in a specific order will pop up, as he said, in that specific order. This is a relatively intriguing piece, especially for the readers that also enjoy playing cards.

"The Boy Who Drew Cats" by Lafcadio Hearn- A mother dreams one day that her son will become a priest or do something with his life, but all he wants to do is draw cats. Having enough of such an idea, the boy is taken away to possibly become use to society, which he ultimately achieves through his drawing of cats. Hearn's short story provides an important moral in which everybody holds importance in society, even if it's the kookiest idea such as being an artist that likes to draw cats. Perhaps they may play a specific use to society in a supernatural way.

A good short story is like a small serving of cheese: both have the potential of making a strong impact even if they are smaller than the real deal. While a short story is far from a novel that you'll pick up in a complete package, you can definitely come out of reading such a piece with the same reaction you would with a novel. I would definitely check out these short stories, most ideally in an anthology of different authors or through individual authors. I hope to read some more short stories to the point I can come up with another list promoting more of the best short reads.

My Ten Favorite Poems

I want to start by wishing everybody a happy, healthy, and safe new year! I am quite excited to see what 2014 has to offer and I hope to use this year to climb up the ladder toward making my dreams come true, which includes much more writing. While my goal is to increase my fiction writing, I also hope to submit much more to my blog, for last year I was able to submit 70 posts, which was more than 2012 (53 posts), but definitely not as much as 2011 (115 posts). While I cannot promise that I'll surpass the 2011 record, I'll do my best to write more than I did in 2012 and 2013. My goal is to reach 250 posts by the first quarter of the year and perhaps 300 posts by the end. What I will mention is that I may possibly separate my updates about my fiction writing from this blog in the event that I feel that my column writing affects my fictional writing in any way, shape, or form.

Now for the meat of the post, if there's anything I brought from 2013 and hope to expand into 2014, it's my pleasure for poetry. I used to dread poetry when I was in high school and even during the early years of college. Until I discovered free writing poets, such as Allen Ginsberg, that placed just about anything that brought their point across on a piece of paper, I wasn't fond of writing poetry, for it's not a topic I was able to grasp and am still making an effort to grasp. Since taking American Literature at my college and getting into a friend of mine's work, I found a craving for it and have gained an interest in expanding on how to analyze it, but at the same time, how to treat poetry as a form of art that is what it is.

My list will include ten of my favorite poems in no particular order and WILL include spoilers. Most of these are either American or British, for those are the cultural backgrounds that I have studied the most poetry. I have started buying books filled with poetry, for I hope to incorporate them into my reading selections as time goes by. These include those based on ideas, cultural background, AND individual authors.

So here I shall begin...

"Howl" by Allen Ginsberg- I mentioned my interest for Ginsberg above and how he just writes what enters his mind and it's poetry. It IS poetry. I was introduced to "Howl" when taking American Literature and while it initially comes off as being outrageous, it delivers a message about a modern mind responds to the constrained government surrounding him. Ginsberg preaches ideas that are way before his time, most notably homosexuality and the sexual interaction they have with one another. Being gay, Ginsberg endorses the idea of such open interaction and makes description to it throughout; and while I don't share his sexual preferences, I share his idea that everyone should have a right to write and describe what they wish. "Howl," named such because it resembles a "howl" for change, depicts that those deemed mad by society actually speak some sense in the mind of Ginsberg and this poem provides them with such a voice.

"We Are Seven" by William Wordsworth- Wordsworth is Britain's Transcendentalist, just as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were to America. Like the American Transcendentalists, Wordsworth believed in many of the same ideas as to what kept this world flowing and what kind of changes society needed to make in order to head in the right direction. While the simplicity of nature is the most common influence for positive thought among Transcendentalists, the simplicity and innocence of children is another. In this poem, a man approaches a young girl who has lost two of her siblings to death. She constantly reminds him that there are seven of them, even if some of them are dead or others may not be present at the current time. The message being conveyed is that while adults seem to over-complicate the little things, children are far more straight-forward and honest, not aware of the different traits they're supposed to pick up in order to come off as more professional. Wordsworth reminds me how children are meant to be seen AND heard, even if it's up to the specific individual to make the final judgment.

"The Starry Night" by Anne Sexton- In a class of confessional poets that includes Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and Elizabeth Bishop, my favorite happens to be Anne Sexton, because of her raw honesty she displays as she writes which at the same time does up go so over the top that it makes the reader want to slam the book down and scream, "ENOUGH ALREADY!!!" "The Starry Night" comes off as a response to Van Gogh's masterpiece, which like most of his paintings, did not garner the necessary recognition until after he died. Last year, I wrote a review for "The Starry Night" and analyzed it as an experience the speaker has as she views the night sky above her in what comes off as being an adventurous, but at the same time, a dreamy experience. It has become one of my most popular posts and I hope that my readers have garnered an inspiration to read this poem on their way or even better, pick up a collection of her complete poems. The way she describes the night sky and how it relates to the thoughts flowing through her head are just so magical. At the same time, this is the mind of a tortured soul that would eventually go on to commit suicide, but as I said with Ginsberg, everybody has a voice.

"The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe- Poe has established himself as a master of horror fiction and the father of the mystery with her Murder at Rue Morgue. Poe is also, however, known for his poetry that ranges from the thoughts flowing through his head to the creepy, horrific pieces he's known for the most. "The Raven" fits into the latter and it was the first poem I can say that I appreciated. When I had to do a report on a poet and write a poem reminiscent to theirs back in middle school, I wrote the report on Edgar Allan Poe and wrote a poem called, "The Pigeon," in the tone of "The Raven." This poem is the quintessential Halloween work that catches the attention of just about any reader, English major, literary enthusiast, horror enthusiast, or anyone that enjoys Halloween. Fitting into the first four (Halloween's not my favorite), I can say that this rings true.

"The Vine" by Robert Herrick- "The Vine" engages in a feat that not many poems have the fortitude to do and that's explore the psychosis of male chauvinism. This poem is a fantasy the narrator's having in which his penis becomes a vine that is used to possess the frail, delicate woman of his dreams. This fantasy continues until he wakes up to an old-fashioned boner. This could be viewed as being disgusting and can cause an outcry to just about every feminist in some way, shape, or form, but at the same time can be viewed as an image of honesty. The fact that this poem is honest and explores what a specific male individual is thinking should trump the fact that it's sexist in every way possible. After all, it's only a fantasy! What should definitely be explored is the creative imagery Herrick uses to describe his genitals and the world around him.

"The Flea" by John Donne- "The Flea" is a creative, but at the same time reasonably concept that people had several hundred years ago when it came to answering the question, "where do babies come from?" Back then, they felt it was due to the co-mingling of blood. In this case, the male and female are both bitten by a flea to the point that their blood co-mingles and they decide to celebrate by having sex. As we all (or hopefully all of us) know, the sex is where the baby comes from. However, this poem explores the flea as the bearer of their unity and the disposal of the flea would mean the disposal of the two, which is where the poem leads. Donne does an excellent job exploring the idea of such a hypothetical connection and the confusion from that period of time, evening if he was writing during THAT time.

"Theme for English B" by Langston Hughes- Of all of the poets that participated in the Harlem Renaissance, my favorite was Langston Hughes. I felt that Hughes wrote about struggles that, while they involved black central characters, could be attributed to just about anyone involved in such a struggle. His "Theme for English B" is a sentimental piece that tells the story of how he writes a piece for his English teacher, describing his background and his dreams. Keep in mind that this was during an era where blacks were not equal to whites and that Hughes is speaking up to his English teacher is a different kind of way. At the same time, it shows how much passion and determination Hughes has even if he was born with skin of a different color. Langston Hughes caught my attention to the point that I decided to buy a collection of his work.

"The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost- There are probably several poems from Frost that could have made it onto this list, but "The Road Not Taken" is his most familiar and is a very good starter for those approaching poetry for the very first time. The poem introduces us to a character faced with a decision between two diverged roads and the question of which road he should take. He goes on to saying that, with a sigh, he took the road less traveled and that has made all of the difference. There are plenty of ideas in this poem that can be interpreted in different ways, most obviously the fact that the "roads" are meant to be choices that we make in our everyday lives. I feel that Frost leaves made of the ideas open-ended for a reason and allow the reader to think about what he's trying to say. I have used this strategy to create interest to my fiction and I feel that Frost is doing the same with regard to having the reader make their own judgment as to what kind of path the speaker took and whether or not it was a good decision.

"Dover Beach" by Matthew Arnold- Arnold does a spectacular job exploring a world that is reflecting the struggle of what mankind has brought forth upon it and continues by saying that while the world faces so many struggles, there is hope and possibility that society has just been unable to find through its many episodes of doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result, pointing to war as the chief cause. The themes in this poem are influential to Ray Bradbury's own ideas when he wrote Fahrenheit 451 as Guy Montag reads this poem to warn his wife and her friends about the dangers society is facing as they move forward in a direction that involves book burning and dependency on their unjust authorities. Montag is deemed as insane to the norm of this society and is driven into the adventure of his life. "Dover Beach" provides a message of the unjust traits of humanity and how it's up to us to make the necessary changes, if we could grasp such as idea.

Nipsey Russell's "Words of Wisdom"- I have this one generalized, because I am not able to select just one poem that Russell uses to convey his ideas. Nipsey Russell was most fondly known for his appearances on game shows and as an attendee of Dean Martin's Celebrity Roasts, to which he would provide "words of wisdom" that were often four lines. Some of these touched on political corruption, programs, intellect, how to live your everyday life, women, and so many more ideas. He was deemed "The Poet Laureate of Television" and even had a game show based on his poetic talents called Rhyme & Reason, where contestants had to fill in the last word that would be given to them after the first two lines. Russell's words of wisdom has always been a vibrant part of my interest for television game shows that would stray into my interest in poetry.

An interest in poetry during 2013 will be something I pick up and take with me into 2014, only to expand this interest and study it to the point that it strengthens my interest in reading, which in turn will strengthen my writing. These poems are among my favorites, not just from this past year, but overall. Of course, I plan on coming up with a new list as I read more poems and analyze them in a deeper fashion, but this is the foundation to what drove me into giving poetry a chance that ultimately became an interest.

Hope 2014 treats everybody well and I'll be excited to engage in some more blogging in the year to come!