Presentation on theme: "The Life and Work of Milton Acorn"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Life and Work of Milton Acorn ByJeff WoPatrick Allaby
2 Biography Born 30 March, 1923, in Charlottetown He is often called Canada’s national poet.Acorn began focusing on writing poetry seriously in 1950.He published his first poetry book in 1956 called “In Love and Anger”Milton Acorn moved around a lot during his writing career.He moved to Montreal, to Toronto, to Vancouver, back to Toronto, then settled in PEI.His writing was likely influenced by the many places he lived and visited.Acorn helped established the alternative newspaper called “The Georgia Strait”
3 Biography (Continued…) Deeply involved in many poetry scenes, but left once they started flourish.Acorn disliked popularity and fame.He was named the “People’s Poet” by a group of his peers.He was awarded the Canadian Poets Award in 1970.Acorn was also honored with the Governor General’s Award in 1975.Acorn died in 1986, from heart disease and diabetes.Two films were made on Acorn’s life and works.
4 Poem SamplesWhat I Know of God is This The Island I’ve Tasted My Blood Live With Me On Earth Under the Invisible Daylight Moon The Natural History of Elephants
5 What I Know Of God is This What I know of God is this: That He has hands, for He touches me. I can testify to nothing else; Living among many unseen beings Like the whippoorwill I'm constantly hearing But was pointed out to me just once. Last of our hopes when all hope's past God, never let me call on Thee Distracting myself from a last chance Which goes just as quick as it comes; And I have doubts of Your omnipotence. All I ask is... Keep on existing Keeping Your hands. Continue to touch me.
6 The IslandQuiet shores -- beaches that roar but walk two thousand paces and the sea becomes an odd shining glimpse among the jeweled zigzag low hills. Any wonder your eyelashes are wings to fly your look both in and out? In the coves of the land all things are discussed. In the ranged jaws of the Gulf, a red tongue. Indians say a musical God took up his brush and painted it, named it in His own language "The Island".Since I'm Island-born home's as precise as if a mumbly old carpenter, shoulder-straps crossed wrong, laid it out, refigured to the last three-eighths of shingle. Nowhere that plowcut worms heal themselves in red loam; spruces squat, skirts in sand or the stones of a river rattle its dark tunnel under the elms, is there a spot not measured by hands; no direction I couldn't walk to the wave-lined edge of home.
7 Live With Me On Earth Under the Invisible Daylight Moon Live with me on Earth among red berries and the bluebirds And leafy young twigs whispering Within such little spaces, between such floors of green, such figures in the clouds That two of us could fill our lives with delicate wanting: Where stars past the spruce copse mingle with fireflies Or the dayscape flings a thousand tones of light back at the sun— Be any one of the colours of an Earth lover; Walk with me and sometimes cover your shadow with mine.
8 The Natural History Of Elephants In the elephant's five-pound brain The whole world's both table and shithouse Where he wanders seeking viandes, exchanging great farts For compliments. The rumble of his belly Is like the contortions of a crumpling planetary system. Long has he roved, his tongue longing to press the juices From the ultimate berry, large as But tenderer and sweeter than a watermelon; And he leaves such signs in his wake that pygmies have fallen And drowned in his great fragrant marshes of turds. In the elephant's five-pound brain The wind is diverted by the draughts of his breath, Rivers are sweet gulps, and the ocean After a certain distance is too deep for wading. The earth is trivial, it has the shakes And must be severely tested, else It'll crumble into unsteppable clumps and scatter off Leaving the great beast bellowing among the stars.
9 In the elephant's five-pound brain Poems are composed as a silent substitute for laughter, His thoughts while resting in the shade Are long and solemn as novels and he knows his companions By names differing for each quality of morning. Noon and evening are ruminated on and each overlaid With the taste of night. He loves his horny perambulating hide As other tribes love their houses, and remembers He's left flakes of skin and his smell As a sign and permanent stamp on wherever he has been. In the elephant's five-pound brain The entire Oxford dictionary'ld be too small To contain all the concepts which after all are too weighty Each individually ever to be mentioned; Thus of course the beast has no language Only an eternal pondering hesitation.In the elephant's five-pound brain Dwarves have an incredible vicious sincerity, A persistent will to undo things. The beast cannot grasp The convolutions of destructqon, always his mind Turns to other things - the vastness of green And of frangibility of forest. If only once he could descend To trivialities he'd sweep the whole earth clean of his tormentors In one sneeze so mighty as to be observed from Mars. In the elephant's five-pound brain Sun and moon are the pieces in a delightfully complex ballgame That have to do with him...never does he doubt The sky has opened and rain and thunder descend For his special ministration. He dreams of mastodons And mammoths and still his pride beats Like the heart of the world, he knows he could reach To the end of space if he stood still and imagined the effort.
10 In the elephant's five-pound brain The pliable trunk's a continuous diversion That in his great innocence he never thinks of as perverse, The pieces of the world are handled with such a thrilling Tenderness that all his hours Are consummated and exhausted with love. Not slow to mate every female bull and baby Is blessed with a gesture grandly gracious and felt lovely Down to the sensitive great elephant toenails. And when his more urgent pricking member Stabs him on its horrifying season he becomes A blundering mass of bewilderment .... No thought But twenty tons of lust he fishes madly for whales And spiders for copulation. Sperm falls in great gouts And the whole forest is sticky, colonies of ants Are nourished for generations on dried elephant semen.In the elephant's five-pound brain Poems are composed as a silent substitute for laughter, His thoughts while resting in the shade Are long and solemn as novels and he knows his companions By names differing for each quality of morning. Noon and evening are ruminated on and each overlaid With the taste of night. He loves his horny perambulating hide As other tribes love their houses, and remembers He's left flakes of skin and his smell As a sign and permanent stamp on wherever he has been. In the elephant's five-pound brain The entire Oxford dictionary'ld be too small To contain all the concepts which after all are too weighty Each individually ever to be mentioned; Thus of course the beast has no language Only an eternal pondering hesitation.
11 In the elephant's five-pound brain Death is accorded no belief and old friends Are continually expected, patience Is longer than the lives of glaciers and the centuries Are rattled like toy drums. A life is planned Like a brushstroke on the canvas of eternity, And the beginning of a damnation is handled With great thought as to its middle and its end.
12 I’ve Tasted My BloodPlaymates? I remember where their skulls roll! One died hungry, gnawing grey porch-planks; one fell, and landed so hard he splashed; and many and many come up atom by atom in the worm-casts of Europe.My deep prayer a curse. My deep prayer the promise that this won't be. My deep prayer my cunning, my love, my anger, and often even my forgiveness that this won't be and be. I've tasted my blood too much to abide what I was born to.If this brain's over-tempered consider that the fire was want and the hammers were fists. I've tasted my blood too much to love what I was born to.But my mother's look was a field of brown oats, soft- bearded; her voice rain and air rich with lilacs: and I loved her too much to like how she dragged her days like a sled over gravel.
13 QuestionsQuestions: What do you perceive in Milton Acorn’s writing? Does it give an eerie morbid effect in the poem? What do you think the theme in the poem is? In your opinion, what does the title “I’ve Tasted my Blood” tell you?
14 I Shout LoveI shout love in a blizzard's scarf of curling cold, for my heart's a furred sharp- toothed thing that rushes out whimpering when pain cries the sign writ on it. I shout love into your pain when skies crack and fall like slivers of mirrors, and rounded fingers, blued as a great rake, pluck the balled yarn of your brain.I shout love at petals peeled open by stern nurse fusion-bomb sun, terribly like an adhesive bandage, for love and pain, love and pain are companions in this age.
15 Poem Analysis: I Shout Love “I Shout Love” is one of the many poems written by Milton Acorn. I believe this poem means the character telling the poem is someone who has broken someone’s heart by lying, or cheating. He who shouts love states his or her heart is a “furred sharp- toothed thing” that rushes out when pain cries. He also feels bad for shouting love into people’s pains. In the end he realizes that love and pain always come together during his age. Assuming he is a person with tight affairs either with family, or a deep relationship. It comes to show you love and pain always comes together.
16 I Shout Love (Continued…) Imagery in the Poem:“my heart’s a furred sharp-toothed thing”This line presents a metaphor which represents the viciousness of love, with the heart.“when skies crack and fall like slivers of mirrors,”A simile describing love when, lying or cheating has already been executed.“rounded fingers, blued as a great rake,”Another metaphor, to add an effect of how emotion are hidden while the truth is revealed.“terribly like an adhesive bandage,”Another simile used to describe the pain in love.“I shout love in a blizzard’s scarf of curling cold,Metaphor, describing and helping the reader to understand the harsh and brutal conditions of a blizzard.
17 I Shout Love (Continued…) The theme of this poem can be: Love: The character in the story shouts love to broken hearts. Forgive: He seeks forgiveness for his lying or cheats. Pain: The pain of someone’s broken heart.
18 I Shout Love (Continued…) I personally enjoyed this poem. I understood for once the deep meaning of this poem Milton Acorn tried to get across. His message is also true, because love usually comes with pain. It just made sense to me, I think. I don’t know about you, but the poem fits with my brain and this analysis.
19 Poem Analysis Hummingbird One day in a lifetime I saw one with wings a pipesmoke blur shaped like half a kiss and its raspberry-stone heart winked fast in a thumbnail of a breast.In that blink it was around a briar and out of sight, but I caught a flash of its brain where flowers swing udders of sweet cider; and we pass as thunderclouds or, dangers like death, earthquake, and war, ignored because it's no use worrying ....
20 Hummingbird (Continued…) In that blink it was around a briar and out of sight, but I caught a flash of its brain where flowers swing udders of sweet cider; and we pass as thunderclouds or, dangers like death, earthquake, and war, ignored because it's no use worrying ....By him I mean. Responsibility Against the threat of termination by war or other things is given us as by a deity.
21 Hummingbird (Continued…) In Milton Acorn’s “Hummingbird,” he tells the a story of a sighting of a hummingbird he had one day. He sees how if rushes quickly in and out of sight and how the Hummingbirds get by fine without worrying about things that humans have no control over. The poem is about people who worry about things that are completely beyond their control and spend all their time worrying about things that can only be controlled by a higher power. Perhaps Acorn thought he was a Hummingbird and this was a poem about how he lived his life.
22 Hummingbird (Continued…) Imagery in the poem:“ a pipesmoke blur” this line is a metaphor comparing the Hummingbird to smoke coming from a pipe because of its speed.“Shaped like half” this simile continues describing the appearance of the Hummingbird.Raspberry-stone heart” This is another metaphor describing the bird and it’s continuously beating heart.“Caught a flash of its brain” In this synecdoche, the brain stands for his way of life, and Acorn is gaining insight into the birds lifestyle.“pass as thunderclouds” this simile works as excellent imagery.
23 Hummingbird (Continued...) Theme:Freedom: Acorn talks about how Hummingbirds are free to do as they like and they don’t worry about a thing they can’t control, that’s the business of higher powers. This enables the Hummingbird’s to be free from distracting thoughts and lets them go on without a worry their life. Anxiety: This poem seems to be a commentary on the anxiety that people get around things like “death, earthquake, and war” and how it’s no good to worry about something that is beyond your control.
24 Hummingbird (Continued…) My Opinion:I thought this was a good poem. Acorn gives a beautiful description of a wonderful bird, but he takes it and uses his poem as much more. I also thought the way Acorn transitions between stanzas and his structure of the poem is enthralling. It is a short, cute poem but at the same time, Hummingbird has weight and depth in it and makes for an intriguing poem.
25 Hummingbird (Continued…) Questions:Why does Acorn’s idea of Hummingbirds ignoring dangers they have no control over seem right or wrong to you? Why do you think Acorn chose to write this about a hummingbird and not some other animal like a bee or a cat? What are some dangers that are beyond your control that you spend endless amounts of time worrying about?