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October 15, 1982 - Image 19

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1982-10-15
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By Steve Miller
N EW POETRY in this age of change
and turmoil seems strange and
contradictory. The critics call it
modern, but poets themselves are all
romantics at heart, and they always
will be. Tinged with a sense of
obligation to the present, framed by the
constraints of realism, they still hope
for a happier future. Most would even
be satisfied with a happier tomorrow.
The Sleeping Beauty
by Hayden Corruth
Harper & Row, 143p.
Hayden Carruth's book, The Sleeping
Beauty, is one long poen with 124 sec-i
tions, one to a page. It truly is a modern
poem, composed between 1972 and 1980,
containing ideas of the age we live in,
interspersed with far older ideas seen
in the light of the present. The sleeping
beauty herself conjures up an image of
a woman awakened long ago. She isn't
actually in the poem, but the idea ser-
ves as a delicate mythic tracery of
modern womanhood-asleep at times,
but perceptive, shrewd, loving,
vuerotinl and sexual yet evenly
paced, Carruth's verses slide from one
image to the next, from one myth to the
next, from jazz singers to neighbors to
strangers. -He doesn't start or end
anywhere in particular, but he covers a
lot of territory. Wars, communism,

feminism, and decay of the countryside
as cities expand all follow in an inter-
connected sequence.
There have been far more powerful
poetic uses of each of these themes, but
Carruth skillfully blends them into the
personality of the narrator, a quiet
man, sensitive but distant from the
white-hot core of these movements. In
the poem's best spots this man shies
away from world-shaking events. The
problems that directly affect his world
evoke a feeling of identification and
reality-the cold winter days in the
country, cutting wood, pulling cars
from a ditch-actions that can be
carried out by the lone figure.
Carruth's love of life is beautiful, but
cold and sometimes distant. If reality is
the poet's true realm, then this is good
and successful poetry. For Carruth,
existing until tomorrow is the struggle,
and believing in the ground beneath
four feet of snow is the only imaginative
luxury a poet-farmer can afford-other
than his few dreams.
A Glass Face in the Rain
by William Stafford
Harper & Row, 124p.
Opus Posthumous
by Wallace Stevens.
Vintage, 306p.
These two volumes are polar exam-
ples of the realistic forces in poetry.
William Stafford in A Glass Face in the
Rain writes for people as individuals.
He offers his poetry as a message of
hope, something people need to help
them through another day and night.
His sensitivity and empathy contrast
with Wallace Stevens' fearfulness for
humanity's fate. In Open Posthumous,
Stevens writes for collective groups,
even humanity as a whole. He sets up
his own terms, for existence and others
must either reach them or fall short.
Both poets are striving for life beyond
mere survival, while maintaining a
firm grip on human nature. They do not
present images for the sake of imagery,
but work to expand the mindset and at-
°- f

titudes of their readers. Using almost
opposite poetic styles and a range of
subjects and techniques, they arrive at
the same goal.
Stafford's book is simple, stylistic,
and straightforward. On the surface, he
seems to lay down a single image and
flesh it' out with emotional subtleties.
But the reader soon becomes compelled
to participate in the poem with personal
emotions and background. In "Why W'e
Need Fantasy," for instance, Stafford
touches on a creative side of everyday
existence, drawing on forgotten
thoughts and connecting apparently
disparate concepts.
While it is, an uncomplicated-
technique, Stafford picks and chooses
ideas out of the humdrum routine of
daily life, selecting the odd imaginative
thought that springs to mind between
washing the dishes and raking the
leaves. All the same people and fur-
niture are there as they are in any nor-
mal day, but Stafford discovers them at
their best.
Stevens' book is far different, mainly
because it's been assembled almost
haphazardly from the poet's entire
life's work. It contains poems, prose,
and plays written from early in the cen-
tury up to the mid-'50s, all held together
by the poet's consistent perspective.
"Realism is a corruption of reality,"
he writes. To fight this, he uses the in-
terpretive powers of consciousness and
imagination set free from the strictures
of realism, and searches for meaning in
his own emotions. He can't explain
what causes him to think a certain way,
but the search reveals many promising
possibilities. "It is necessary to propose
an enigma to the mind. The mind
always proposes a solution."uNo
guarantee that it's the right solution,
but the thought is an end in itself, a goal
that may serendipitously solve a dif-
ferent enigma.
Stafford's poems shouldbe read
aloud on a frosty Sunday afternoon,
while an appie pie is baking. He is
soothing, happy with life. But Stevens'
poems are something to be alert for,

whenone is self-sure and skeptical of
the world. They should be read under a
bright light, with a full pack of cigaret-
tes close at hand and room for jumping!
up when excited or angry. Stevens'
work needs to be confronted, accepted
or rejected. Opus Posthumous is an ar-
tificial construction, but Stevens
demands consideration as one of the
driving voices in "modern" poetry.
The Writer's Craft-
Hopwood Lectures, 165-81
ed by Robert A. Martin
Univ. of-Mich. Press, 286p.
By rights, this volume doesn't belong.
here. As the subtitle says, it is a tran-
scription of 16 Hopwood Lectures. The
Writer's Craft, third in the series, isn't
poetry and it isn't fiction. It's about
writing fiction, plays, poetry and
criticism. It is commentary on the state
of the art, with a healthy dose of sage
and gentle literary advice from Those
Who Know (read: Those who make
money at it).
Arthur Miller, Joan Didion, Theodore
Soltaroff, Tom Wolfe, and a dozen
others offer up their views. Of course,
some of their comments seem aimed at
keeping their listeners awake, but
buried amid the filler are a few useful
bits for the aspiring writer. Theodore
Soltaroff's lecture, "The Practical
Critic: A Personal View," is fun and
anecdotal, but he makes a few
stimulating points about focusing
images and the combination of image
and purpose that would help any
writers, critics and poets alike.
Many of the lectures aimed at
poetry-Donald Davie's "Sincerity and
Poetry" or Peter Taylor's "That
Cloistered Jazz"-pose questions about
the motivations of poets, helping to
isolate the emotions and thoughts that
generate a poem. They criticize past in-
terpretations, tell amusing parables,
discuss the nuts and bolts of the
business, and keep it all interesting and
(mostly) to the point.
The level of complexity between the
speeches varies from year to year,
from the heavy-duty criticism of the
avant-garde by Robert W. Corrigan to
the funny stories by Peter DeVries
about his family. The level of
usefulness varies also, but unless
you're taking notes, who cares?
They're clever essays, not for reading
all at once, but for sampling oc-
Poetry Comics-
A Cartooniverse of Poems
by Dave Morice
Simon & Schuster, 186p.
Here it is folks, "the book you wished
you'd had in English 101" or, at this
university, English 240. Poetry Comics
by Dave Morice is a big comic book
about those poems we've all been
reading since fourth grade. Morice uses
dozens of comic book styles to illustrate
Donne, Shakespeare, Black, and others
on up to the moderns.
Morice usually sticks with a literal in-
terpretation of the poems, but when he
lets his imagination roam, he comes up
with some startling and hilarious effec-
ts. "The Adventures of Whitman" is the
best and most ambitious piece in the
book. Using only words from "Leaves
of Grass;" Morice guides his superhero
off into the cosmos to battle evil, after
Whitman downs a generic brew.
"It's a bard . .. it's a poet . . . it's
WHITMAN!" And it's a funny-
looking crowbar in the works of the
Establishment Poetry mathine. 0

come up here, go to a couple of parties,
they do this, do that. And in a couple of
weeks, they are branded. The guys call
them 'the whore on the third floor.'
Even if they never do another thing,
they've got that reputation," said Blon-
Male students, however, are
dismayed at the notion that they're only
out for sex. Sure, their friends do that
sort of thing, but not them. It's just not
"I don't respect people that pressure
other people into sex," said one male
senior. "I think that a lot of it is related
to drugs." Another said, "Guys
sometimes feel they have the right to
certain things, especially if they have
spent some money on their date. I know
a few guys that have probably used a
little force in getting what they want,
but I don't think that's right."
It's not right. It's not fair. But it hap-
pens, and it happens a whole lot.
And the fact that it's happening a lot
may be a radical change from how
things were at the University ten, or
even five years ago. Leonard Scott,
who's worked as a University counselor
for 12 years, has kept track of changing
male attitudes. Scott's worried,
because he's noticed recently that male
students are reverting back to old
stereotypes he thought were left behind
long ago. The image is returning of the
"man's man" who does whatever is
necessary to get laid.
"In the 1970s, men grew in their con-
sciousness, their awareness. Men could
see how they were trapped in the same
way women were by social conventions.
But now, there's a feeling that we're
going through some sort of return to the
50s. Some of the stereotypes are retur-
"Pressures among men to be
aggressive in a way that can be defined
sexually-like catcals, that sort of
thing-is coming back. Three or four
years ago catcalls were frowned upon.
Men thought about it before they did
And as men are becoming more
stereotypically "male," women are
returning to their stereotypical sub-
missive roles, too, according to Scott.
"It reminds me of when I was in college
in the 50s. Today's fraternities and
sororities sound like they were then.
"The fraternities are interested in the
sororities like a meat market. Who's
going to get what, who's going to score.
Some women fall into that, too. They
join a sorority to meet men, not to
develop themselves. This is disturbing.
That's how it used to be. I wish it
weren't so."
W OMEN ON CAMPUS have heard
all the stories. "It comes down
the frapevine," said Cindy Phillips, a
sophomore. "Someone will casually
say, 'He tried to attack me when we
went out.' People often say, 'Just blow
it off' even though that's not fair."
Blow it off. Forget it. It wasn't really
a rape. That'a the response women get
when they tell their stories,'and not just
from men, but from women too. "Some
women even think that a woman was
asking for it," said Marilyn Wedenoja,
a woman's studeies teaching assistant.
j "Theres not always that mind of sup-.
port from women that you'd expect."
The problem, according to many
counselors, is that almost
everyone-both men and
women-doesn't associate acquaintan-
ce rape with rape. To them, it's just
men-a date or a boyfriend-getting a
little overzealous.
Koss found that half the rape victims
in her survey didn't even realize they
had been raped. "You could say to them
'Did you ever have sexual intercourse,
against your will?' And they'd say
'yes.' Then you'd turn around and say

'Have you ever been raped?' and
1 they'd say 'no,' "she explained.
Women often don't think of-or worry
about-a sexual assault from an
acquaintance. Freshmen arrive here
with a certain fear drummed into their
heads, but it's not the fear that may
protect them. "It's always your moter
teling you 'Don't go out alone at night
and get attacked by a big man behind a
bush,' "said Pauline Gagnon, an RD at
East Quad. "Mom didn't say 'Don't go
out with a man who will rape you.''
"I don't think it really crosses many
freshwomen's minds," said Blondin.
"The idea of rape itself is so abhorrent,
the idea of someone you know doing it is
not in the realm of possibility."
Anti-rape organizations in Ann Ar-
bor-from the Ann Arbor Coalition
Against Rape to the Citizen's Advisory
Committee on Rape Prevention-per-
petuate the myth. If your mother
doesn't tell you to watch out for a man
on a date, a campus anti-rape group
probably won't either. "It's a relatively
new issue," one member of the
Coalition Against Rape said. "It just
hasn't been addressed." The annual at-
tention-getting culmination of anti-rape
activities, the Take Back the Night
march, is exactly that-a fight for the
right to walk safely alone. Walking
safely with someone you know is barely
brushed upon.
The narrow scope of such anti-rape
efforts can cause problems. "I don't
want to make any judgments about
those other approaches to fighting
rape," Koss said, "but they can
mislead people-both men and
women-into thinking that the rapist
jumps out of the bushes."
The University, too, doesn't seem
eager to tackle the problem of acquain-
tance rape. University housing,
security, and counseling officials
claim their hands are ied. They can't
treat acquaintance rape as a major
problem, they claim, because they
never hear about it, the statistics just
Iaren't there.
According to Walt Stevens, director
of University safety, the last incident
reported to University security that
could be called a date rape happened
five years ago. It involved a drinking
party at a dorm, and several men had
sex with an intoxicated woman. It was
unclear, Stevens said, whether the
woman was willing for the first encoun-
ter and thenw was forced by the rest of
the men. No legal action was ever
But University officials readily admit
date rape may be a major problem.
Statistics can lie. "The statistics I have
would show - that there are none
(acquaintance rapes), said Dave
Foulke, manager for security services
for University housing. But he added
quickly, "I think that's probably not a
very reliable statistic."
Things might be changing-a little.
Two leading student groups-the
Michigan Student Assembly and the
Public Interest Research Group in
Michigan-say they are including the
issue in their safety seminars this year.
It will be the first time these groups
have specifically addressed the
problem of acquaintance rape. The
Ann Arbor Police crime prevention
bureau recognizes the problem and will
give safety lectures on campus,
although those talks are usually
ignored en masse by students.
Detective Wright speculates that
students "resent being lectured on
safety. When they get away from
parental pressure, they don't like to be
told what to do."
A woman can protest herself against
acquaintance rape once she's aware of
the problem, both Wriht and Price said.
but that means she must tread a fine
line between caution and paranoia.

Women's Crisis Center
Assault Crisis Center
Domestic Violence Project
University Counseling
Ann Arbor Police, Emergency
University Security, Emergency

"Being a little paranoid can help," said
Wright. "Paranoia is self-awareness,
But Wright and Price agree that
what's more important than being con-
stantly suspicious is developing a sense
of confidence in one's own judgment.
Watching for hostile signs, hanging out
with trusted friends, and getting to
kyjow someone well before getting in-
timate can all be good precautions.
"How much are you going to insist that
you know a person before you go off
alone with them? It all comes down to
that question," said Price.
Women also must take responsibility
for their own sexuality, said Scott, of
University counseling. It's a sure-fire
way to help clear up crossed signals.
"There can be expectation that the guy
takes the initiative to explore sex. A
woman can go through a sexual ex-
perience without feeling she really did
it. Instead it happened to her. If guys
encourage women to take respon-
sibility, and if women take it, then
relationships, in my opinion, would be
But even wariness coupled with a
good dose of responsibility can't solve
the problems. An answer to the
problems of violence between the
sexes, many agree, can't come from
women alone.
Society's current view of sex often
traps women into becoming an object.
"Our culture has fostered a certain un-
derstanding . . . that a woman is
someone to be sought out for sexual
conquest. It's safer to relate to an ob-
ject than a human being," said Scott.
And it's easier for a man to be brutal
or callous to objects than to individuals.
The signals are crossed from the start.
In general, women expect to get long-
term commitment, an around-the-clock
companion out of their relationships.
Men expect to find frequent no-regrets
sex. Peer pressure from other men
makes them expect it. And turning sex
into anachievement, another notch n
the bedpost, dehumanizes it, according
to Scott. When you think about sex on
campus, scoring and ego come right to

mind; love
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Scott addei
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Julie Hint

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