Author Topic: Pungent Memory  (Read 25883 times)

Offline AntonioM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • I am all that is myself
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2013, 04:47:24 PM »
The cultural boundary makes this a somewhat difficult read for me. "[E]ssence of Africa"in a bean can seems too extremely miopic (verging on racist) JMO

ARM
ARM

Offline 510bhan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 63305
  • So many jobs to do . . .
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2013, 05:31:37 PM »
ARM: That sure hadn't crossed my mind -- suppose it's Kenya's fault for being in that amazing continent and producing the coffee beans with their intense and unique flavour -- sounds complimentary to me. :-\ Coffee is adored in this piece, can't see it as a negative association.

Mark -- I'm too into the recollection to be able to form any comparison or metaphor at the moment. ;)


Thanks for reading guys. :)

Offline ma100

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30526
  • I don't need kinky boots, nothing will beat me.
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2013, 06:09:57 PM »
The cultural boundary makes this a somewhat difficult read for me. "[E]ssence of Africa"in a bean can seems too extremely miopic (verging on racist) JMO

ARM

Ooo err, I'd never have considered the verse that way either. Okay I'm no poet, in fact what I know about poetry you could write on a pinhead, but this gave me a visual of a rich pleasing aroma from a a faraway beautiful land. One that, at that time was, only seen in periodicals. I always wanted to imagine being at the Taj Mahal and I always would associate the smell of aromatic spices with it.

Pretty much as the pungent smell of garlic would make me think of Italy. Strong cheese, France, or fish and chips the seasides of Britain. Chetnuts, Oxford street. Memories of perhaps the 60's that most could relate too. JMO.

Sio, I don't know if this is good or bad poetry, but I enjoyed the read. :)

Offline AntonioM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • I am all that is myself
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2013, 06:11:01 PM »
I'm sure you can see how "dark" Africa is cliche' after a while, esp. when you consider it can be traced back through anglosaxon tradition since before Conrad's take on it in Heart of Darkness. Not trying to be combative, just want you to consider the historical context when invoking an entire continent's role in relation to commodities and post-colonialism.

btw I didn't mean that the cultural boundary was anglosaxon/african, I meant British/American. The Dark Africa part is a separate issue.

ARM
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 06:25:45 PM by ARMielak »
ARM

Offline 510bhan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 63305
  • So many jobs to do . . .
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2013, 06:13:32 PM »
If you see the revision -- dark and rich have gone -- only unique and intense remain. :)


Also -- as Ma has picked up -- it was supposed to be evocative of the 60s. :-[

Offline ma100

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30526
  • I don't need kinky boots, nothing will beat me.
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2013, 06:48:23 PM »
I'm not trying to be combative either. Surely some things are just what they are without any hidden meaning. Isn't the poem stating simply what it is and what it smells like.  ;)

Gawd, if the pc world has got that rigid I may as well give up writing. (Some would say I should. ::)) My mind doesn't work that way and I never knowingly insult any race, colour, religion or creed. I don't want to have to pick up a text book to see if my writing is politically correct or not just because I've used the word dark to describe coffee.   

Offline AntonioM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • I am all that is myself
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2013, 06:55:05 PM »
Sadly, writing seems to have taken that turn, Ma. In USA we use terms like dark-roast or black to describe coffee. . . besides I think it is inevitable that some will try to read for a so-called "deeper" meaning, regardless of our intentions as writers.
ARM

Offline indar

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3849
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2013, 07:04:10 PM »
I'm following this thread wondering if i'm understanding what is being said: ARM do you take exception to the word "dark' being used under any circumstances?

Offline ma100

  • Esteemed Contributor
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 30526
  • I don't need kinky boots, nothing will beat me.
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2013, 07:04:38 PM »
I think it's terrible state of affairs, mate, to be honest. I suppose if Sio had used black in this country the pc's could get on her case. :( You can't do right for doing wrong I suppose. :-\ SAD.

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

  • http://www.writestreet.com/writestree
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 31219
  • Hello from Texas
    • Alice's Hide Away
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2013, 07:20:24 PM »
Quote
later when freeze-dried
beans, Kenyan I believe it said on the  label,
captured the essence of Africa
in dark, rich, intense unique flavour.

To me, it was clear the "dark, rich, intense unique flavour" was a reference to coffee itself, not Africa.

For what it's worth, I felt it was a great description of the aroma - especially when a fresh bag or can is first opened.
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline AntonioM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • I am all that is myself
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #25 on: June 03, 2013, 07:33:50 PM »
Indar, "dark" used in reference to Africa, is the issue. Of course dark is an appropriate way to describe coffee, when coupled with dark Africa it carries more meaning than is intended, is all. For poets, I would call it lazy writing/reading to act as though the pairing isn't overused. "Kenya" is enough of a reference to Africa, without coupling it with "dark." I think "deep" is much more appropriate for describing a color, anyhow. Dark is a reference to the omission of light, deep refers to hue.   
ARM

Offline AntonioM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • I am all that is myself
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #26 on: June 03, 2013, 07:39:09 PM »
Alice, "essence of Africa in dark" is a direct correaltion, there is no separting the two the way it is written.
« Last Edit: June 03, 2013, 07:52:05 PM by ARMielak »
ARM

Offline Laura H

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 34448
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #27 on: June 03, 2013, 10:55:45 PM »
I think if you're looking for it, you can find an issue anywhere.  I don't believe Sio had any hidden meaning or symbolism in her description of the coffee beans.  The batch I have in the pantry right now is labelled "dark roast".

Sometimes a coffee bean is just a coffee bean.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” ― Maya Angelou

“Don't be like the rest of them, darling.” ― Eudora Welty

Offline Skip Slocum

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 12384
  • Writers are dreamers with pens
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #28 on: June 03, 2013, 11:03:55 PM »
Does anyone remember the term 'Darkest parts of Africa' was meant or referred to  as lands not yet discovered or explored? If I remember correctly it had nothing to do with racism.

And yet there are those who find division in everything they see.

I suppose one referring to 'South American black gold in a burlap bag' wouldn't be speaking of coffee beans and must have evil afoot as well.  ;D  

Offline AntonioM

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 581
  • I am all that is myself
Re: Pungent Memory
« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2013, 12:07:33 AM »
If you can't understand how claiming the essence of a continent, namely Africa, as dark is stereotypical and verging on racism then colonial history is lost on you. 1850 was an important year for literature/poetry because of Europe's decision to ban the slave trade. That decision marks a significant change in the philosophy of the English language which we share and have a moral obligation to avoid the essence of racism, however benign it may seem. I won't harp, and the writing issue isn't in the intent, it's in the reading. I don't believe 510 is racist, I believe that the phrasing is culturally insensitive. The sarcastic remarks are childish deflections from the issue I have raised and could very well explain the nonchalant attitudes toward anti-islamic violence, for example, taking place in Europe, now.

Good luck in your writings all, the world is full of shades of gray.

ARM
ARM