I made some poems based on Wide Sargasso Sea because poems are my default when shit seems too overwhelming. Turns out, at least one was about rape, but that doesn’t mean that my trauma needs to be front-and-center here, so let’s just set into it and then grant y’all with my reflection so we can exit the virtual classroom and be elsewhere mentally if not physically. Try to enjoy my poems if possible, obviously content warnings for rape, death, and sexual content on the last two, but the first one is actually just. A regular poem, I’m pleased to report!
I started creating these pieces while I was reading, by writing down pages that felt different from the rest of the text for me personally. After I’d had a chance to actually comprehend the text to some degree, I went back and reread the marked pages, pulling out and writing down phrases and words that hit me upside the head as I did so. This led to some interesting word clouds that I tried to utilize in my poems, though some leaned on the text more heavily than others.
The first piece I’ve been thinking about since day one, and I’m the most happy with of the three. Ever since I got to the scene where Antionette is calling London a dream, as though it were unimaginable (because it literally is to her at the time), I’ve been stuck there. Especially as Rochester told her that where she’d been raised was unreal to him, but didn’t account for her perspective. It’s about how he views the world through his concept of ownership, where to him, her reflections of nature as reality seem out-of-touch, as though only people and their possessions are what make up his reality. The title came out really beautifully, which was pulled and sewn from the part of the scene with the moth and Antionette’s story about the rats on her balcony, and I’m overall just enamored with the whole vibe. It ended up being both a commentary on capitalism and on misogyny, which honestly is a good place to leave it in my mind.
The second poem is more ominous than I was planning, but it’s still okay. I had more spoken phrases than just words for this one, which made it a lot harder to work into some form of poem. I think with more revisions, I could get it to a place I’m happier with (the first two stanzas paralleling one another would be where I’d want to start), but I unfortunately don’t have time for any more editing at the moment. So far the tone is really accusatory towards Rochester, but that entire scene felt predatory to me, so I think that the poem does a good job of showing how I approached the scene and its contents.
Now, the third poem…. * heavy sigh *
I wanted it to end abruptly, and so it has. It’s a melding of Christophine’s admonishing speech in italics and kind of a depressing summary of my experiences with sexual assault. I had a lot of trouble with just viewpoint, especially where Christophine is talking about an external human woman and I’m speaking in first person about an internal disaster. This one needs to be put through more paces before I can be truly okay with it, but I need to present what I have now for this project before it’s too late for me to even try. I’m admittedly not happy with it, but I don’t know if it reveals enough about me to be worried about or not (unlike some other poems I could mention posted from this blog!).
I don’t know how I feel about such an accusatory use of second person throughout these pieces. While it almost makes the pieces fit cohesively together, I kind of feel as though it might be off-putting to readers on one hand. On the other, I think that if you ARE off-put by them, maybe you need to work something out? Either from an “I feel called out” standpoint, in which case, please leave, or an “Oh my god, please don’t dredge up my old trauma” standpoint, in which case uhh I apologize, but we’re in the same boat here, hope you have a great day reading legit anything else but this post.
Why does my response to this piece of literature matter?
Again, it frankly doesn’t mean shit in the world at large, but whatever gets me to engage with a text as I have with Wide Sargasso Sea matters because it allows me to process the material of the piece. I wish I’d gotten the chance to read other things from the semester, as this book was a hefty chore for me on many levels, but I was able to read and engage with it basically alone because of this project and I think that that’s important to me at the very least.
Have a fantastic summer, y’all. After one more post on this blog, I am going to go finish up another class for the year and maybe go have a breakdown. Bye!