Inspiration can strike at any time from anything. It happens to musicians, artists, writers, teachers, and many more. It is what sparks an idea or thought that gets you moving forward towards your goal. Sometimes when you know the inspiration of something, you are better to understand that piece of work from a particular author, whether it be music, art, or even poetry.
I am going to be honest, poetry has never really been my thing. I personally am more of a novel person because I like to read about character development and plot lines. Poetry is not exactly like that, it is more of a short thought or idea put together. Buzzing Hemisphere by Urayoán Noel is no different for me.
- Rikka Flower Arrangement.
However, just because I don’t like it doesn’t mean I can’t appreciated the beauty of it. There are many different forms of inspiration in Noel’s poetry, from the alphabet to the fixing of languages. However, my most favorite and the one that sticks out to me the most would be that of the Rikki flower arrangement. The way the poetry is written in the shape is just amazing. It just goes to show that inspiration really can come from anywhere and it can create anything!
You know when you are listening to Jazz music. The smooth tone of the music accompanied by lyrics that almost sound like it was a poem put to a tune alert you of the musical genre instantly. This is the way Tram 83 by Fiston Mwanza Mujila and translated by Alain Mabanckou, is written. You start to read, and you do not even realize when you started to read it in a way that represents a certain rhyme. The beginning of chapter five starts,
“Jalopies out of gas, deep-frozen products from the Galapagos Islands, knickknacks, ceiling fans, oil changes, sheep, sarcastic remarks, hearses on alert, eggs contaminated with melamine, relics, miniatures as far as the eye can see, bistros, baker-deli-linen-fish-lumber stores…” (Mujila 34).
When reading the list, you end of getting into a rhyme that reflects that of Jazz music. This is just one example of what Mujila does throughout the novel.
I believe that being able to read a novel this way allows one to better picture the story that is happening mentally. Overall, this makes for a better experience for the reader when reading.
Everyday dialogue is messy; it is loud and expressive. Showing the same thing in the dialogue of a novel is tricky. However, authors find ways to do so, one of which is by repetition. Repetition is the use of the same word(s) used multiple times in a row. It is usually used to express some type of emotion, like frustration, or to show the importance of what is being said. This is shown In Utopia by Ahmed Khaled Towfik and translated by Chip Rossetti.
“A person could endure life without shelter. Without food. Without drink (perhaps for several days). Without clothes. Without a roof over his head. Without a sweetheart. Without dignity. Without a family (except Safiya). Without a refrigerator. Without a phone. Without a television. Without a tie. Without friends. Without shoes. Without trousers. Without phlogistine. Without a condom. Without headache medicine. Without a laser pointer. But he couldn’t endure life without dreams” (Towfik 52).
Gaber, an Other, is expressing how he survives his world. He uses repetition to show that a person may survive without things that people deem necessary to live life with. His repetitive use of the word without really drives home that he does not have a lot, if anything at all. It also makes the last sentence “But he couldn’t endure life without dreams” (Towfik 52), stand out that much more. It adds emphasis to this, by showing that Gaber can live without everything else but dreams. It also shows his acceptance of his situation, how he has come to terms with it and is just at the point of explaining. Additionally, I believe the author is showing how important this is. People are now at a time where the physical items we need to survive today are not available to these people.
Everyone is on a journey, whether they know it or not, to find who they are. The people you encounter and the experiences that you have are all part of this journey. This is demonstrated in Signs Preceding the End of the World by Yuri Herrera and translated by Lisa Dillman. This novel, published in 2009, introduces you to Makina and takes you on her journey. This journey is caused by her brother, who she is trying to find and bring back from the United States of America. However, it is Makina’s brother’s journey that is filled with finding one’s self.
Self-discovery is a tricky thing as it is a different process for everyone. However, there are a few signs, all of which Makina’s brother displays, that are markers for the journey of self-discovery. They are as follows:
1. You’re doing it for yourself.
“He hesitated a moment before he versed, and in the doubt flickering in his eyes you could see he’d spent his whole life there like that, holding back his tears…” (Herrera 29-30).
There is no reason to be on a journey to discover one’s self if it is not for yourself. Makina’s brother decides that this moment will be the moment he makes a change for himself. I believe that he wants to prove to himself that he can be a man as he hasn’t been taken seriously as one his whole life.
2. Things can seem brand new.
“Everything is so stiff here, it’s all numbered and people look you in the eye but they don’t say anything when they do” (Herrera 68).
You are on a new journey with new experiences that you could never have imagined. In his first letter back to home, Makina’s brother explains just how different the United States is from their home. The letter has almost a shocked tone to it as it seems he is trying to process everything.
3. It’s hard (from beginning to end).
“Turned up all sickly and scared as a stray dog, she said. We gave him soup and a sweater and let him sleep under the dish cabinet” (Herrera 75).
You will be put through obstacles that you have never experienced. You will want to give up and return to how things were before. Makina’s brother is broken down and weak, but he preserves. If it was easy everyone would do it.
4. You ended up somewhere you didn’t know you would be.
“A few minutes later the door opened and there appeared before her, dressed in
military uniform, her very own brother” (Herrera 86).
We never know which direction life will take us. We never know where we will end up, and that is especially true for Makina’s brother. He goes to the United States to claim some land that he thought he could have. However, he ends up becoming a decorated military man.
In the end, everyone takes this journey at different points in their life. But, you will run into these four signs, and when you do, you will realize you are on the right track. The journey is never easy but it is what you learn from the journey that makes it worthwhile!