Poem – Yiayia Maria Says

IMG_8190This poem was published in Macquarie University’s student publication magazine, Grapeshot, Issue 8 in November, 2014.

It was written during my Semester 2, 2013 MA postgraduate course, Poetry Seminar: Reading and Writing Poetry. I was influenced by the Week 10 topic – Writing Across Cultures, and about my experience of being in another culture, on my holiday in Greece. I wanted to capture the awkward and shameful moments I feel around older Greek people, and the issue of my personal identity by using abrogation from Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths and Helen Triffin’s Key Concepts in Post-Colonial Studies.

I was also influenced by Marcelle Freiman’s “Open Lace-work” from White Lines (Vertical) that she wrote after her visit to Russia. I found this relevant to my poem, on how I wanted to share my experience on my holiday, and the way Marcelle was able to create her own similes about ‘language’. For example, line 4 “of a language as soft as wrapped chords,” and my own metaphor, “language is a pearl” and I expanded on this.

I was also influenced by Frank O’Hara’s “The Day Lady Died” with how he used rhythm and pace by not using full stops to break, and using the word ‘and’ repeatedly for pacing. I tried to attempt this myself with how exhausted I felt during my holiday in Greece in verse paragraph two.

And lastly, what my yiayia said to me when I returned home, was emotional to hear – I wanted the reader to reflect on this generational relationship.

A lot of my poetry is memoir fiction, which I didn’t realise until I understood what I was trying to write in the form of ‘fiction’ didn’t work, put in poetry, was the perfect style and form.



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