Saturday, August 18, 2012

Poetry Assignment #1

1. From what poem/author does this commercial borrow (without credit)?
The poem is called The Laughing Heart by Charles Bukowski. Apparently, it’s very controversial.
2. Why might the use of this poem by a corporation be considered ironic?
The use of ANY poem by a corporation is ironic, first of all. Poetry is such an intimate, almost spiritual art. Corporations are notoriously soulless conglomerations. The fact that a jean company is using both a popular poem and footage of the youth riots to appeal to a young audience is laughable because the group that is being targeted is probably the least likely to “conform” or however its put nowadays.
3. Does the poem reflect the reputation of the author? Why/why not?
Judging by the website in his honor, this man was either brilliant or completely insane. Likewise, I’m still deciding whether I believe his poem was brilliant or complete insane nonsense. So yes, I’d say this sums him up nicely.
4. How did you find the answers to #1 & #3? Describe your research process and your sources in detail.  
What I ended up doing was going on the Google and typing in “Levi’s Go Forth commercial” and scrolled until I saw Walt Whitman’s name. I then found myself on this website ( which named the poem as the “America” poem by Walt Whitman. I then found this, ( but I was pretty sure this wasn’t the poem. So then to Youtube comments! And BINGO Youtube user Hogochogo posted something snarky about how this was a poem by Charles Bukowski. Not Walt Whitman at all! And I found the poem posted on some hipster’s blog. ( This identified the poems title as The Laughing Heart. I then confirmed this with another Google searches which led me to other blogs, and videos of poetry readings. This was indeed the poem I was searching for.
I then Googled the poet and came across ( and his fans are clearly awesome people. The introduction to the website was very witty, and not what I was expecting from a deceased (yes, he is dead) poet.

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