Vietnam Digital Essay

Although indistinguishable and in partial view, the configuration is rendered in solid bold lines and confident strokes, the marker's flat tip allowing Edwards to create thicker curved segments with a downward mark, and narrower lines on the horizontal and diagonal.These chain formations, prompted from the unspecified space of the blank page, materialize into long- and short-phrased gestures.

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As mortar fire rages in the background of the interview scene, Madison bares his conflicted feelings.

As for the men in his troop, Madison confirms he is capable of keeping his command free of interracial strife, "no matter what's going on in Los Angeles." But he admits feeling trepidation at the prospect of going home: "I thought things were getting better there between the races.

Pan-African rituals blur into the violence of transatlantic slavery and again into the brutalities of the modern-day clinic.

In this, her poems already shared elective affinities with Edwards's recombinant structures made of metal tools, stand-in body parts that amalgamate to resemble ceremonial masks rising from the junk heap of modern consumption.

Following their involvement in respective Southern California art scenes, Edwards and Cortez were living in New York when they embarked on this poet–visual artist collaboration, whose narrative clearly points back to its origins in Los Angeles.

In their collaborative working method, Cortez first sent the complete manuscript to Edwards, living at the time in upstate New York, who returned to her a large number of drawings grounded in the book's argument, structure, lexicon, and subject matter.

(A glaring omission during the Watts rebellion, the newspaper had never hired any African American journalists.) In an August 23 report, Salazar interviewed twenty-nine-year-old Marine Sergeant Harrison Madison, "a Negro formerly of Long Beach," stationed in Chu Lai, South Vietnam, on the "racial trouble in Los Angeles." The Marine at first denounces the revolt as unfounded: "Violence is never justified," he claims, "when peaceful settlement is possible." The wartime irony is not lost on Salazar, who in the same first paragraph describes the sergeant ordering his mortar section "to fire on nearby Viet Cong guerillas." The rhetorical nuance builds with each paragraph in this brief report from the combat zone.

Sergeant Madison tells of the remote position he and his men have secured in the village of Guong, about twenty-five miles south of Chu Lai.

Cortez's poetry, unflinching insofar as it seeks to explore the brutal underside of expressive acceptability, makes such zones of interdiction possible in language that explodes with joyousness, even as it is capable of collapsing spaces at once social, psychological, geographic, and economic.

One of the opening poems in the collection, titled "Initiation," submits, with no small amount of cruel irony, what the book as a whole exults.


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