Haley’s Poetic Playlist: “First”


Hi all! I’m back for another semester of blogging with an old favorite of mine. Today we’re dissecting “First” by Cold War Kids. This indie rock group got its start in California back in 2004, and they have worked their way into our hearts ever since.

“First” was a single released in 2015, stemming from their 2014 album Hold My Home. This piece quickly rose to number one on the Billboard Alternative Songs chart. Its overall emotional beat and relatable lyrics make this song incredibly relevant and timeless, earning it a rightful spot on my playlist this week.


[Verse 1]
“Cheated and lied, broken so bad
You made a vow, never get mad
You play the game, though it’s unfair
They’re all the same, who can compare?
First you lose trust, then you get worried”

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Haley’s Poetic Playlist: “Thank God For Girls”


Hi, friends! This week we’re looking at a rather interesting song (to say the least). It plays with gender stereotypes and definitely pushes the envelope on political correctness. Pop/rock/alternative band Weezer has never been known for being especially conventional and that’s what makes them so unique. I will be examining one of their biggest hits in years, “Thank God for Girls,” which comes off of their 2016 album Weezer (White Album).

If you’ve heard the song before, then you may know why it’s been controversial. During this explanation, though, I will be giving Weezer the benefit of the doubt in that they are not totally bashing females. I say this because I saw them in concert over the summer, and throughout this entire song they had a slideshow playing with pictures of historically strong female icons: Joan of Arc, Mother Mary, Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman, Emma Watson, Brienne of Tarth (fictional but awesome), Oprah, Ellen, and Beyoncé, just to name a few. Weezer then ended the song with a projection of the rainbow flag, which is a symbol for LGBT equality. So while the band may poke fun at stereotypes in the song, I think it’s used in an ironic sense.

“Thank God for Girls”

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Bree’s Melancholic Tales: An Interpretation of “The Fury of Rainstorms” by Anne Sexton


Anne Sexton was yet another troubled poet in the world of creative writing in which much of her pain fueled her work. She suffered from postpartum depression after the births of her two daughters when she was only in her mid-twenties. After Sexton had two separate mental breakdowns and had attempted suicide on her birthday, she was admitted into a psychiatric hospital. Having known about her interest in poetry while she was in high school, her doctor urged her to start writing again. Despite a successful writing career that blossomed from her pain, Sexton unfortunately took her own life in 1974.

As I continue this blog series, specifically with my interpretations of melancholic poetry, I am beginning to realize how important it is that these pieces exist. Depression is an immensely difficult illness to put into words, as there is no visual wound. Poets like Plath and Sexton, who suffered for their poetry, have beautifully and dismally described what it feels like to be in a state of clinical depression. Though they tragically took their lives to be freed of their own struggles with depression, what they’ve left behind is a legacy for others who suffer the same illness to feel like they are not alone.

“The Fury of Rainstorms”

“The rain drums down like red ants,
each bouncing off my window.”

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Haley’s Poetic Playlist: “Cancer”

Hey, lovelies! We’re back this week with a tribute to Breast Cancer Awareness month.


I’ve chosen the song “Cancer,” originally by My Chemical Romance, because this insidious disease has affected us all. And, if I could be frank, it sucks. This song captures the pain and emotion associated with cancer, and I think it is a moving piece. The track is originally off My Chemical Romance’s 2006 album The Black Parade, but just about a month ago Twenty One Pilots released a cover, and both will be available on the playlist below.

A little background on the song might be helpful. MCR’s album The Black Parade details the journey of “the patient” and his agony as he ultimately passes away from cancer. In an interview, lead vocalist Gerard Way once claimed that the group aimed to write “the darkest song ever.” He claims that “Cancer” is not poetic, but rather direct and brutal just like the disease. I think it’s safe to say that MCR achieved their goal here.

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Selections from Samantha Gennett’s chapbook, “Pomegranate”

Cover to Sam Gennett's chapbook, "Pomegranate"
Inside cover to Sam Gennett’s chapbook, “Pomegranate”

The following three poems were hand-picked by Samantha Gennett, showcasing the talent found in her recent chapbook, Pomegranate.


We sit together, you reclined and I upright, enveloped
by the nicotine you transmit. As you inhale, I stare at the orange
glow at your cigarette end. You look at me with a telescopic
grin, shaking your head, not even noticing the ash singeing

a hole through your Nirvana t-shirt, hair resembling elephant eyelashes,
lips shining pizza grease and I cannot think of a way to rewire
your melancholy or find a way to sew a mustache
onto your numb smile. This smoke, strangling our throats—is there a fire?

We sit together in this chain-smoked cloud, I underhand
toss you an aging baseball but your hand cannot render
the shape of catch, instead your body lays contorted like an ampersand
and all I can do is mumble “it’s okay, you’re okay” tenderly.

I have never seen anything less photogenic:
foam bubbles out of your mouth, white as pith of pomegranate.

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Bree’s Melancholic Tales: An Interpretation of “Mad Girl’s Love Song” by Sylvia Plath


Sylvia Plath lived her adult days in somber madness, greatly attributing to the now-famous work she produced in her lifetime. The clinical depression that overtook her life was the driving force behind her writing, and ultimately her unfortunate demise. Sylvia Plath was only thirty years old when she took her own life.

Much of Plath’s work details her mental health and life troubles, especially the problems she experienced in her romantic life. I chose to interpret her poem “Mad Girl’s Love Song,” as I feel it is an accurate representation of Plath’s state of mind during her troubles with love. Interestingly enough, this poem was written years before she split with her husband Ted Hughes, whom she discovered was having an affair with another woman.

“Mad Girl’s Love Song”

“I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead
I lift my lids and all is born again.
(I think I made you up inside my head.)”

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Selections from Rachel Steele’s chapbook, “Plain-Hearted”

The cover of Rachel Steele’s chapbook, “Plain-Hearted”

“Throughout Rachel Steele’s collection, ‘Plain-Hearted,’ not everything is absolutely how it seems. Being overwhelmed by the unexpected is an experience repeated in both her fiction pieces like ‘Three False Beginnings to an Incomplete Story’ and ‘Flurries,’ as well as her poems such as ‘Dear Olive’ and ‘Media Mutters: A Glosa.’ While Steele twists perspectives to create thundering shocks, she is continuously surprising us with her straightforward, albeit mysterious voice, and her use of transformative metaphors.

These are elements you confront as Steele stirs her synthetic realities into chaos, such as with her short fiction ‘Flurries.’ She sets up an average apartment, where an ordinary man kills time between shifts. Before he’s off to his next job, he visits this apartment simply to unwind with his precious baby girl, a Great Dane. Steele goes on to illustrate the lives of the other tenants, giving us brief descriptions to capture their dreams and their flaws. She subtly uses this ‘capturing of the mundane’ to distract her audience into a sense of comfort and personal connection before she suddenly rips the entire second floor into oblivion with an inexplicable explosion, and we’re left in a scene of debris colliding with the Chicago winter. What makes the entire piece so extraordinary is how extremely relatable everything feels, so that even the unpredictable is tangible, making the collapse even more devastating.

Just when the reader feels assured they know exactly what’s happening, they’re launched into a catastrophe. Just as with ‘Flurries,’ you never know what to expect with her piece ‘Three False Beginnings to an Incomplete Story.’ It is written as a three-part nanofiction, revealing each character through their unlikely actions. The first story delves into the crisis of a family trying to regain control after a burglary. The two items the naïve thief has claimed are couch cushions and a seemingly innocent Louis Vuitton purse. Like a defensive mother, the child narrator begins ‘sprinting with a steak knife and wearing periwinkle elephant slippers.’ This is when the readers learn that this child is not running after useless items, but the remains of their dead mother, now ash stored in her once favorite purse, closing with a smack of the line, ‘We burned her, we keep her. Those are the rules.’

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