"Invictus" by William Henley is a widely popular poem, thanks in part to the publicity it received from Nelson Mandela and the 2009 film Invictus. Yet, the poem's appropriation did not stop with Mandela. Tim McVeigh, known as the Oklahoma City Bomber, orchastrated one of the deadliest attacks pre-9/11 on American soil, killing 168 via bomb in April of 1995. He was convicted and given the death penalty. Before his execution, McVeigh left an untitled transcript of Henley's poem as his final statement. This action caused popular uproar, particularly among the survivors and family of those deceased. It certainly did call into question the appropriateness of reader appropriation of poetry, and literature in general. Armed with this knowledge, I researched Henley's poem through the lens of terrorism, and tapped into the broader theme of reader appropriation.
First Draft of Poetry Essay (web page)
During peer review, I swapped essays with a peer that had chosen the same poem, but had chosen to focus on the Nelson Mandela connection. It was an interesting experience for both of us to get to interact with an interpretation different from our own scholarship. Her historicization of the Mandela connection inspired me to include a piece in my essay that discusses Mandela in terms of terrorism and draws into question the appropriateness of his appropriation of the poem. She also remarked to me that she was interested to see such a vastly different interpretation of the same work.
Moving from the first to second draft, I was encouraged to more plainly display the actual poem within my essay. I was hesitant to do this during my first draft, as I feel like it had always been ingrained in me in high school to not over do it with the textual support. However, I found that my arguments were strengthened by displaying stanzas of the poem in the regions of the paper where they were being discussed.
Second Draft of Poetry Essay (document)
Moving from the second to final draft of my poetry essay involved a lot of copyediting. Additionally, I strengthened my conclusion to better draw the various pieces of my argument together. I was very excited to see how well my essay turned out.
Final Draft of Poetry Essay (document)
Ah, the e-poem. I jokingly referred to this as the bane of my creative existence as I struggled to create a piece that accurately reflected the movie I had conjured up in my mind. My creative vision was very clear from the moment I found King Henry VIII's poem, "Though some Saith that Youth Ruleth me." I wanted to create a juxtaposition between the 16th century monarch and the celebrity of today. In terms of 16th century pop culture, Henry VIII's youth, bevy of marriages, and seemingly rash actions led to great controversy and disapproval from many. I immediately was drawn to this idea of a young rockstar who found himself in the same public struggle that ultimately led to a breakdown. I've been a fan of The 1975 for a long time, and certainly made this connection to the band's frontman, Matty Healy. He has publically discussed his struggle with the spotlight, alcoholism, and drug addiction. I was familar with the band's body of work (particularly the expressive music videos), and know that I would have a large library to draw upon. I spent an absurd amount of time currating footage directly from the band, but also supplemental footage from fans and third party sponsors of the band's events. I certainly struggled with the volume of imagery that I was able to procure. However, I had a difficult time finding the imagery that fit my specific vision, which drove me to continue to source.
On the technical front, I was having issues as well. While Camtasia is a wonderful service, and certainly has a wide variety of functions (that I still don't fully understand...), it also has a tendency to crash. In the middle of an edit. Right before I can think to press 'Save'. I also faced issues with importing sources, particularly with the video freezing on one screen if the mouse wasn't active throughout the recording. It was a large learning curve, but I ultimately was able to put together a video that I am exceptionally proud of!