Artist’s Statement- The NEW American Dream


“A New American Dream”

I chose to create a poem for my original work. There are many ways to convey the course material in dramatic form. I knew that a song may end up being too kitschy, and that inevitably, I would end up (subconsciously) copying someone else’s tune. I chose a poem because it is something I really enjoy doing. The actual process of arranging the words (especially in a rhyming poem such as this) is a challenge, but I enjoy a challenge.

I chose to speak to an audience of people I can understand- Americans. Having grown up in America, (Pennsylvania to be exact) I have the understanding of culture and behavior that someone from another country or society might not be able to fully grasp. This is the same reason that I did not try to tackle in the poem all of the world’s water issues, because, truth be told, I can’t relate to or understand these problems as much as I can the practices and logic that define my own country’s relationship to water. Also, I firmly believe that to make a difference you musts tart with your own behaviors, and then advocate to/for/with people that you can relate. You must help to ameliorate the unsustainable conditions of an area that you are familiar with, because with this experience, there is unmatched knowledge and understanding.

Choosing Americans as an audience was also important to me, because I feel that America specifically is one of the countries causing the greatest negative impact on the world’s water, and is also one of the countries most apathetic about it. I can relate- I grew up seeing water as a commodity, as an ingredient, a tool and as recreation. There was not much room to see water as more than something that comes out of the hose. Now, with my experiences at Ithaca College, and especially in this class, I am beginning to understand just how much I was not aware of about water’s role in the world. Through this ever-increasing understanding of the gravity of water’s situation on earth and humans’ role in that problem, I was inspired to write this piece about America’s general view of water.

I tried to convey in this poem a sort of logical flow of issues related to water. I open the poem with a stanza about the universality of water- a concept that is of primary importance to understand. Without understanding the vast role of water on earth (i.e. it is absolutely necessary to any and all life forms), the reader may not be able to grasp the immediacy and relevance of the following topics.

By repeating the term “water” in the beginning of the poem, it not only solidifies the topic of the poem into the reader’s mind, but creates the beginning of a flow, that would later be interrupted (much like how water flows in the modern world).

After discussing the importance of water, I delve more in depth as to what this means. These next three stanzas or so help to paint a picture into the readers mind and illustrate, rather than explain to the reader, practical imagery of the subject matter.  I find this strategy particularly important, because (at least for me) examples mean twice as much to me as descriptions ever could.

Then starting with the “But lo” stanza I tried to create a mood change. Fresh off of reading about the various roles of water one earth and thus highlighting the importance of this water to us and the planet, the reader now reads about several issues we learned about in class. These issues include, but are not limited to; water as a commodity verses human right; disposable water bottles; “hard” development; water extraction; pollution in relation to water quality; the concept of a water footprint; permaculture and earthworks; watersheds as “basins of relations”; and water quality in other countries.

After this information, I present the reader with a challenge to make a difference. I introduce certain green strategies and technologies to provide the reader with ideas and information on how they can go about making lasting change.

That is the overall goal of this piece, after all; to educate and thus empower and inspire the reader to act in more sustainable and water friendly ways.

The visual component to this piece is a PowerPoint containing different pictures that were carefully chosen to help convey different messages. The pictures will not only create a lasting memory and speak on their own to the audience, but will also help to explain an points in the poem that were hazy because of syntax. Plus, I am a very visual person, and I think you’ll agree that pictures can make or break a piece.

Well I hope you enjoy this piece- it is something that is important to me.


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