Joke Essay



Year Twelve Literature:

Discuss the relationship between a poet’s star sign and the font employed in at least
one poem you have studied.

Born on June 6, 1920, Gwen Harood was a Gemini; commonly referred to as “the
twin” in astrologica1 parlance. A star sign renowned for an equivocal calibration of
contrite balance and contrary insouciance, her felicitous duality found voice and form
in poetry that promulgated a progressive alacrity in lieu of acquiescent familial
dependability. Hardwood’s unwavering employment of the Times New Roman font is indicative of a fusion of classicism and post-modemism; the main streams of tradition
and tergiversation invariably associated with the ineffability of her words and the
feminine plurality of her themes.

A poem such as “In the Park” is highly indicative of one born under Gemini, due the
connuence of meaning generated at the delta of the alpha and omega extremes of
domestic castigation, feminine edification and poetic enumeration, as can be readily
appreciated in the poem’s opening line;
“She sits in the park.”

There is a possessive radiance contained within the image, whereby the objectified
feminine other is placed with a constructed environment, in fecund, neo-gothic tribute
to Gaia, or the Earth Mother as she is commonly known. The seated position gives
rise to perception of a zen-like benevolence, whi1st indicating the kind of complicit
subservience one wou1d expect from a woman shackled by the chains of maternal subjugation. ‘

The line is dramatically enhanced by the employment of the Times New Roman font, which is perhaps most strong1y felt be the reader when scanning the line’s angular alliterative allusions. The subtle inflection contained at the top and bottom of the Capital “S” is passionate, but lacking the unrestrained and coquettish flair of Script;
She sits in the park”, the confident if somewhat deferential air of Arial Black; “She
sits in the park
”, or the melodramatic hubris of Goudy Stout; “SHE SITS IN THE PARK.”

Harwood’ s desire to illuminate the intractably judicious nature of the gender
calibration is perhaps best appreciated when font and astrological influence are considered in conjunction with one another. Her desire to illuminate the convergence
of traditional domestic compliance, in conjunction with the timeless and kinetic harmony emitted from the presence of the divine femine is well served by a text type
setting that favours a juxtapostioning of ink and angles that, while linear, does not
adhere to a uni-d«źrectional timeline.

When taken as noun, the measured attainability of placed - as conveyed by “park”
seem to indicate an almost recidivist sense of unalterable routine. When the noun is
swung - via a suspension of grammatical accord - from noun to verb, the notion of
“parking” oneself in a place lends the act a sense of artificiality, as though the female
persona is being controlled by an external - no doubt male - oppressor, whereby the
female is bereft of existential possibility, and in stead bound by fatalistic
determinative banality.

As a Gemini, Harwood’s occupied a furtive and febrile imaginative space, whereby
reason, resolve and artful rumination readily completed for recognition. The line’s
connuence of presence tense and third person omniscience is well served by the
Imperially persuasive power of the nobly Romanic overtones of the selected font,
which readily complements - albeit with an agreeable tension - the intransigent
perception of “newness” that belies the suggestive autonomy implicit in the Manichean contrast of pen on paper.

The ubiquity of the Times New Roman font encourages speculation with regards to
the possibility of it being possessed of a gender alignment; and it is not beyond the
bounds of reason to perceive with in its authoritative presence (or “pretence” to its
detractors) the assertive air of the masculine ego. It is therefore worth considering the
possible subconscious alignment of Hardwood’s muse to the masculine as opposed to
the feminine. It is also possible that the selection of the font is an act of hybridity,
whereby the emasculated female is given confidence and status commensurate with
the ‘Walter Lehman’ pseudonym she adopted. It is also possible that this is simply
another example of the contrary nature ofthe Gemini.

Crucially, aspirations to a non-gender specific chromosomal affinity between the twin
proponents of sustained humanity - which has not yet come to be accepted or even
defined, by either patriarchal nomenclature or paternalistic narcissism - is conveyed
by the font’s commonality, and the familiarity of most readers with the universality of
parks, and of sitting down. This simply drawn summation of the articulated state
provides an earthy familiarity for readers that grounds the potentially nebulous
possibilities of such an esoieric reading of the text, which I believe necessary to
enable any meaning processed to be approach the kind oftranscendent epiphany all
readers would no doubt aspire to experience; the text, font, poet and perceived point
conjoin in a radiant cusp of equipoise and sustained equivocation.

As one seeks to provide for oneself an ideological framework to fully appreciate the
text, one can only marvel at the richness ofthe visual dimension afforded by close
calligraphic explication, in close affiliation with astrological implication. In fact, the
only negative consequence that arises is that the extraordinary depth and significance
of the meaning perceived makes it virtually impossible to read any further lines in the
poem without first enjoying a warm cup of milk and good lie down. Such is the fate of
the committed reader; a single line can take a life time to appreciate.