Name of Student Commentator Savannah Robert

DescriptionAspect Magazine vol. 11, issue 62, May-June, 1975à volume right?

Creators list Edward J. Hogan, Jeff Schwartz, Ellen Schwartz, M. T. Buckley, Christine Smith, Jeffrey Katz, Barbara A. Holland, Sterling Kelly Webb, Andrew Darlington, Doris Wight, Joan Colby, Dennis Nicholas Hoppin, Karen Solstad, and Rick Smith, Marjorie Masel, Roger Camp, Frank J. Jones, Robie Darche, Bettina Barrett,

Contributors Edward J. Hogan, Jeff Schwartz, and Ellen Schwartz, Jean Segaloff.

Date 5-1975

Publisher Aspect/ Zephyr Press

Description This volume of Aspect magazine is titled Aspect: Poetry, Fiction, Politics.  A drawing of a two cylindrical shaped buildings with windmills seem to be set on a rocky shore, on the green front page.  It is edited by Edward J. Hogan, Jeff Schwartz, and Ellen Schwartz and also includes artwork from Jean Segaloff.  This issue contains fifty-two pages, held together by two stapes.  The inside cover contains a table of contents with the type of writing followed by the authors and page numbers associated under that category.

This issue contains poetry from M. T. Buckley, Christine Smith, Jeffrey Katz, Barbara A. Holland, Sterling Kelly Webb, Andrew Darlington, Doris Wight, Joan Colby, Dennis Nicholas Hoppin, Karen Solstad, and Rick Smith.  It contains art work from Jean Segaloff, Marjorie Masel, Roger Camp, and one anonymous piece that was with permission from the Manchester Central Library.  This piece is a photograph taken by a freelance photographer in Manchester, England.

This issue has two essays, the first is titled Corliss, Master of Power by Frank J. Jones.  This brief piece offers a point of view into mechanical engineer, George H. Corliss’ power and public influence due to his invention, the steam engine in the mid-1800s.  The next essay, Winning in the Sierras by Robie Darche, is a bit longer.  It discusses the position of women in casinos as changegirls and cocktail waitresses, with discussion of keymen as well.  Another version of this piece is also found in Canadian Woman’s magazine, BRANCHING OUT.

A description and method of treating ­­­­­­“Sore Nipples” from Dr. Willich’s Domeftic Encyclopedia is found, as well as a place to order Edcentric Magazine.  Another advertisement for a monthly newsletter named Recon is included on the back page.

Some brief works of fiction are included including Paradise, by Gudanowska and Karla in the Dark, by Bettina Barrett.  Politics include Bureaucracy, Reform, and Intervention in Czechoslovakia. This is by George Shaw Wheeler, Lawrence Hill & Co, and focuses on events during 1968, including the goals of Czechoslovakian reformers and economics.

In News titles such as “Granite Suit”, “Montreal Writers’ Cooperative: Imaginative Space”, “100 Flowers Closes”, “Aspect Benefit,” are included prior to a letter-to-the-editor.  Ellen Schwartz reviewed Final Analysis by Lois Gould and Jane by Dee Wells.


Subject American Politics | Literature in English, North America | United States History. Each document you create will be indexed in the Digital Commons as part of the American Politics Commons, Literature in English, North America Commons, and the United States History Commons.

 Feb. 14

The Richness of the World

As a women who wants kid, there is something romantic about the idea of the “stay at home mom”.  Not in today’s sense of the word where the women is scorned for being lazy, or put on a pedestal for marrying someone who can provide so much.  The idea of the stay at home mom, when it wasn’t a title, just the norm.  Where the loving father leaves in the morning for a hard day’s work, and the mother gets the children ready and off to school, then cooks and cleans her day away until the whole family comes together that night at the dinner table.  A stay at home when one income is all a family needed to be happy and it was the norm.  A house that looks like it was straight out of a magazine, perfectly behaved children because Mom was there to teach them right from wrong and no harm was ever put in their way by a stranger who needed to babysit.

But then once you step back and the cracks start to reveal themselves it loses the romantic aspect.  In nineteenth century North America, the norm of women not being allowed to have sexual desire, refusing to show it and refusing to deny sex from their husband, no matter the day- it is not romantic.  Being abused sexually or physically and not being able to divorce without losing your kids- is not romantic.  Wanting a life without kids?  Not an option.  Where is the freedom in that?

In Blood, Bread, and Poetry Adrienne Rich claimed “I naturally absorbed ideas about women, sexuality, or power from the subjectivity of male poets… The dissonance between these images and the daily events of my own life demanded a constant footwork of imagination” (244).  Similarly to what I was saying in my last post, it is difficult to change the only thing that you know.  Just think about it.  Prior to the Civil War, white southerners released all kinds of literature related to slavery and how it was really doing a service do African-Americans, who they believed could not really live on their own.  To these white southerners, who were raised with the idea that this was OK, even if they started to doubt themselves the reinforcement of these documents could justify what it was they were doing.  Further, to the Northerner who has not seen slavery first hand, reading these documents they can fall into the trap of believing it.

Of course this applies to anything and everything, and anyone can be subject to believing it unless they have enough knowledge to sort through what is true and what is not.  Rich has a point when she begins pursuing geography and get straight to the point, the body.  In a sense the idea of having countries and continents, cities and states, may be a little unnatural.  Who are we to divide up pieces of the earth?  Who are we to stop people from roaming the world as they please?  However, for a woman who is not at peace with what she finds within the country, this retreat within the body, seems completely natural.

This is where questions can begin to be answered, feelings unveiled, injustices recognized.  Rich is taking these feelings and putting them into her poetry.  The observations she has of the world around her, not always specific people, but specific types… To say that politics should stay out of art, like poetry, is contradictory.  It is like saying that women should not be allowed to vote when in a democracy… Oh wait.   We are not fulfilling our duties as informed citizens by ignoring these voices.

Feb. 7

The Man Thinking

There is something to be said about the string of themes that come out of commencement or convocations.   When large groups of people are brought together, be it for recognition or celebration of an event or anything else, the speakers are usually well-prepared to deal with a large audience.  Naturally, the speaker does not want to be caught off guard and look foolish in front the aforementioned audience.  So he/she would do ones best to represent his/herself well, just as the program leaders would do their best to select an individual who will take the job of speaking seriously.

Many things are spoken about at these gatherings.  For example, speakers can focus on bettering yourself, finding your passion, building the community, and taking risks.  The success of a group of people and the direction they are headed in is vital.  In short, there is no right subject to focus on, which is why the themes that connect together are so important.  Democracy is one of those themes that are seen over and over.  While it may not be as cliché as “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade,” it is found all throughout.  However a huge advantage to this theme is how many directions it can be taken in.

Democracy is timeless.  Whether it is 1837 or 2001, the importance does not disappear and many may seem timeless like Ralph Waldo Emerson’s speech, The American Scholar.  This piece dissected what it truly means to be a scholar, in Emerson’s terms.  He believed that a true scholar used the information provided to him, and would make it his own.  This individual did not just absorb information, however useful, but that he took it and made it his own.  With this new knowledge a scholar could go out into the world and make a true difference.

Reflections of this speech can be seen in many other places.  Each adapted to the time period, or as Emerson would look at it, “Each age, it
is found, must write its own books; or rather, each generation for the next
succeeding. The books of an older period will not fit this”.  For example, Adrienne Rich shows us in her speech the capability that women have, stating that we are here to claim an education.  Not just receive one.  Similarly, Emerson went on about the knowledge consumed by scholars and this very knowledge can be reflected into other speeches, like Terry Tempest Williams, who believed that “open minds led to open hearts,” and that “when minds close, democracy begins to close”.

Jan. 31

Walt Whitman

Walt Whitman claims American democracy as an embryo in his 1871 essay.  Perhaps it is easy to see this point of view today, with the direction that the world has taken us, but this might have been quite the statement when it was first written.  After all, it had been just short of a century when American democracy truly kicked off, with the declaration of independence in 1776 and the signing of the constitution in 1787.  In a world that democracy is not typically used, this would seem to be quite a length of time. 

Robert Dahl just might agree with Whitman on the topic.  However, not without stopping to explain the history behind democracy as he does in On Democracy.   While democracy may not be strongly developed, it has been invented multiple times, and practiced by sizeable groups since 500 B.C.E.   Armed with this knowledge, we could make a strong argument for American democracy to be in the condition of a fetus instead of an embryo.  The country has had decades to settle into the flow, and the countries limits were tested in the American Civil War.

Whitman is right however.  Democracy is extremely young and time is the only thing that can tell where it will go.  Will it be a failure?  Worst yet, will it be the “most tremendous failure of time,” as Whitman says it might be.  But Whitman describes democracy as so much more than just politics.  He claimed it as literature and religion, something to be found in every nook and cranny from schools and colleges, into the military.

While the country may be more than an embryo, his claim “that the fruition of democracy, on aught like a grand scale, resides altogether in the future,” does express the newness of the nation.  With developing technologies, it is obvious that big change is going to happen.  So big in fact that Whitman theorized that the nation’s capital could be moved perhaps up to two thousand miles its current location in Washington D.C.  While this did not occur, the nation did continue to expand in an explosive manner.  The East and West coast of America are filled with many different kinds of people, creating an immense amount of our American culture.


Opposing Perceptions of Democracy

Maybe it is because I am an American, but a defensive wall shot up while reading pieces of Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America.  “In what Spirit the Americans Cultivate the Arts,” the American culture was attacked.  Tocqueville picked apart American culture, but focused only on several specified aspects.  He included example after example sharing why the aristocracy was good and the democracy was bad, and he refused to stop to question or look at this view from another angle.  While he does create many valid points, the negative portrayal, should make one question the point of view he is coming from. Most likely, born into a rich aristocratic family, the benefits of a democracy do not appear as lucrative to him as they would seem to individuals of another class.

Tocqueville expresses that “in democracies there is always a multitude of persons whose wants are above their means and who are very willing  to take up with imperfect satisfaction rather than abandon the object of their desires altogether,” but is this really a bad characteristic in society?  Perhaps the definition of what these members in American society value has changed.  Certainly the social structure is different, but so is the way of life.  For example, technological advancements were starting to grow with more speed.   Tocqueville’s sentence could be rewritten as “in democracies there is always a multitude of persons who’s striving to reach above their means and who are very willing to take up happiness with imperfection than chase their desires forever.”  The value of nice things may have appeared to have dropped, but in all reality, the importance of these things in society may have changed.

Similarly in “Literary Characteristics of Democratic Times,” political pamphlets are expressed as a negative aspect, however it is just a reflection of the time period.  Tocqueville is not incorrect in his assessment of what may be found in an American library, but the fact that few texts have been written by American authors at this point should not be alarming.  Political pamphlets benefited many members of society, not just the wealthy members.  For many years, literacy was something only for the upper class, without proper systems of education, the working class did not have a reason, or the means to learn.  It adds up that lengthy texts were not created for an American audience as the majority of readers had no need and could not afford these texts.  Political pamphlets along with many short stories and newspapers would have provided a much more valuable source of information to a majority of readers.  Tocqueville does try to get into the mind of a literary individual within a democracy versus an aristocrat but again, the standard he appears to believe in does not have any room for individuals of lesser education.

Ralph Waldo Emerson seems to indirectly display an opposing view in his essay “History”.  Here he displays an understanding between history and memory.  It is interesting to consider Tocqueville within a class other than his own.  If he had spent significant time with the very Americans who he seemed to disagree with at every turn, would he have written the same way?  “What it does not see, what it does not live, it will not know,” Emerson wrote in “History,” and perhaps this line would change the way of thinking for Tocqueville.