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Sestina: Like

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Kristin Vaeth

on 23 May 2014

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Transcript of Sestina: Like

A. E. Stallings
Alicia Elsbeth Stallings was born in Decatur, Georgia, on 2 July 1968 to William M. Stallings, a professor at Georgia State University , and Alice Anderson Stallings, an elementary school librarian and ESL teacher. Since her home was bordered by forest, stallings claims to have gotten a good education at Briarcliff High School. She describes her father, deceased since 2000, as being one of the most influential person in her life. She had said he was a "brilliant man of wide-ranging interests, who could talk about Proust or deer hunting, Mozart or Hank Williams." They did a lot together when she was younger; he taught her how to gut a fish by the age of four, and, along with Stallings' mother, encouraged a love of books and learning.
In an interview with Ginger Murchison, Stallings states that she had been "aware from a young age that books were written by people and that one could be a writer, and I wanted to write books." As a toddler, Stallings was fascinated by literature and emitted this passion through little illustrated books she would create. She gives credit to her mother and AP English teacher for this early literary ambition.
Stallings moved to Athens, Greece in 1999. She didn't plan on stay for long, only a few months, but she ended up building a family. She has two sons, Jason and Atalanta, and her husband, Psaropoulos. They still live in Athens today.
Author's Biography
Sestina: Like
"...Even plain"dislike"
Is frowned on: there's no button for it. Like
Is something you can quantify"

Rhetorical Analysis (Cont.)
Historical Context
Sestina: Like
By: A. E. Stallings
A. E. Stallings disapproves of society's everyday use of the word like with her use of metaphors, poem structure, emotional appeal, and tone. Stallings attacks Facebook pages, mocks our carelessness for language, and addresses the current lack of meaning in our friendships in society.
Rhetorical Analysis
"..."please like
This page to stamp out hunger." and you'd
To end hunger and climate change alike,
But it's unlikely Like does diddly. Like
just twiddles it's unopposing thumbs-up, like-Wise props up scarecrow silences."
"...Yes, we’re alike,
How we pronounce, say, lichen, and dislike
Cancer and war. So like this page. Click
Rhetorical Analysis (Cont.)
In 2013 Facebook took over social networking. Their infamous "Like" button has influenced many other social platforms such at twitter, instagram, and vine, ect. This button allows you to let other people know what you like whether it's a picture, a video, or an opinion.
The slang term "Like" has dated back to the late 19th century. "Like" is most popularly used as an interjection or adverb. Over used by society, the word "Like" has become a filler word. "Like" has also come to replace the word "um".
Sestina: Like
With a nod to Jonah Winter

Now we’re all “friends,” there is no love but Like,
A semi-demi goddess, something like
A reality-TV star look-alike,
Named Simile or Me Two. So we like
In order to be liked. It isn’t like
There’s Love or Hate now. Even plain “dislike”

Is frowned on: there’s no button for it. Like
Is something you can quantify: each “like”
You gather’s almost something money-like,
Token of virtual support. “Please like
This page to stamp out hunger.” And you’d
To end hunger and climate change alike,

But it’s unlikely Like does diddly. Like
Just twiddles its unopposing thumbs-ups, like-
Wise props up scarecrow silences. “I’m like,
So OVER him,” I overhear. “But, like,
He doesn’t get it. Like, you know? He’s like
It’s all OK. Like I don’t even LIKE

Him anymore. Whatever. I’m all like ... ”
Take “like” out of our chat, we’d all alike
Flounder, agape, gesticulating like
A foreign film sans subtitles, fall like
Dumb phones to mooted desuetude. Unlike
With other crutches, um, when we use “like,”

We’re not just buying time on credit: Like
Displaces other words; crowds, cuckoo-like,
Endangered hatchlings from the nest. (Click “like”
If you’re against extinction!) Like is like
Invasive zebra mussels, or it’s like
Those nutria-things, or kudzu, or belike

Redundant fast food franchises, each like
(More like) the next. Those poets who dislike
Inversions, archaisms, who just like
Plain English as she’s spoke — why isn’t “like”
Their (literally) every other word? I’d like
Us just to admit that’s what real speech is like.

But as you like, my friend. Yes, we’re alike,
How we pronounce, say, lichen, and dislike
Cancer and war. So like this page. Click Like.
Through out the poem Stallings uses a mocking, or condescending tone. She italicizes the word "like" because by liking the page you aren't doing anything to end world hunger or help with climate change. TheY want to do something to help but just clicking on a button does nothing. She uses words like "unlikely" and "diddly" to emphasize how that "Like" button is just a way to show that you want to help instead of doing something to help.
Like has become concrete while dislike is still abstract. Abstract pertains to the emotions that you cannot literally see, this makes dislike an emotional appeal. Everyone wants to be accepted, therefore dislike is frowned upon. They use the like button to make people feel like they're important and in making "like" concrete they now feel and know that people are agreeing with them. Without the use of dislike everyone feels better about the things they say and do.
"Lichen" is an algae commonly found on the side of houses or forest trees. Lichen is used as a metaphor for the word "like" itself. Stallings mentions this algae because not only does it sound like the word "like", but it is widespread and long lived, while "like" is widespread throughout society and has been in use since the 19th century. This metaphor explains the overuse of "like" and how it is like an algae growing in society that will never grow old.
A. E. Stallings' poem "Sestina: Like" is a form of poem called sestina. A sestina is written with six stanzas of six lines and a three line envoi. Typically in sestinas the first six lines of the poem end in different words but the corresponding lines in the following stanzas use the same word. In Stallings' poem she adds to the over use of "like" throughout society but making every line end in "like". She does this to express to the reader the excessive use and how tiring or annoying "like" can get. The envoi is used to conclude her poem with more ridicule of how people "like" her poem.
Literary Criticism
"The most indispensable quality that a poet must have: an original way of looking at things."
- James Dickey
"The meter and rhyme unfold elegantly, but at the expense of idiom,"
-Peter Campion
"Stallings achieves a restrained, stark poise that is threatening even by New Formalism standards." - Publishers weekly
Full transcript