This thesis consists of a collection of poems and a critical preface. The preface is a discussion of Elizabeth Bishop's descriptive mode, as demonstrated by three of her poems: "Sandpiper," "The Monument," and "Santarém." I argue for Bishop's descriptions as creative acts, and examine the gestures that help her make the reader aware of the shaping power she exercises.
This collection of personal essays about incest, abuse, and depression explores the lasting effects of an invisible childhood. The essays follow the protagonist from the age of five to her early twenties. Her brother, at a young age, becomes sexually abusive of her and her sisters, and her parents fail to protect their daughters. The family is divided as the older girls strive to defend their little sisters, while their parents attempt to excuse their son. When her brother is finally sent away, the protagonist is left to salvage what remains of her relationships with her parents.
This collection consists of a critical preface and nine essays. The preface analyzes, first, how the imagination influences the personal journey of a writer, and second, the techniques authors use, mainly form, time, and space, to enact the imagination and propel the reader into an imagined narrative. The essays explore themes of loss, mental illness, the rift between the “real” and the “imagined” life, and the intangibility of memory itself. Collection includes the essays “Into the Snow,” “No Longer a Part,” “Borderland,” “Still Wounds,” “What Stays in Las Vegas,” “Remnants,” “The Root,” “Your Father,” and “The Land Lord.”
This collection consists of a critical preface and five linked short stories. The preface analyzes the usage of violence in literate and other forms of media, and specifically the ways in which literature can address violence without aggrandizing or stylizing it. The stories explore this idea through the lens of the lives of two young men, following them from boyhood marked by violence to adulthood crushed by the trauma of the American Civil War. Collection includes the stories "Dead Foxes," "Cow Pen," "Fatherless," "Woodsmoke," and "Brotherhood."
This collection contains a preface entitled "Of Other Worlds" and the following short stories: "The Mind's Eye," "Waking," "The Conquest of the World," "Persephone," and "Extradition." This creative thesis includes a blend of science fiction and literary realism short stories, which are collectively concerned with questions of time, narration, and the use of language. As well, the preface discusses science fiction theory, narrative strategies such as the use of the first person perspective, and the author's theory of composition.
The preface, "Against Buses: Charles Baxter and the Contemporary Epiphany" deals with the epiphany as a potential ending to short stories. Baxter holds that epiphanies are trite and without purpose in today's fiction. I argue that Baxter's view, while not without merit, is limiting. Beginning with James Joyce and Katherine Anne Porter and moving to my own work, I discuss how some epiphanies, particularly false ones, can enhance rather than detract from excellent fiction. Five short stories make up the remainder of this thesis: "Dedication," "Taking it with You," "Transition to Flowers," "Profile in Courage," and "Henderson Street Bazaar."
This two-part thesis includes a critical preface and a collection of my poems. Using three poems-Louise Glück's "Lullaby," Bob Hicok's "Poem for My Mother's Hysterectomy," and Nick Flynn's "Memento Mori"-the critical preface examines how, in poetry, the transformation of a body negotiates trauma and triggers a conceptual shift, the creation and revision of identity, and the release of the duende's inspirational force. The collection of poetry that follows seeks to transfigure the body as a way to explore the nuanced traumas of human experience.
Investigating elements of the creative process in the work of three poets: James Wright, Gjertrud Schnackenberg, and Pegeen Kelly. Each poet deploys a different method for access to those experiences that lie at the edge of accessible language. Each method is discussed and its deployment illustrated. Wright leads us from the sensory world to the supersensual. Schnackenberg makes use of the formal device of the fairy tale. Kelly immerses in the logic of dreams. Drawing on Elaine Scarry's theory of the imagination, the case is made that the poetic act is a dialectic between the poet and the sensory world, in which perception and imagination are equally important.
Male or female, young or old, the characters of this collection inhabit a liminal space of trauma and social dislocation in which elements of the real and fabulous coexist in equal measure. The ghosts that populate the stories are as much the ghosts of the living, as they are the ghosts of the dead. They represent individual conscience and an inescapable connection to the past.
This collection consists of a critical preface and five short stories. The preface analyzes what it terms 'fringe fiction,' or stories dealing with elements that are improbable or unusual, though not impossible, as it distinguishes this category from magical realism and offers guidelines for writing this kind of fiction. The short stories explore themes of attachment, loss, guilt, and hope. Collection includes the stories "Portrait," "Dress Up," "Change," "Drawn Onward, We Few, Drawn Onward," and "Broker."
The List is a collection of short stories focusing on the inability to adapt, or learn from self-destructive patterns, and the bizarre ways people reach out for one another when they don't know what else to do.
The four stories in this collection follow different, yet strikingly similar, protagonists who are facing crossroads in life. These stories include memories and specific scenes from the past that combine with scenes from the present to trace the development of the characters.
This collection of three original short stories is an excerpt from a novel about an East Texas family whose common bond is the need for a second chance. A preface dealing with the use of setting as a character precedes the short stories.
The preface to this collection of poems, "Memory and The Myth of Lost Truth," explores the physical and metaphysical roles memory plays within poetry. It examines the melancholy frequently birthed from a particular kind poetic self-inquiry, or, more specifically, the feelings associated with recognizing the self's inability to re-inhabit the emotional experience of past events, and how poetry can redeem, via engaging our symbolic intuition, the faultiness of remembered history. Dawn in the Empty House is a collection of poems about the implications of human relationships, self-deception, and memory as a tool for self-discovery.
In the preface to this collection, "Poetry and History: Finding 'What Will Suffice,'" I show how Czeslaw Milosz's "Dedication" and Jorie Graham's "Guantánamo" embody the virtues of philosophical meditation and the moral imagination to create a unique poetry of witness. These poems also provide American poets with an example of how they can regain the trust of an apathetic general reading audience. Tinder for the Bathhouses is a collection of poems in which I use the moral imagination to indirectly bear witness to events as far ranging as the Holocaust and the Iraq War. Using the family as a foundation, I show how historical narratives can provide a poet with the tools to think about larger metaphysical questions that poetry can raise, such as the nature of beauty and the purpose of art.
The preface to this collection, "Against Expectation: The Lyric Narrative," highlights the ways James Wright, Stephen Dunn, and C.K. Williams use narrative to strengthen their poems. Where My Own Grave Is is a collection of poems that uses narrative to engage our historical fascination with death.
Although I've read and written poetry for my own pleasure for about twenty years now, I've only seriously studied and written poetry on a consistent basis for the past two years. In this sense, I still consider myself a beginning poet. When attempting to pursue an art form as refined and historically informed as poetry, only after spending a number of years reading and writing intensively would I no longer consider myself a beginner, but a practitioner of the art. I've grounded my early development as a poet in concision, voice, and imagination, and hope to build upon these ideas with other poetic techniques, theories, and forms as I go forward. I am particularly interested in mastering the sonnet form, a concise and imaginative form that will allow me to further develop my skills. Hopefully, the works in this thesis reflect that effort.
This collection of seven representative original short stories will include four short stories relating to a fictional location in Dallas, the Starry Skies gay country-and-western dance hall. Three short stories set in fabulous, sometimes absurd settings, will follow. A preface dealing with the nature of fictional place and non-fictional place in fiction will precede the collection of short stories.
As a dyslexic child, I always had trouble finding my voice. It's hard to express yourself in words, when you struggle with them. For me words always come later when I write. But most people don't understand how I feel. If your synapses fire off at the right time how can you image what it would be like it they didn't? That's where fiction comes in. If you can override someone's lack of experience with the use of a metaphor, then by distancing the reader from reality with an allegory, you can get to truth that's hard to capture any other way. You can also simply tell the truth in your writing with plain nonfiction. For me, fiction and nonfiction are a way for me to claim my voice and convey truth. Only a reader can decided what that truth looks like.
I believe that poetry has survived for thousands of years because it provides people with a transpersonal connection that they can't find elsewhere. I look for poetry that is more than an emotional expression, more than witty word play, and more than an interesting observation. I want poetry to give me that inspirational spark, that glimpse into a world beyond my own. Poems that succeed in doing this force me into a perspective that I haven't previously imagined by yoking together two or more seemingly disparate elements. This tension between the old elements and the new link between them creates energy for the poem. This poetic nexus contributes to the transpersonal experience that I seek.
Pulling Tangled Strings: "The Puppeteer" and Other Stories is a collection of stories with strong thematic and emotional connections that includes an opening preface describing the process used when writing the stories. Each of the stories is united by a main character that desperately wants to gain control of his environment. From a character acting out a classic revenge tale on his friend to a comatose teenager victimized by an ambiguous tragedy, these are characters who have been put into difficult life situations and need to feel like they are pulling the strings in their lives again. In all cases, however, the characters come to find that control does not come easily and that the motivations for their behavior are never clear cut, even to themselves.
This creative thesis is comprised of five original short stories and a critical preface. The preface discusses the changing cultural, sociopolitical, and socioeconomic landscape of the modern American South and the effects-positive, negative, and neutral-these changes have had on the region's contemporary literature, including the short stories contained within.
I start writing by conjuring up an image in my mind. Sometimes it will be something that I have thought about for a while, sometimes it will be something that I sit around attempting to create. Either way, it is simply the idea that I need in order to get started. People will say, "Just sit down and write" which I can do, but it does not mean I will end up anywhere worthwhile. In my writing I need a focus. I need an idea or just one image to get me writing and I can base an entire story off of that one image. I think the reason this works for me is because in my mind it is an illustration and always something that is vibrant and unique. I want the image to stand out and to mean something because I feel that it comes to me for a specific reason, I just have to piece it all together and let the characters and plot unfold for themselves. People often say this, that the characters end up running the story. I think this is true, but in my case my stories are not so driven by character or plot as they are by language. A language driven piece can be a difficult thing to manipulate because it needs to have some direction and some purpose other than just being pleasing to the ear/mind/reader. And what is the point of a language driven piece?
This thesis includes seven short stories and a critical afterword. The afterword places the stories in their literary historical context in regards to creative nonfiction. It goes on to discuss the craft of fictionalizing autobiographical stories. Each of the stories should stand alone, though they follow the narrator's life for a number of years. Harlin Anderson is the narrator of all the stories.
What is the boundary between fiction and nonfiction? What happens if the line between the two is crossed? Can we possibly recall events in our lives exactly as they happened? In creative nonfiction, such as memoir, the audience expects the writer to recall things exactly as they happened, with no embellishments, re-ordering, additions, or subtractions. It seems as if authors of creative nonfiction are bound to be questioned about events, nitpicked on details, challenged on memories, and accused of portraying real-life people the "wrong" way. Yet when the writer creates fiction, it seems to go the other way: readers like to think there are parallels between an author and her stories. Readers congratulate themselves for finding the similarities between the two, and instead of focusing on the crafted story at hand, try to search out which parts are "true" and which are embellished. Does any of this matter, though; don't all stories tell a kind of truth? We have an insatiable urge to classify, to "know" the truth, but truth isn't merely a recollection of cold facts; likewise, a story isn't any less true if it's fiction.
A Hint of Meaning contains a scholarly preface, "Language, Experimentation, and Craft: Creating a Vivid, Continuous Fictional Dream," that discusses the ambiguities of language and how they relate to different aspects of the craft of writing. Six original short stories follow the preface. "Musical Chairs" explores a woman's conflicting emotions about her ex-husband. "Baby Steps" depicts the struggle of a woman against her father's alcoholism. "Go Home Happy" depicts a day in the life of a video store employee. "Bargain Basement Perfection" contrasts the reality of a relationship with an imagined, perfect relationship. "Did You Hear about Donald and Bitsy?" is an experimental piece that tells a story through gossip. "Glass Angels" explores a minister's relationship with his homosexual son and how that relates to the minister's faith.
Many Christian writers point to God through their fiction without openly evangelizing. The images their words evoke lift their secular and religious readers' heads, for God is reflected in their use of language, the emotions they describe, and the actions of their characters. The preface and short stories in this collection aim to show that God's presence can be felt even when people are suffering due to human decisions and mistakes. He is with His creations in the midst of their pain to impart hope when they need it most.
A Country With No Name is a collection of thirty-four poems with a preface explaining the style and influences of the author. The preface defends plain-language techniques in poetry, using W.H. Auden, Wislawa Szymborska, and Paul Simon as examples of poets who take a similar approach. The poems range in topic from personal and familial to societal and abstract. The main subjects encompass interpersonal relationships, romantic and otherwise, and larger concerns, such as the effects of war and modern lifestyles.
Some String or Another: Fiction and Nonfiction Stories of Connection, a creative thesis, explores patterns of change in stories from the perspective of connection and disconnection. The preface examines the effects of temporal disconnection, the relationship of conflict and connection to narrative rhythm, and the webs of connection formed during the process of creation. Included in the body of the work are six fiction stories, one metafiction story, and two nonfiction essays.
Divine and the Everyday Devil contains a scholarly preface that discusses the experiences and literary works that influenced the author's writing with special attention in regards to spirituality and sexuality. The preface is followed by six original short stories. "Evil" is a work addressing a modern conception of evil. "Eschatology" concerns a man facing his own mortality. "The Gospel of Peter" tells the story of a husband grappling with his wife's religious beliefs. "The Mechanics of Projects" relates the experiences of a woman looking for love in Mexico. "The Rocky Normal Show" involves a husband growing apart from his wife and "Mutant: An Origin Story" is about a teenager trying to find his own unique identity.
The introduction of this thesis is an essay examining the poem Homage to Paul Cezanne by Charles Wright. Claiming that the capacity to serve as intersection of the singular and universal is poetry's means to transcendence, the essay uses the Charles Wright's poem to demonstration this capacity, identifying poetry's ability to access the primitive: its connection to the base of what humanity is and can be, as the means by which that transcendence is possible. Placing the discussion within the context of the Romantic Movement and furthering the literary ideals of the paralleling interior human Nature, to external nature. Following this introduction is a four section collection of poetry, unified by the philosophy of the essay which precedes it.
Into the Valley: Voices I Heard Along the Way contains a preface and a collection of five short stories. The preface discusses the use of voice as a technique to develop characters and create authenticity through elements such as sentence structure, diction, dialogue, and regional, cultural, and/or gender-specific affectations to make the words on the page become audible language in the mind of the reader. Each story is written with a unique voice that presents characters who struggle to come to terms with the truth and its various shades of reality.
Fear is one of the oldest and most basic of human emotions. In this thesis, I will explore the topic of fear in relation to literature, both a staple of the horror genre as well as a device in literary works, as well as in my own writings. In addition, I will use Sigmund Freud's theory of the “uncanny” as a possible device to examine the complexities of fear and its effects both on the mind and body through the medium of literature, and, more specifically, where and how these notions are used within my own short stories. By exploring how and why certain fears are generated, we may be able to better examine our own reactions in this regard.
I provide in my preface a brief account of my development as a creative writer. Through this development I draw an analogy to the evolution of modern science by stating that my need for personal clarity is analogous to the charge for empirical clarity of modern science. Furthermore, I contrast the objectivism of modern science to the subjectivism of creative writing. The four short stories in my thesis range from a semi-autobiographical story, to two short stories that stem out further and further from the subjective origin of the first story. The story of greatest distance is “Fireflies,” which is not semi-autobiographical, but pure fiction. The final short story returns to the subjective origin of the first. The drive of Distances is thereby to create a sort parabola: a subjective, semi-autobiographical origin, to an objective, purely fictional crest, then a return to that subjective, semi-autobiographical origin. The entire collection is a holistic, ultimately subjective, and therefore personal experience; yet, through the use certain tropes,metaphors others can relate to, the stories are paradoxically sharable.
A creative, multi-genre collection that includes three personal essays (non-fiction) and two short stories (fiction). The pieces in this collection primarily focus on the themes of loneliness and waiting. It includes pieces dealing with homosexual relationships, friendships and heterosexual relationships. Collection includes the essays "The Line," "Why We Don't Talk about Christmas," and "Boys Who Kiss Back," and includes the short stories "I Am Allowed to Say Faggot" and "Dear Boy."
Home: A Memoir, a creative non-fiction thesis, is a memoir in the form of personal essays, each exploring some aspect of the meaning of home, how my sense of self has been formed by my relationship to home, and the inevitability of leaving home. Chapter I explores the nature of memory and of memoir, their relationship to each other and to truth, and how a writer's voice shapes memoir. Chapter II, “Paternity,” is an attempt to remember my father, resulting in renewed interest in his past and renewed awareness of his legacy. Chapter III, “Home,” is on the surface about my grandparents' house, but is really about my grandmother. Chapter IV, “Dixie,” is about my contradictory feelings for the South, and my eventual acceptance of the South's complexities.
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