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Tinder for the Bathhouses

Description: 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.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Bredthauer, Bredt
Partner: UNT Libraries

Where My Own Grave Is

Description: 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.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Collier, Jordan Taylor
Partner: UNT Libraries

"For the Ruined Body"

Description: This dissertation contains two parts: Part I, "Self-Elegy as Self-Creation Myth," which discusses the self-elegy, a subgenre of the contemporary American elegy; and Part II, For the Ruined Body, a collection of poems. Traditionally elegies are responses to death, but modern and contemporary self-elegies question the kinds of death, responding to metaphorical not literal deaths. One category of elegy is the self-elegy, which turns inward, focusing on loss rather than death, mourning aspects of the self that are left behind, forgotten, or aspects that never existed. Both prospective and retrospective, self-elegies allow the self to be reinvented in the face of loss; they mourn past versions of selves as transient representations of moments in time. Self-elegies pursue the knowledge that the selves we create are fleeting and flawed, like our bodies. However by acknowledging painful self-truths, speakers in self-elegies exert agency; they participate in their own creation myths, actively interpreting and incorporating experiences into their identity by performing dreamlike scenarios and sustaining an intimate, but self-critical, voice in order to: one, imagine an alternate self to create distance and investigate the evolution of self-identity, employing hindsight and self-criticism to offer advice; two, reinterpret the past and its role in creating and shaping identity, employing a tone of resignation towards the changing nature of the self. This self-awareness, not to be confused with self-acceptance, is often the only consolation found.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Dorris, Kara Delene
Partner: UNT Libraries

Inter

Description: This dissertation is has two parts: a critical essay on the lyric subject, and a collection of poems. In the essay, I suggest that, contrary to various anti-subjectivists who continue to define the lyric subject in Romantic terms, a strain of Post-Romantic lyric subjectivity allows us to think more in terms of space, process, and dialogue and less in terms of identity, (mere self-) expression, and dialectic. The view I propose understands the contemporary lyric subject as a confluence or parallax of imagined and felt subjectivities in which the subject who writes the poem, the subject personified as speaker in the text itself, and the subject who receives the poem as a reader are each repeatedly drawn out of themselves, into others, and into an otherness that calls one beyond identity, mastery, and understanding. Rather than arguing for the lyric subject as autonomous, expressive (if fictive) "I,” I have suggested that the lyric subject is a dialogical matrix of multiple subjectivities—actual, imagined, anticipated, deferred—that at once posit and emerge from a space whose only grounded, actual place in the world is the text: not the court, not the market, and not a canon of legitimized authors, but in the relatively fugitive realm of text. In this way, there is no real contradiction between what Tucker terms the intersubjective and the intertextual. The lyric space I am arguing for is ultimately a diachronic process in which readers take up the poem and bring that space partially into their bodies, imaginations, and consciousness even as the poem brings them out, or to the edge, of each of these.
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Date: May 2016
Creator: Haines, Robert M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Counting Out The Harvest"

Description: "Counting Out The Harvest" is a collection of poems exploring intimate encounters. The poems reflect on encounters with memories, family, and the natural and cosmic worlds. In one of the poems, "Red-Throated Anole," the speaker works desperately to save a small dying lizard. In "Ice Storm, Post-Divorce," the speaker attempts to decipher a cluster of ladybugs taking refuge in her room. In the title poem, a couple wonders patiently if their crop will eventually grow. In each of these poems there is a present longing for the construction of a meaningful identity by means of the encounter, but the intersection between speaker and world falls short of satisfaction, whether the faultiness lies in the body's inability to find full sustenance, or in the ever-changing fluidity of memory to find stability. But the poems progress from pressing against this difficulty toward finding a contented resignation to the world's cyclical order. The final line of the manuscript, "disrobe a layer to begin again," indicates an arrival at satisfaction, which is found ultimately in continuation.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Lischau, Carol
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Southern Tongues Leave Us Shining"

Description: A collection of poems that are history- and place-infused lyrical songs that that sounds the landscapes and distances of the South, with a critical preface that explores erotic encounters with the divine.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Wagenaar, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Spinning Place

Description: "The Spinning Place" finds its impetus in the intersection of the spiritual and material, and while often dwelling in a domestic milieu, the poems move outward both figuratively and literally. For instance, one poem re-narrates the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, several poems are about divination by various means (frogs, animal behavior), and another performs an erasure of the last supper so that it instead tells a woman's experience in a delivery room. I borrow the title of the collection from a stanza of Dylan Thomas's poem "Fern Hill," and the excerpt (which will become an epigraph to the book) reads: "So it must have been after the birth of the simple light / In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm / Out of the whinnying green stable / On to the fields of praise." Thomas refers to the newly created earth as the "spinning place," imagining the fleeting idyll and harmony of that scene. In a similar way, my new poems specifically explore moments of creation, birth, and discovery, drawing from a variety of inspirations, including recognizable narratives and myths, as well as personal experience.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Wagenaar, Chelsea
Partner: UNT Libraries

"This Fundamental Lack": Stories

Description: This short story collection includes five original works of fiction, three of which make up a trilogy titled "The World Drops Beneath You," which follows the life of James McClellan from 1969 in Texas until roughly 2009, when he is struggling to care for his wife, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease. One of the two remaining stories, "She Loved Him When He Looked Like Elvis," prominently features James McClellan's parents and is set approximately eight years before the start of the trilogy. Each of the stories is concerned with blue-collar families trying to make their way in postindustrial America and the forces that buffet them, including some brought on by the choices they make.
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Date: August 2016
Creator: Bohanan, Ronal L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Human Body is Not Designed for Ambivalence: Odes

Description: The critical analysis section of this dissertation seeks to define the ode using examples in translation from Greek and Latin odes and examples in English written from the 1500s to the 2000s. Although most definitions of the ode contend that this subgenre of the lyric is an occasional poem of praise that includes a meditative or mythological element, the ode is far more complex. An ode is an occasional poem, but it works to privilege rather than strictly praise its subject, allowing for the speaker's ambivalence toward the subject. Meditation is a key element of the ode, since the poet uses the subject as a means for moving to the meditation or as a conduit through which the meditation occurs. The meditation in the poem is also a way for the poet or speaker to negotiate the relationship between the subject and herself; thus, the ode is concerned with power, since the poet must place herself or the speaker in relation to the subject. Power thus may be granted to either the speaker or the subject; the poet names and speaks of the subject, and often the poet names and speaks of himself in relation to the subject. Additionally, odes usually contain some exhortation, generally directed to the subject if not to those surrounding the reader or capable of "listening in" to the performance of the poem. This definition, it should be noted, is intended to be fluid. In order for a poem to be relevant to its age, it must either adhere to or usefully challenge the contemporary concerns. Thus, while many of the odes discussed will contain the elements of this definition, others will work against the definition. In the remainder of the introduction, I examine ancient models and twentieth- and twenty-first century examples of the ode as ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Walker, Tammy
Partner: UNT Libraries

Bird Bones and a Hatched Egg

Description: A fifty page manuscript of poetry and a critical introduction detailing the poet's aesthetics. Using the idea of the double-image and eroticism, the poet places her work in the category of the surreal. She describes the process of writing poetry born of fragmentary elements as a feminist emergence of agency. The manuscript is composed of four sections, each an element in the inevitable breakdown of a love relationship: meeting, love-making, birth of a child, death. Quotes from various authors of anthropological and fictional texts begin each section to reinforce thematic structure in a process of unveiling the agency of the narrator. The poems are organized as a series, beginning and ending with sequence poems.
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Date: December 2000
Creator: Skebe, Carolyn Alifair
Partner: UNT Libraries

Calling Up the Dead

Description: Calling Up the Dead is a collection of seven short stories which all take place over the final hours of December 31, 1999 and the first few hours of January 1, 2000. The themes of time, history, and the reactions toward the new millennium (positive, negative, indifferent) of a variety of cultures are addressed. Each of the six major continents has a story, along with its cultural perspective, delivered by narrators both young and old, three female, three male and one balcony.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Weaver, Brett
Partner: UNT Libraries

Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems

Description: Playing Jonah's Hand: Poems is a collection of poems with a critical introduction. The introduction consists of two independent essays, both of which examine intersections between poetry and Christian theology. In the first essay I identify the imaginative faculty as the primary source of agency for the speaker in John Donne's "Holy Sonnets." Working upon Barbara Lewalski's assertion that these sonnets represent "the Protestant paradigm of salvation in its stark, dramatic, Pauline terms," I consider the role of the imagination in the spiritual transformation represented within the sequence. Donne foregrounds a Calvinistic theology that posits both humanity's total depravity and God's grace and mercy as the only avenue of transcendence. Whatever agency the speaker exhibits is generated by the exercise of his imagination, which leads him to a recognition of his sinfulness and the necessity of God's grace. In the second essay I investigate the presence of a negative theology within "Lachrimae, or Seven Tears Figured in Seven Passionate Pavans," a sonnet sequence by Geoffrey Hill. In this sequence, Hill demonstrates the possibilities that surface through an integration of negative theology with postmodern theories of language, both of which have been influenced by the philosophical writings of Martin Heidegger. The two inform and transform each other while producing a tension that is productive ground for poetry. The main body of the manuscript includes a collection of poems built upon thematic parallels with the Biblical account of Jonah, acknowledging the character's continued frustration with God in Chapter Four of Jonah, which is commonly forgotten in popular and religious representations of the story. The four sections in the manuscript include poems that struggle to negotiate the tensions between the will of a compelling God and the will of the individual.
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Dyer, Gregory A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sorry Guard

Description: Sorry Guard is a collection of poems with a critical introduction on poetic form. Form in poetry can be revealed vocally (how the poem sounds), temporally (how the poem makes use of time), and spatially (how the poem is visualized, both physically on the page due to typography and imagistically due to the shape and movement of its subject matter). In this preface, I will address these three aspects of form in relation to three distinct twentieth century poets: Robert Hass, W.S. Merwin, and W.H. Auden. I am most interested in how particular formal decisions shape meaning and value in poetry. My aesthetic approach here primarily dwells on what Helen Vendler calls, "the music of what happens." The urgency of Robert Hass's spoken word is important to me because I wish to make poems that should be spoken aloud and remembered. While W.S. Merwin's rejection of punctuation is not my own aesthetic outlook, I strive to achieve through close attention to temporal form the mythic voice of his poemsthe immediacy of his lines and images, especially in his second four books. And Auden's deft use of spatial form is only a small aspect of his remarkable verse. All three poets are concerned with the inadequacy and failure of language in its modern use, yet they write with a certain hopeas if potential power lies hidden in the words. Most of the poems in the dissertation concern failure. Speakers in the poems fail to prevent death or pain, and they fail to achieve an equally requited love. They fail to protect and to achieve oneness with their loved ones, and often they are left only with the consolation of imagination.
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Date: May 2000
Creator: Poch, John
Partner: UNT Libraries

Night of No Exile

Description: Night of no Exile is a collection of poems preceded by a critical article entitled "‘Exile seems both a blessing and a curse': A Blissful Reading of Li-Young Lee's Poetry." That article discusses Lee's quest to achieve communication, truth, and transcendence through poetic language and concludes that he finally reaches his goal through a leap from narrative poetry to lyricism. The "exile" alluded to in the title of the article is not only geographic, but also interioran exile due to the natural limitations of all languages, and which can be bridged only in linguistic ways. Lee's solution to that problem (lyricism) turns his poetry into what Roland Barthes would call "a text of bliss," a text that manages to deeply destabilize language, while simultaneously achieving a new kind of meaning. In the main body of the manuscript, the first section contains short love lyrics. The second section, "Night of no Exile," is an attempt at the demanding genre of the longer lyric poem. The third section uses short lyrics to explore various topics, such as discovering one's identity, friendship and solidarity between women, family history, and childhood memories. Finally, the last section includes poems, four of them longer, attempting to combine narrative and lyric impulses in a way not unlike Li-Young Lee's experimentation with those two genres.
Date: August 1999
Creator: Jones, Marie C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Wake

Description: Preface: A consideration of the New Sincerity movement in contemporary American poetics in the work of Tao Lin, Matt Hart, and Dorothea Lasky. Creative work: A three section book of poetry exploring elegy, form, and the intersection of strangeness and domesticity.
Date: December 2016
Creator: Beard, Christopher Aaron
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Catalog of Extinctions

Description: The preface describes the construction of a book-length, interwoven sequence of poems. This type of sequence differs from other types of poetry collections in its use of an overarching narrative, repeated images, and recurring characters. Three interwoven sequences are used as examples of how to construct such a sequence.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Casey, Edward Anthony
Partner: UNT Libraries

Clutch

Description: Clutch is the title of the creative portion of my thesis as well as the name of my theory 'clutch' which I outline in the preface section. The purpose of the clutch theory is to recognize modes of inspiration in the body, heart and mind so that the poet can consciously move beyond passive receptivity to engage inspiration more fully. Mechanically, to "clutch" does not mean to create inspiration, but it is the opportunistic, spirited encouragement of these moments of inspiration and, more importantly, the direction of the artist's own response in moving from inspiration to creation. The clutch process unfolds through three centers: body, heart and mind, where we initially encounter inspiration. And, through a discussion of three notable poets' work, Henri Cole, Li-Young Lee and T.S. Eliot, the relationship between a completed work and clutch as a process further explains the boundaries of each mode.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Bauge, Jessica M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Chorus of Trees

Description: 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.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Lyons, Renée Kathleen
Partner: UNT Libraries

Love Poem with Exiles

Description: Love Poem with Exiles is a collection of poems with a critical preface. The poems are varied in terms of subject matter and form. In the critical preface, I discuss my relationship with poetry as well as the idea that we inherit poems, and that if we are inspired by them, we can transform them into something new.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Quintanilla, Octavio
Partner: UNT Libraries

Road Debris

Description: This dissertation comprises two parts: Part I, which discusses the growing trend in project books in contemporary poetry, and Part II, a collection of poems titled, Road Debris. There is an increasing trend in the number of project books, which are collections of poetry unified in both thematic and formal ways. the individual poems in a project book share overt connections which allow the book to work on many different levels, blending elements of fiction and non-fiction or sharing a specific theme or speaker. While these books have the advantage of being easily memorable, which might gain poets an edge in book contests, there are also many risks involved. the main issue surrounding project books is if the individual poems can justify the book, or do they seem too repetitive or forced. As more poets, especially newer ones, try to use the project book as a shortcut to publication, it can result in poorly written poems forced to fit into a particular concept. By examining three successful cotemporary project books—The Quick of It, by Eamon Grennan; Incident Light, by H. L. Hix; and Romey’s Order by Astory Riley—this essay discusses how these books work in order to understand the potential of the project book. All of these books work in distinctly different ways, yet they all fall into the category of project book. While project books will inevitably result in poor imitations, it allows books of poetry to expand and explore in different directions.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Dewoody, Dale W.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Fathom's Edge

Description: 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.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Sweeney, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries

Jinxed

Description: My dissertation, Jinxed, developed out of my interest in the movement between the comic and the tragic by tracing the evolution of a romantic relationship. While employing biblical, classical, literary, and pop-cultural traditions, my manuscript has its most clear affinities with Renaissance poetry that navigates between the erotic and the spiritual. The sequence of poems recreates the character of Petrarch's Laura in the Little Redhead Girl, Charlie Brown's first love. My Laura, however, is a feisty secular Irish woman who simultaneously frustrates and attracts a religious narrator. To explore the multifaceted nature of their love, I employ a variety of poetic techniques, such as the repetition inherent in the villanelle to express the powerlessness of the narrator as he begins to fall in love. In "To a Young Philosopher," a sestina, one of the repeated words ("ephemeral") triggers a philosophical discussion that is a proposal of marriage. The manuscript also uses other forms such as the sonnet, Spenserian stanza, terza rima, couplets, and blank verse. Narratively, it ends with Charlie Brown after he has missed kicking Lucy's football, falling to earth literally and symbolically. Poems in the manuscript have appeared in journals such as The Wallace Stevens Journal, Talking River Review, and Passages North.
Date: August 2003
Creator: Davis, Richard
Partner: UNT Libraries

Opening Day

Description: 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.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Van Hooser, David
Partner: UNT Libraries