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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

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

Clocks and Mirrors

Description: The essays featured in this collection highlight the gaps, as well as parallels, between mental illness and the human condition. In "Appearances," the narrator struggles with her own visual identity especially after reflecting on her Mom's own lengthy history with the mirror. In "Migrations," the lyrical voice of the narrator carries the reader through the typical day of a clinically depressed female character. Lastly, "Attempting the Fall," addresses the issues society has with mental illness by following the narrator from her suicide attempt to the mental ward.
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Date: December 2016
Creator: Thies, Jaclyn Michele
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

Noctilucent

Description: This dissertation is composed of two parts. Part I discusses the evolution of meditative poetry as a genre, with a particular emphasis on the influence of women poets and feminist critical theory. Part II is a collection of poems. Although several popular and critically-acclaimed poets working today write meditative poems, meditative poetry as a genre has not been systematically examined since M.H. Abrams’s essay on the meditative mode in Romantic poetry, “Structure and Style in the Greater Romantic Lyric.” Because one of the driving forces of meditative poetry is a longing for, or recognition of, a state of perception that lies between individual being and some form of universal ordering principle, meditative poetry might seem to be antithetical to a postmodern world that is fragmentary, contingent, and performative; indeed, earlier definitions of meditative poetry, tied to historical and cultural understandings of the individual and the Universal, no longer reflect “how we know” but only “how we knew.” However, this essay argues that there is a contemporary meditative structure that allows for a continued relationship between the individual and the Universal without resorting to the essentialism implicit in the genre as traditionally described. This new structure owes much to feminist theory, in particular écriture féminine, which models a method for recovery of self in language that would seek to efface it. In order to expose the boundaries of the contemporary meditative mode, and to outline its relationship to écriture féminine, this essay analyzes meditative poems from four contemporary poets: Kay Ryan, Jorie Graham, Linda Gregerson, and Linda Bierds, and contrasts contemporary variations on the genre with earlier traditions, identifying an evolved form that better reflects a postmodern rhetoric.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Bush, Mary Gwen
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

Reflections of Other/Reflections of Self

Description: This Thesis collection contains a critical preface and five stories. The preface, “Reflejos y Reflexiones” (translated: Images and Thoughts), addresses the issues of writing the cultural or gendered Other; these issues include methodology, literary colonialism, a dialogue between works, and creating distance through defamiliarizing the self. “Perennials” is the story of Noemi Tellez, an immigrant to the U.S. who must choose between working and taking care of her family. In “Load Bearing” Luis, the eldest child, faces his family and friends on one of his last days before moving away to college. “La Monarca” deals with Lily's, the youngest daughter, struggle to mediate a place between her friends and her family. In “Reflections in the River,” Arabela, the second youngest, faces the ghost of an unwanted pregnancy and La Llorona. “La Cocina de Su Madre” is the story of Magda, the oldest daughter, and her own teenage girl, Natalia, as they attempt to find themselves in a new town after moving a thousand miles from home.
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Date: August 2002
Creator: Bebout, Lee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Neckbones and Sauerfowches: From Fractured Childhood in the Ghetto to Constantly Changing Womanhood in the World

Description: A collection of five memoiristic essays arranged about themes of family, womanhood and the African-American community with a preface. Among the experiences the memoirs recount are childhood abandonment; verbal and emotional child abuse; mental illness; poverty; and social and personal change. Essays explore the lasting impact of abandonment by a father on a girl as she grows into a woman; the devastation of family turmoil and untreated mental illness; generational identity in the African-American community. One essay describes the transition from the identity-forming profession of journalism to academia. The last essay is about complicated and conflicting emotions toward patriotism and flag-waving on the part of a black woman who has lived through riots, little known police shootings of students on black campuses, and many other incidents that have divided Americans.
Date: May 2002
Creator: Smith, Starita
Partner: UNT Libraries

Joy Harjo's Poetics of Transformation

Description: For Muscogee Creek poet Joy Harjo, poetry is a real world force that can empower the reader by utilizing mythic memory, recovery of history, and a spiral journey to regain communal identity. Her poetic career transforms from early lyric poems to a hybridized form of prosody, prose, and myth to accommodate and to reflect Harjo's concerns as they progress from personal, to tribal, and then to global. She often employs a witnessing strategy to combat the trauma caused by racism in order to create the possibility for renewal and healing. Furthermore, Harjo's poetry combats forces that seek to define Native American existence negatively. To date, Harjo's poetic works create a myth that will refocus humanity's attention on the way in which historical meaning is produced and the way difference is encountered. In an effort to revise the dominant stories told about Indians, Harjo privileges the idea that Native Americans are present and human, and it is this sense of humanity that pervades her poetry. Sequentially, Joy Harjo's volumes of poetry-She Had Some Horses (1983), In Mad Love and War (1990), and The Woman Who Fell from the Sky (1994)-create a regenerative cycle that combats the effects of oppressive history and racism. Through her poetry, violent and tragic events are transformed into moments of hope and renewal. Her collections are powerful testimonies of endurance and survival. They directly defy the stereotype of the "vanishing" or "stoic" Indian, but more importantly, they offer regeneration and grace to all peoples. The poems create a map to help navigate the multiple simultaneous realms of existence, to find a way to travel through the barriers that separate existence. In this dissertation, I employ various reading strategies to support my contentions. Blending a postcolonial standpoint with feminism, I believe Harjo uses a feminist ethnic bildungsroman to ...
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Date: December 2003
Creator: Rose-Vails, Shannon
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